The German psyche

What is it about German speaking psychiatrists? The pantheon of psychiatry’s superstars includes Freud, Jung, Fromm-Reichmann, to name but three. I also have found that those who have most influenced my perception of schizophrenia tend to be German speaking: Daniel Paul Schreber, Dietrich Klinghardt, Bert Hellinger, and Geerd Hamer. Of course, I am stereotyping, but I believe that German thinkers understand the complex underpinnings of self better than most of us.

I read an interview recently in the Financial Times with Simon Rattle, the principle conductor and artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Rattle is British, but has observed the German temperament closely in his tenure with the orchestra. The interview brims with his astute observations. “The (German) necessity of rules and strictness is a way of dealing with an enormously powerful impulse: Germans are among the most emotional people on the planet. Maybe it has to do with the fact that as a nation they are always drawn back to nature and the forest.” He believes that concept of German precision is a “self-imposed correction to the German psyche. Without it there would be complete chaos, because everyone is so emotional.”

Ergo, the German psyche is therefore well suited to understanding schizophrenia.

“Maestro Chef”, Interview with Sir Simon Rattle, Financial Times, June 20/June 21 2009

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