Erich Fromm (1900-1980) was a German psychoanalyst and critical theorist. He was associated with the Frankfurt School for many years, but in later life forged his own path. Fromm completed his undergraduate and postgraduate training at the University of Heidelberg, where philosopher-psychiatrist Karl Jaspers taught. He graduated with a Ph.D. in 1922 and then began his training as a clinical psychoanalyst, starting his own practice in 1927.
In 1930 he joined the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt and when the Nazis came to power he moved with the Institute to Geneva and then to Columbia University in New York. He obtained a teaching position at Bennington College in 1941 and remained there for the duration of World War II all the while continuing his private practice as a psychotherapist. In 1950 he moved to Mexico City taking a job at the national university there, where he worked until his retirement in 1965. Fromm’s work pioneered the social psychological application of psychoanalysis and his writing reached a mass audience with its key message that the psyche constantly adapts to meet the challenges of its environment. The key psychological challenge, as he saw it, was the need to resist the urge to subordinate oneself to authority and thus deny oneself the burden of freedom.
Fromm’s best-known books are: Escape from Freedom (1941), Man for Himself (1947), The Art of Loving (1956), and To Have or To Be? (1976).