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Kretschmer, E. (1954). The Image of Man in Psychotherapy. Am. J. Psychoanal., 14(1):40-47.

(1954). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 14(1):40-47

The Image of Man in Psychotherapy

Ernst Kretschmer

Ernst Kretschmer, the pioneer in the study of the relationship between body structure and character, in a letter to Karen Horney in which he invited her to join the editorial board of the Zeitschrift fur Psychotherapie, wrote: “Your ideas are in full agreement with my own views on psychotherapy which you know from my book Psychotherapeutische Studien. I wholly sympathize not only with your broadminded, undogmatic view of the manifold paths of psychotherapyso rarely found todaybut also particularly with such concepts as “curative psychic forces,” and “self-realization.”

Ernst Kretschmer is professor of psychiatry and director of the Neuropsychiatric Department of Tubingen University. He is president of the Allgemeine Aerztliche Gesellschaft fur Psychotherapie. Among his numerous books are Der sensitive Beziehungswahn, Körperbau und Character (Body Structure and Character), Medizinische Psychologie, Geniale Menschen (The Personality of Men of Genius), and Hysterie, Reflex und Instinkt, Psychotherapeutische Studien.

The following article, chapter 8 of Dr. Kretschmer's Psychotherapeutische Studien, is published here with the kind permission of the author and the publisher, Georg Thieme Verlag, Stuttgart. It was translated by Heinz and Ruth Norden.

THe Task of psychotherapy is analytical only occasionally, as a means to an end. In its ultimate goal it is creative. Hence the question soon arises: What is the goal creatively pursued? What is the image of man we envision and seek to shape? Even in the limited example of schizophrenics and schizoids it has become clear that biologic factors lead us unwittingly and inexorably to ultimate questions of ethics and philosophy, if we only stop to think about what we do and wish to do.

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