Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 December 2020
Fromm-Reichmann was one of the most famous and respected therapists specializing in the psychoanalytical treatment of schizophrenic patients. In popular culture, she has been enshrined as the heroic and talented psychoanalyst in the book and film I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. The author of the book, Joanne Greenberg, indeed was a patient of Fromm-Reichmann’s, who not only completely recovered from her devastating illness, but went on to lead an extremely successful and productive life. In contrast, Fromm-Reichmann’s life was laden with trauma, disappointment, and loneliness. As the oldest child of a domineering mother and an ineffectual father, she grew up at a time of great social upheaval. She was raped in the street as a teenager. Her marriage to Erich Fromm, possibly the only person she had ever loved, proved a disaster due to Erich’s betrayal. The role of her “woundedness” in making her an effective therapist is explored in this chapter. Also discussed are questions regarding the prognosis of schizophrenia and the effect of psychotherapy, especially psychoanalysis, with severely mentally ill patients.