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Lydia Tischler

Lydia was one of the first people to train with Anna Freud and her almost seventy-year career has been marked by courageous innovation. A Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, aged 90, she is still supervising and teaching.

At the Cassel Hospital where Tom Main pioneered the concept of the therapeutic community, Lydia transformed the treatment of mothers and babies by establishing a family unit, saving many seriously at-risk children from being taken into care.

Her contribution to the teaching and organisation of child psychotherapy has been remarkable. She is a Fellow of the British Psychotherapy Foundation and has chaired the training committees of both the Association of Child Psychotherapists and the British Association of Psychotherapists.

For the last thirty years as co-founder of the European Federation of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, her work has been tireless in establishing adult and child therapy trainings and services in Central and Eastern Europe.

This would all be remarkable in itself and yet Lydia’s achievements are all the more impressive given her traumatic early years. At the age of ten her native Czechoslovakia was invaded by Germany. She was sent to a concentration camp where her mother and many other members of her family perished before she finally made it to Britain aged 16 when the war ended. In this interview she begins by telling Jane O’Rourke how her early experience of loss led her aged only 23 to begin training with Anna Freud.

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