Wolff, Anna Kris, MD, 87, died peacefully at her Cambridge home after a long illness on July 30, 2019. Dr. Wolff was a highly esteemed and widely loved practitioner and teacher of psychoanalysis and psychiatry, with adults and children.
Born in Vienna Austria in 1931, Dr. Wolff grew up in New York City and graduated from the Fieldston School in NYC in 1949, from Radcliffe College (Harvard University) in 1953, and from the Harvard Medical School in 1957. She undertook psychiatric residency at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and at the Children’s Hospital of DC. During this time she was married to her classmate, the late Dr. Carl Wolff, but the marriage ended in divorce. She then took her psychoanalytic training at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, where she has been a training and supervising analyst for several decades. She also taught at several Harvard hospitals.
Her friend and colleague, Dr. Judith Yanof wrote recently:
“Anna had a wonderful clinical ear - not just in relation to child work. She had a unique way of listening to clinical material. She had a broad theoretical knowledge that informed all her thinking, but she never led with that. She combined this with her own original, deeply imaginative, and deeply empathic insight. Her creative listening always seemed to uncover something new, something that was not there before.”
Another colleague wrote:
“What made Anna unique is that she never said anything predictable. What she said was always original, from a fresh slant, always seeming to arise from her sense of the immediacy of the moment in the clinical process - yes, informed by theory, but never originating there. It was always she who was speaking. She had an unmarred quality of personal authenticity and generosity of spirit.”
And yet another wrote:
“She was often quiet, but when she did speak, everyone listened, because what she said was always unique and opened up the whole discussion.” She was “cherished for her warmth, caring, and humanity.”
Dr. Wolff leaves her brother, Dr. Anton O. Kris of Cambridge, her nephews, Michael and his wife, Deborah, of Holliston and David and his wife, Jody, of Mercer Island, WA and three great-nieces, Hannah, Audrey, and Marianne and a great-nephew, James. She will be missed, with deep love.
A memorial meeting in honor of Anna Kris Wolff, MD is planned for the fall. Arrangements are under the care of DeVito Funeral Home 761 Mount Auburn St., Watertown.