In spite of his premature death, Karl Abraham (1877-1925) made a considerable
contribution to the history of psychoanalysis by being at the origin of frequently opposing streams, such as theories of the relationship with the object, the Psychology of the Ego,
Kleinism etc. Abraham's interest in relational patterns corresponding to the various stages of psychosexual development worked out by Freud, opened the gate for modern psychoanalysis in both the
United States and great Britain, later to focus their work on this very aspect of theory and practice.
Born in Bremen, Germany, Karl Abraham had brilliant studies in medicine which brought about his admission in a position with the Burgholzli Swiss Mental Hospital, next to the famous Eugen Bleuler.
It was here that he was initiated into psychoanalysis by Carl Gustav Jung. His first contact with Freud occurred in 1907, and he became one of Freud's most reliable collaborators and close friend.
Abraham, whom several described as the most balanced of earliest analysts, was the first to warn Freud against Jung whom he already perceived as a deviation and a character one
should be wary of. He turned back to Germany where he founded the Berliner Psychoanalytical Institute in 1910.
Under the control of Karl Abraham and thanks to the
foundation of a polyclinic, Berlin was in the process of becoming a major psychoanalysis practice, research and training center. Several second generation analysts were partly
trained there. Abraham's death in 1925 due to sequels of cancer and the rise of Nazism reduced all these achievements almost to nought.
Copyright René DesGroseillers