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Our 60th Anniversary
7 June 20122012 is Jubilee Year. As the country is celebrating, the Anna Freud Centre is also quietly but proudly looking at its own sixty year record of caring for and mending young minds.
2012 is Jubilee Year. As the country is celebrating, the Anna Freud Centre is also quietly but proudly looking at its own sixty year record of caring for and mending young minds.
The work of child psychoanalysts such as Anna Freud has an enduring impact on our understanding of child development. Anna Freud began the Hampstead War Nurseries in 1941 for homeless children traumatised by WWII. It was inevitable that she would observe child behaviour objectively to understand their mental development. She wanted to understand each child’s individual needs. Mental distress did not, of course, end in when peace arrived and her work continued with the opening of The Hampstead Child Therapy Course in 1947. This expanded, sixty years ago into The Hampstead Child Therapy Course and Clinic at 12 Maresfield Gardens in 1952. After her death thirty years ago in 1982, the Centre was renamed the Anna Freud Centre.
Anna Freud established the Centre with four principles in mind. Firstly, she wanted therapy to be available for children in need, regardless of their family's ability to pay. Secondly, she wanted to create a training course specifically for therapeutic work with children not just an addendum to adult therapy training. Thirdly, she wanted to apply psychoanalytic knowledge and skill to fields such as education and social and legal reform. Fourthly, Anna Freud was devoted to enquiry, which was always based on careful and detailed observation; research was an integral part of the Centre's work from the beginning. Sixty years on, the Anna Freud Centre today has expanded its focus and utilises a wider range of clinical approaches, but remains dedicated to the principles of innovative research, world class training and effective practice.