Hanna Segal

England

Award Year: 1992

segal_10cBorn in Poland in 1918, Hanna Segal fled to Britain in 1939. There she completed her medical studies and undertook training and psychoanalytic analysis with Melanie Klein. Dr. Segal is considered the most prominent and lucid postwar interpreter of the work of Melanie Klein. Dr. Segal is the author of several books and numerous articles. Over the last half century her writings have explored the nature of her own psychoanalytic experience and made important conceptual contributions, for instance regarding the nature of unconscious phantasy, the clinical relevance of the death instinct, and the psychic consequences of the capacity, or lack of capacity, to use symbols.

She has investigated the wider applications of psychoanalytic ideas in diverse fields, notably aesthetics, politics, and literature.

In describing the significance of her work, Segal said “the more I think about it, the importance lies in seeking truth. Not ‘The Trust’ with a capital T, an omniscience, but truth that is the same as reality. All we are really looking for, in a patient on the couch, is a distinction between lies and the trust.” But the people who came to see her were, she says, generally those who “seek to avoid truth, and so end up in delusion. What you are aiming to achieve is a change in the direction of the mind, a bend towards truth. And while all science aims at truth, psychoanalysis is unique in recognizing that the search for truth is, in itself, therapeutic.”