Gertrud Wyatt


Gertrud Lasch Wyatt was a school psychologist and Director of Speech Correction for the Wellesley Massachusetts Public Schools. She received her training in speech pathology and therapy in the Voice and Speech Clinic, Weiner Allgemeines Krankenhaus (Vienna University Hospital) with Emil Froeschels. Her training in psychology began at the University of Vienna under Buhler and at the Psychoanalytic Institute under Anna Freud. It continued at London University under Susan Isaacs. She received her PhD. in psychology at Boston University in 1957. She served as lecturer at Tufts University, Medford and at Lesley College Cambridge. She supervised graduate students in school psychology at Harvard University.

Wyatt married twice, once to Fritz Lasch (1923-1931) and again to Frederick Wyatt. Her second husband was a lay psychoanalyst. His personal history is revealed in an interview:

Gertrud Wyatt’s Ph.D. Thesis, written in 1957, was called: Mother child relationships and stuttering children. Here is her description of what the dissertation is about:

Theories concerning the origin and treatment of stuttering have varied widely. Older theories have been highly speculative, while a more systematic clinical and experimental approach has been prevalent lately. A major weakness of research studies has been the lack of adequate conceptual schemes for systematizing the data and the absence of specific hypotheses to be tested. In this study recent findings in genetic psychology, in the psychology of language, and in the psychoanalytic study of ego development have been utilized for the formulation of a "developmental crisis" theory of stuttering. The onset of stuttering has been interpreted as the result of a crisis in language learning coincident with a crisis in the relationship between mother and child.

Wyatt’s autobiography, in her own words, is included at the end of her dissertation:

I, Gertrud L. Wyatt, was born October 14, 1903, in Vienna, Austria. I was educated at a Reform-Real Gymnasium for Women, from which I graduated with high honors in 1921. I then studied at the State Academy for Music and Drama in Vienna, 1921-23. From 1922-38 I gave a series of poetry and prose recitals over Radio Wien and over radio stations in Germany and Switzerland. From 1926 to 1936 I worked part-time at the Vienna University Voice and Speech Clinic, Wiener Allgemeines Krankenhaus, under Prof. Dr. E. Froeschels. I also studied psychology under Dr. Karl Buhler and speech pathology under Dr. E. Froeschels at the University of Vienna and received the Absolutorium (M.A. Equivalent) in 1933. In 1931 I was appointed professor of voice and speech therapy at the Max Reinhardt Academy of Drama, Vienna, Castle of Schoenbrunn, where I taught part-time until 1938.

From 1936 on I participated in the Seminar for Educators, conducted by Anna Freud and August Aichhorn at the Vienna Psychoanalytic Institute, where I received training and supervision in therapeutic work with children. This came to an end with the German occupation of Austria and the closing of the Psychoanalytic Institute in the spring of 1938. Two months later I left Austria and went to London, England, where I had the privilege of studying child development at London University under the late Dr. Susan Isaacs. I also worked as research assistant at the Paddington Green Children’s Hospital, under Dr. W. W. Winnicott.

I immigrated into the United States of America in 1939 and became an American citizen in 1945. From 1940 -42 I worked part-time as speech therapist at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Nerve Clinic. From 1941-45 I was in charge of the speech clinic at the Children’s Hospital, Boston, Out-Patient Department, working part-time. From 1940-48 I was also consultant to the Nursery Training School of Boston, under the direction of Dr. A. A. Eliot. In 1945 I conducted a speech pathology survey for the Newton Public Schools.

In 1948 I was admitted to the doctoral training program in clinical psychology at Boston University. In 1951 I began working as consultant to the Wellesley Public Schools, Wellesley, Mass. Since 1953 I have been employed full-time as school psychologist and director of speech correction at the Wellesley Elementary Schools. In 1956 I received the license as school psychologist from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I was guest lecturer at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. School of Speech, summers 1952 and 1954; at the University of Denver, Colorado, summer 1955; and at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, summer 1956.

I was married twice: from 1923 -31 to Dr. Fritz Lasch, physician, and from 1938-52 to Dr. Frederick Wyatt, clinical psychologist. I have a daughter, Cornelia K. Wyatt, born in 1942.

I am a member of the American Psychological. Association, the American Speech and Hearing Association, the National. Education Association, the Massachusetts Psychological. Association, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the International. Association for Child Psychiatry and Allied Professions, the World Federation for Mental Health, and the American Orthopsychiatric Association.

Gertrud Wyatt’s publications, arranged chronologically

Wyatt, G. (1951) Voice therapy. In D. Weiss and H. Beebe (Eds.) A chewing approach in speech and voice therapy. Karger.

Wyatt, G. (1956) Theory and therapy of stuttering. In E. Hahn, E. (Ed.) Stuttering: significant theories and therapies. Stanford University Press.

Wyatt, G. (1958). A developmental crisis theory of stuttering. Language and Speech, 1, 4, 250-264.

Wyatt, G. & Herzan, H. (1962) Therapy with stuttering children and mothers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 32, 4, 645-659.

Wyatt, G. (1968) A cluttered approach to speech pathology. PsycCRITIQUES, 13, 5, 250-252.

Wyatt, G. (1969) Language learning and communication disorders in children. The Free Press.