Scand J Work Environ Health 1997;23 suppl 3:43-46    pdf

The message of psychosomatic diseases

by Rechardt E

Kant, Schopenhauer and Helmholtz brought to Europe a tradition of critical psychology, which, as its starting point, questions the idea of faultless perception and focuses on how the image of the world is formed through illusion and misunderstanding. These men were accompanied by Sigmund Freud, whose interest centered primarily on psychopathology. This era was followed by a long period shaken by political, historical, and cultural crises that brought new, fashionable ideas that indefinitely stopped many developmental trends with fruitful beginnings. Central European cultural heritage was replaced by Anglo-Saxon cultural influences. The heritage of Kant and Helmholtz was forgotten, and Freud's thinking was pulled from its roots and given a strongly technological and practical emphasis. Simplified orthodoxy with stringent positivism ruled the scientific thinking of the 1950s and 1960s. Meanings, qualities, experiences, psychosomatics, and psychoanalysis were temporarily cast into the trashbin of science. Today cognitive theory holds a strong position in psychology, and the research interests of those who practice it vary a great deal. They extend in many directions and have brought research in the history of psychological ideas back to life. This research is rapidly altering many distorted and ossified views.