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Mohammed Masud Raza Khan (July 21, 1924—June 1989) was an Indian-born British psychoanalyst. His training analyst was Donald Winnicott.

Early life[edit | edit source]

Freud Sofa.JPG

Psychoanalytic theory

Id, ego, and super-ego
Psychoanalytic interpretation
Psychoanalytic personality factors
Psychosexual development
Psychosocial development

Schools of thought

Freudian Psychoanalytic School
Analytical psychology
Ego psychology
Self psychologyLacanian
Neo-Freudian school
Neopsychoanalytic School
Object relations
The Independent Group
AttachmentEgo psychology


Sigmund FreudCarl Jung
Alfred AdlerAnna Freud
Karen HorneyJacques Lacan
Ronald FairbairnMelanie Klein
Harry Stack Sullivan
Erik EriksonNancy Chodorow

Important works

The Interpretation of Dreams
Four Fundamental Concepts
Beyond the Pleasure Principle


History of psychoanalysis
Psychoanalytic training

Khan was born in Jhelum in the Punjab district of British India, in what became Pakistan, to Fazaldad Khan and his fourth wife, Khursheed Begum. His father was 76 and his mother 17 when they married; he was a wealthy landowner, and she a beautiful but illiterate singer and dancer, who had given birth to a child out of wedlock before she married Khan's father. After the wedding, she became a devout Muslim, possibly seeing this as the only way to be accepted by the extended Khan family, though it was an apparently unsuccessful effort.[1]

Khan was raised with his older brother, Tahir, and his younger sister, Mahmooda, in the Montgomery District on his father's estate, moving to Lyallpur when Khan was 13. He was not allowed to see much of his mother, though when his father died in 1943 when Khan was 19, he went to live with her.[1]

Khan wrote in his Work Books that he inherited his shyness, sensitivity, and warmth from his mother, and from his father, an "imperious capacity for work and a terrible temper."[2] He had a slight deformity, a right ear that stuck out, of which he was very conscious, later taking to wearing a beret in order to hide it, until Winnicott persuaded him to have it fixed in 1951.[3]

Education[edit | edit source]

Khan attended the University of Punjab at Faisalabad and Lahore from 1942-5. He obtained his BA in English literature, and his MA for a thesis on James Joyce's "Ulysses".[4]

Quoting Jeffrey Masson: Khan about British psychoanalysis[edit | edit source]

Khan told me: "Nobody wants to say anything publicly because I know too much about all of them. If we were all to be honest with each other, that would be the end of British psychoanalysis."


Contributions to Psychoanalysis[edit | edit source]

Masud Khan was both highly controversial as well as a significant contributor to psychoanalytic thinking, functioning as editor of psychoanalytical publications as well as contributing via his own writings. His contributions include the concept of cumulative trauma as creating psychopathology introducing the concept of lack of fit between child and parent creating an ongoing trauma affecting development. He produced a number of papers highlighting perversions as stemming from a split within the personality and the acting out of disturbed object relations collected in his book "Alienation in Perversions." He wrote a significant sequence of three papers on the use of dreams in psychoanalysis as well as a series of clinical papers showing his unique intuitive style combined with his application of Winnicott’s then new concepts of potential space and transitional object in the analysis of adult patients. Khan demonstrates the importance of influencing the patient’s environment outside of the analytic setting in line with Winnicott’s emphasis on the environment as a therapeutic tool.

Controversy[edit | edit source]

Khan’s position in the British Psychoanalytic Association as training analyst gave him an air of legitimacy while at the same time he became less and less adherent to psychoanalytic guidelines with gross boundary violations including socializing with his students and analysands,[6][7] even going as far as sexual relations with them.[6][7] His controversial behaviours included his tendency to exaggeration and lack of truthfulness together with an often highly critical and even aggressive manner to his colleagues.[7] He developed a severe drinking problem which was the main cause of his ill health in his later years.[6] He lost his status as training analyst and was eventually removed from the British Psychoanalytic Association after the publication of his last book "When Spring Comes" in which he included a blatantly anti-semitic tirade against a Jewish patient.[8] In his later years he insisted on being called Prince Raja Khan and signed letters in this way, claiming to have inherited the title from his Pakistani ancestors, however, this claim was never substantiated.[7]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Khan was married initially to the dancer Jane Shore whom he later divorced and married well known ballerina Svetlana Beriosova.[6][7] Together with Beriosova he led a prominent social life and was present in a London scene which included well known figures.[6] Khan was described as tall, handsome with oriental charm and sex appeal, he was known as charming, charismatic and infamous for impromptu flashes of psychoanalytic insights given randomly to people met at social occasions.[6][7] His paradoxical and highly unpredictable nature was summarized by his close friend and colleague, the French psychoanalyst, Victor Smirnoff, who wrote at his death:[9]

"Certainly was an unusual man: gifted, beautiful, rich, intelligent. But he was also cunning, boastful, narcissistic, stingy prejudiced and cruel. He was a strange, talented, sometimes disquieting analyst. But he had style, taste and flair. And he was a faithful friend. Requiescat in pace."

Literature[edit | edit source]


  • Linda Hopkins: FALSE SELF The Life of Masud Khan., New York: Other Press, 2006
  • Roger Willoughby (Author), Pearl King (Foreword): Masud Khan: The Myth And The Reality [ILLUSTRATED], Publisher: Free Association Books; 1 edition (January 2005), ISBN 978-1853437243
  • Judy Cooper: Speak of Me As I Am: The Life and Work of Masud Khan, Publisher: Karnac Books; 1 edition (February 1, 1994), ISBN 978-1855750449

Books by Masud Khan

  • "The Privacy of the Self" (1974)
  • "Alienation in Perversions" (1979), Publisher: Karnac Books (October 1979), ISBN 978-0946439621
  • "Hidden Selves" (1983)
  • "The Long Wait" (1988)

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Cooper, Judy. Speak of me as I am. Karnac Books, 1993, pp 5-7.
  2. Khan, Masud. Work Books, 1971k, p. 928 cited in Cooper, Judy. Speak of me as I am. Karnac Books, 1993, p. 8.
  3. Cooper, Judy. Speak of me as I am. Karnac Books, 1993, p. 10.
  4. Cooper, Judy. Speak of me as I am. Karnac Books, 1993, p. 11.
  5. quoting Khan according to Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson in FINAL ANALYSIS, (pages 194, 195)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Linda Hopkins: FALSE SELF The Life of Masud Khan., New York: Other Press, 2006
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Roger Willoughby (Author), Pearl King (Foreword): Masud Khan: The Myth And The Reality [ILLUSTRATED], Publisher: Free Association Books; 1 edition (January 2005), ISBN 978-1853437243
  8. Masud Khan When Spring Comes: Awakenings in Clinical Psychoanalysis, Publisher: Chatto and Windus, London 1988 ISBN 978-0701133153
  9. Communication Victor Smirnoff to Robert Stoller quoted in: Roger Willoughby (Author), Pearl King (Foreword): Masud Khan: The Myth And The Reality [ILLUSTRATED], Publisher: Free Association Books; 1 edition (January 2005), ISBN 978-1853437243

External links[edit | edit source]

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