Thursday, February 28, 2013


Walter  Georg Groddeck ( 1866 – 1934 ) was a physician and writer regarded as a pioneer of psychosomatic medicine. German physician Georg Groddeck, who practised in Baden-Baden and was the pathfinder of psychosomatic medicine, astonished his numerous listeners and readers with his therapy connecting naturopathic treatment with psychoanalytic, suggestive and hypnotic elements. His foot and arm bath, massages and dietary cuisine are still practised today, although the bold doctrine of salvation, where he mauled his patients, is necessarily quite authoritarian, and a more reserved approach would be judged appropriate today. He said “To provide obedience [is the] foundation of medical art”.

 For Groddeck the whole psyche with its inevitable dualisms seemed merely a function of something else—an unknown quantity—which he chose to discuss under the name of the “It.” “The sum total of an individual human being,” he says, “physical, mental, and spiritual, the organism with all its forces, the microcosmos, the universe which is a man, I conceive of as a self unknown and forever unknowable, and I call this the ‘It’ as the most indefinite term available without either emotional or intellectual as­sociations.”
When people came to Groddeck for analysis, he would give them massage, and when they came to him for massage, he would give them analysis. "He was a completely wonderful man because everybody felt calmed by him. They felt an atmosphere of implicit faith in nature and especially in your own inner nature. No matter what, there is a wisdom inside you which may seem absurd, but you have to trust it."( zen philosopher Alan Watts in a talk called Who is it who knows there is no Ego?)
Now I think we shall gain a great deal by following the suggestion of a writer who, from personal motives, vainly asserts that he has nothing to do with the rigours of pure science. I am speaking of Georg Groddeck, who is never tired of insisting that what we call our ego behaves essentially passively in life, and that, as he expresses it, we are "lived" by unknown and uncontrollable forces. We have all had impressions of the same kind, even though they may not have overwhelmed us to the exclusion of all others, and we need feel no hesitation in finding a place for Groddeck's discovery in the structure of science. I propose to take it into account by calling the entity which starts out from the system Pcpt. and begins by being Pcs. the "ego", and by following Groddeck in calling the other part of the mind, into which this entity extends and which behaves as though it were Ucs., the "id". (Freud , The Ego and the Id,1927/1961, 13).
 "Groddeck was the only analyst whose views had some effect on Freud", and "while he accepts and employs much of the heavy equipment of the master, he is separated forever from Freud by an entirely different conception of the constitution and functioning of the human psyche."[ In his introduction to the English version of Groddeck's The Book of the It (1923), Lawrence Durrell’s comment]
Of course, PP Quimby discovered the true nature of man before both Freud and Groddeck. 

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