Dr.med. Othmar Mäser, Psychiater Psychotherapie

Griesinger quotation

Wilhelm Griesinger (b.1817 d.1886), German neurologist, psychiatrist, and specialist for internal medicine who produced the first psychiatric nosology based on psychological phenomena, stated in the sixth chapter of his book „Pathologie und Therapie der Psychischen Krankheiten“ (Pathology and Therapy of Mental Disorders):

“A classification of psychiatric diseases according to anatomical deviations in the brain is impossible at the present time, but, just as the whole class of insanities is only symptomatological, it follows that only different symptom complexes, i.e. different models of insanity, can be presented initially as its various forms. Instead of using the anatomical principle of classification, we have to adhere to the functional, physiological and, since the disturbances of imagination and will are the main and most noticeable ones, this classification will be psychological. Mental illness, therefore, is to be classified according to the type of psychological anomaly. While it is now, however, the task for clinical teaching to emphasize and analyse the diversity of mental disorders in actual cases of illness, it is nosology’s task to suffice with a listing of a few main categories (“Hauptgruppen”) for mental disorders; with a few basic psychological abnormal conditions determined by the same characteristic signs presenting themselves in a great number of cases and, therefore, to which all variations of individual illnesses can be traced back. It is mainly here that we have to describe these basic conditions and their outward appearance and, admittedly, the varieties and boundaries between the individual forms need to be given good consideration; this is, however, something which can never be done in exhaustive detail. …” (page  211)

(translation O. Maeser / A. M. Simma)

from: Wilhelm Griesinger: “Pathologie und Therapie der Psychischen Krankheiten”, 2. Aufl., Berlin 1867, Nachdruck des Verlages E. J. Bonset, Amsterdam, 1967


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