Marguerite Sechehaye, née Burdet, was born in Switzerland to a Protestant family descended from French Huguenots. She graduated from the University of Geneva and went on to study psychology at the Institut Jean-Jacques Rousseau. There she became the assistant of its founder, Édouard Claparède, before opening her own psychology practice. She entered psychoanalysis with Raymond de Saussure in 1927, and then became a practicing psychoanalyst with his encouragement and supervision. Although heavily influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget, she developed her own psychotherapeutic method, which she described in her book Symbolic Realization (1947). With one of her most famous patients, referred to as "Renée," she took the unusual step of chronicling the patient's journal entries and personal reflections alongside her own clinical notes. The resulting book, Autobiography of a Schizophrenic Girl (1950), made Dr. Sechehaye famous. "Renée" herself would later become a psychoanalyst. Dr. Sechehaye published articles and refined her concept of symbolic realization over the years. Her approach significantly influenced other mental illness researchers and practitioners such as R.D. Laing.