Author: Torsten Oettinger
2024-02-06, 9th Edition

Table of Contents



Psychotherapy Metapsychotherapy Psychiatry Psychology Philosophy Linguistics Religion


In this part of METAPSYCHOTHERAPY, the basic assumptions (philosophies, worldviews and religions) of current theories are critically examined for their psychotherapeutic relevance. In addition, I develop a theory of psychotherapy that includes subjective and spiritual factors. In this way, the theory and therapy of psychological disorders are significantly expanded beyond the usual framework.

A somewhat mocking remark
One could polemically ask whether our psychology and psychiatry are not themselves suffering from a disease. They seem to be afflicted with what might be called “scientitis” or “dogmatitis” because they are too focused on science. There is very little reference in scientific writings to philosophical or even religious insights. In the “malicious” words of Karl Kraus: “Psychoanalysis is that mental illness for which it regards itself as therapy”, we psychiatrists should ask ourselves how our theories might be wrong or even “unhealthy” – or how we have we have reduced “the diseases of the mind to mindless diseases” (Basaglia).

What is Metapsychotherapy?

                                                            Spirit is stronger than matter.
                                                            Belief is stronger than knowledge.
                                                            The Self is stronger than the Ego alone.
                                                            God is stronger than Man and death.1My ideas of what God is do not necessarily correspond to those of the mainstream churches, so I write often God¹

Metapsychotherapy is a level above psychotherapy, a level from which psychotherapy can be reflected upon and defined.2This is my definition. Surprisingly little is said about “metapsychotherapy” in the literature, and when it is said, it is sometimes with different meanings.
All human insights that are helpful for the psyche and that are communicated by different world views3`Worldview’ is the general term used here to include mindset, religion, ideology, worldview, philosophy, attitude, outlook on life, etc. These terms can be either defined or private and undefined. They are a matter of belief.

4. and sciences, are relevant for meta-psychotherapy. One can also say that all generally valid  Solutions (`meta-solutions´) for fundamental (psychic) problems of humanity (“meta-problems”) are also relevant to metapsychotherapy. Metapsychotherapy not only offers meta-solutions itself, but also facilitates the development of optimal solutions within psychotherapy as a whole.

This chapter is based on the following assumptions:

  1. Worldviews essentially determine human psyche and behavior.
  2. Different worldviews also significantly determine different psychotherapeutic approaches and therapists. That is, behind every psychotherapy there is a determining worldview, and the worldview of every psychotherapist will substantially determine his therapy.

This raises the question of the advantages and disadvantages of the worldviews on which different psychotherapies are based. I will discuss this as well.

How is it possible for a psychotherapist trained in rational thought to understand the irrational ways of thinking that are so common among the mentally ill? Using Freud as an example, Balthasar Staehelin wrote the following: “Perhaps it was Freud’s apparent compulsion to be a servant of such scientific bias and exclusivity that led him to make his greatest mistake: he was no longer able to listen to a patient impartially, but only heard what was said as a confirmation of his philosophical convictions about the nature of man.” 5p 22

In this study, I will limit myself to describing the most important worldviews among those that I believe are relevant to our topic. 6This is not, of course, to diminish the significance of the other subjects mentioned above; however, discussing most of them is beyond the scope of this study.

Billions of people around the world are of one faith or another, and for this reason I believe that a reflection on the potential benefits, or possible harm, to our psyches caused by these worldviews will be helpful. In the context of this study, and considering the magnitude of these issues, as well as my own limited knowledge, my explanations are brief and subjective, but they should inspire the reader to a constructive discussion. Surprisingly, there are only a few publications on this topic in the literature. The reason for this may well be the current dominance of so-called evidence-based therapies, as they correspond to the zeitgeist of science. However, they are not uncontroversial. 7See also the criticism voiced by G. Vinnai: “The Exile of Criticism from Science: Psychology in the Universities”, 2013.  J. Wiltschko is one of those who delivers harsh criticism. Under the headline “What is evidence-based psychotherapy?“ he explains: 8Johannes Wiltschko: “Eine Metapsychotherapie als Kontrapunkt zum gegenwärtigen Trend.” (Meta-psychotherapy as a counterpoint to the current trend) In: . However, I can only agree with some of the conclusions which J. Wiltschko draws from this criticism.  “Very important components of psychotherapy are lost in RCTs [randomized controlled trials] and considered to be mere accumulations of confounding variables which need to be controlled, ideally, by manualization …” And further: “The demand for evidence-based methods is the contemporary end-product of a process which is inspired by developments within the whole of society.“9ebd. 
However, this is mainly due to a materialistic view which, as has been pointed out, is not very appropriate for psychological issues. As therapists, we are in danger of putting the “letter” above the “spirit” – as the Pharisees did in the Old Testament – when the letter alone kills and the spirit sets us free. 10 2 Cor 3:6. Jesus had many critical words to say about such a Pharisaic spirit. I hope that, in a few years, we psychotherapists will not need to comply with hundreds of regulations, as the Pharisees did in their day. 111.) In my opinion, the legal system in Germany is undergoing a similar development, where some victims seem to receive less protection than the perpetrators for reasons of absolutizing random paragraphs.
2.) The controlled economy in socialist states is a good example of the consistent implementation of regulations based upon ideologies , which have driven out a great deal of good will.

There is a danger that therapies will become primarily compliance-oriented, with consequences similar to a “work-to-rule” approach.
Under the heading “Evidence-based comforting? Dunja Voos writes: “Many patients suffering from mental illness are looking for comfort, support, meaning in life, a trusting relationship and a sense of emotional security… A child who cries and feels sad is comforted by his mother and father… The parents comfort the child – not because they are following evidence-based methods, but because they are following their feelings.”12Dunja Voos 2013. 

One could also say that parents do this out of love (but love cannot be “evidence-based”.)
A therapy that does not meet these needs seems to me to be desolate in the truest sense of the word.
This is also true of S. Freud when he states: “… and I bow to their reproach that I can offer them [the patients] no consolation: for that is what they all demand – the wildest revolutionaries no less passionately than the most virtuous believers.”13Freud, Sigmund, in: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur (Civilization And Its Discontents), 1930.
I believe that the guidelines of evidence-based medicine are very valuable, provided that they are applied only to questions that are amenable to scientific analysis. 14By itself, the term `Evidenz´ in German means `unmittelbare Einsichtigkeit’ (immediate intelligibility (Duden). However, the term Evidenz is often used erroneously to represent the English word `evidence´, which stands for proof or attestation. “Therefore, the German translation ‘evidenzbasierte Medizin” is not a correct rendition of the English expression ‘evidence-based medicine’ ….”. (emphasis added). 11/2013.

This only partially applies to psychiatry. Officially, the recommendations of evidence-based medicine are only meant to serve as guidelines. But the question is, who would dare to deviate from the opinion of experts, especially since there are legal consequences for not following the guidelines. My main criticism is that these guidelines do not include other perspectives and are therefore biased.
Since imbalances do not remain without consequences and each extreme promotes its opposite, it is to be expected that a type of psychotherapy with a one-sided focus on scientific aspects will promote the current uncontrolled psycho-boom. For example, according to the magazine `Focus’, about 10,000 healers and about 500,000 Reiki masters are currently offering their spiritual help to the German public.15Focus-Magazin No. 30/2011 p. 73.

But what are the characteristics of good meta-psychotherapy?

The absolute Perspective

Synonymously, one can also speak of a fundamental perspective. (→fundamental )
or of absolute frame of reference/ – system of reference/ point of reference/ vanishing point.

Good meta-psychotherapies and meta-sociologies should allow the free choice of different methods, depending on the person and the problem.
Each psychotherapeutic school probably speaks important truths, but without a larger perspective it soon reaches its limits. However, a good meta-perspective will help even if concrete solutions are not found. It can establish the right relationships from a larger perspective and avoid superficial, unsustainable solutions, because we prevent solutions when we draw the frame of reference too narrowly. This is also the case when the frame of reference for solutions includes only what is provable or is purely anthropocentric. We then install a closed box in which we are trapped and fail to find some solutions because a larger perspective is not opened. And only the absolute perspective always shows the right measure.16For example, some treatment strategies appear to resemble disease eradication programs promoted by the pharmaceutical industry.

Metapsychotherapy (and metasociology) mean to me: to judge and act from above/ from heaven/ from the highest meta-level, with the greatest overview and with respect for the dignity of the human being. This absolute perspective embraces and comprehends all relative perspectives and situations and allows the stepp-over/ transcendence beyond the narrow limits of his existence (see Conrad “fehlender Überstieg”).
According to Spinoza and others like L. Wittgenstein, Viktor Frankl, C. G. Jung, who refer to it, although with different accents, it is a perspective from eternity (“sub specie aeternitatis”). 17
Similarly F. Nietzsche: The philosopher should stand “on the wide spread wings of all time”.18About the pathos of the truth. According to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, it is about the Absolute (“One day I will speak to you about necessity or the absolute, which is the divine knot that binds things together.”)19 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry in `Citadel´, Karl Rauch publishing house, p. 216, 1956. Similarly Hegel, Gabriel Marcel (“Mystery of Being”), Karl Jaspers, Kierkegaard and others.
I think that from this perspective one decides some things differently – even more: best, if the absolute “point of reference” is right. What that might be cannot be objectified, but only believed and experienced. I personally call this absolute point of reference +A or God¹ or love. If I am wise, then I see myself in the highest and at the same time most fundamental position: directly below God and no one above me, but also no one below me! 20See Röm 8,39.
Using this absolute perspective does not solve all problems, but it relativizes them and makes them less powerful. Moreover, a relativized problem is easier to solve than one that is taken absolutely.

The most important questions in psychotherapy are
What is the strongest definition of the person? What is our concern?
What is the most loving worldview? What is the absolute reference (system) that gives it to us? In other words: What is the positive absolute (+A)?
Which reference points can be destroyed or make our lives too difficult?
Which reference points do not lead to solutions?

Fundamental Problems

Fundamental problems within metapsychology can be outlined as follows: 21See also parallels within existential philosophy. Regarding the latter, it is important to generate an ‘interpretation of mankind as existence in the sense of an ultimate, irreducible being ….´ (Brockhaus, keyword Existenzphilosophie´).
We want the Absolute – but we only have relative power. We desire a state in which we and our world are completely positive, but we witness both: the wonderful and the flawed. We long for our salvation and yet we are unsaved; we long for immortality and yet we are mortal; we long for unlimited pleasure and yet we experience it only in part and only at certain times; we long to feel loved for ourselves and yet we are often loved only for our accomplishments; we long for freedom and omnipotence and yet we often feel trapped and powerless; we long for companionship and peace and yet we end up alone or uncomfortable; and so on. From a Christian perspective, we might say We have lost paradise and now live in this conflicted world. But I believe that all these problems, which are deeply, existentially felt by the individual, are already solved in principle (rather than in totality) in relation to the +Absolute (which is God¹/ Love). But the positive strange Absolutes (+sA) are more attractive and seem to satisfy our desires more easily than the +A. On the other hand, their price is too high because the actual I-self has to be sacrificed for them. Therefore, it is paradoxical for a person to consider what is disadvantageous to be advantageous and what is advantageous to be disadvantageous.
Question: Can all relative problems be traced back to fundamental problems, that is, to reversal sequences? I think so. [See also term fundamental].

Basic problems presented systematically: (Classification as described in `Metapsychology’.)

- Problems of Dimensions:
  • The person between the actual +A and -A (the absolute, existential essence of a problem).
  • The problems between these actual A and the sA/It.
  • The problems between different sA/It.
  • The problems within different sA/It.
    Here – following the concept of the `7 Synonyms of the Absolute’ – further distinctions can be made: Existential problems regarding: Identity (a2); Reality (a3); Unity; Integrity (a4); Unconditionality (a5); Priorities (a6); and Autonomy (a7).

– Problems within the fields of differentiation:

  1. Existential problems related to being (being or non-being or `contra’-being).
  2. Existential problems related to life (life or death or life contra', such asdestrudo’).
  3. Existential qualitative problems (good/bad, evil/false; or positive/negative/0).
  4. Existential problems related to being either a subject or an object (e.g., perpetrator/victim; person/thing).
    With regard to the `23 individual aspects’, there are problems corresponding to each subject. The question that always comes to the fore is whether the problem has relative or absolute significance for the person involved (or whether it has the same significance as one of the 7 synonymous conceptual pairs).

In the following, I will reflect on the theory of solutions in general. I will then discuss the different possible solutions offered by the most common worldviews and the resulting implications for psychotherapy.


                                     “Every change begins with the spirit by which it is borne.” Jochen Pohl


– I finally (!) assume that the positive Absolute (+A) can solve everything (except -A).
– This absolute solution includes all relative solutions, but does not implicitly need them.
– Relative solutions are first-rate solutions if they are embedded in +A. Solutions starting from a strange Absolute are second-rate solutions.
– Problems that are considered relative can sometimes be solved within the same (relative) system, while problems that are considered absolute can only be solved by +A.  In other words, relative problems can be solved relatively well with relative means, while problems of the absolute sphere cannot be solved with relative means.

Example of a societal problem: We all want the best health care. However, our health care is embedded in a larger issue: What can the state afford without neglecting other important areas of action? The problems of the individual state, in turn, are embedded in the problems of the international community; and these, in turn, are embedded in the problems of humanity in general. This means that in order to avoid implementing solutions that are too expensive or that are established at the expense of other spheres of action, the most important solution of the first order will be to gain an overview of the whole picture, a meta-position, and then to find relative solutions. In this way it also becomes clear that it is not just a matter of curing one disease or another.

It is astonishing that on the one hand most experts, from Friedrich Nietzsche to Paul Watzlawick and others, appreciate the importance of meta-positions or premises for solutions, but on the other hand on the side of psychiatric and psychotherapeutic research such premises are given little importance!

Friedrich Nietzsche: said, “He who has a why to life can bear almost any how.”
Paul Watzlawick claimed that, psychologically speaking, a person cannot survive in a world that is not meaningful to him or her. In addition, he said that “the loss or absence of meaning in life is perhaps the most common denominator in all forms of emotional distress….” 22Own translation of: Menschliche Kommunikation Bern 2000, cit. by Beatrix Gotthold and Christian Thies in: “Denn jeder sucht ein All” Reclam, Leipzig, 2003 p.85 ff.

In a systematized form, I present the following differentiation:


First-Rate Solutions

 Redemption is free of cost,
 Solutions must be acquired.
 Redeemed you will find the best solutions.

Synonym: Solutions of the first order.

I differentiate between:

One first-rate, absolute solution = unconditional, absolute solution = redemption. It is a spiritual/ love solution. It is not a total solution, but a fundamental one. (→ fundamental.)

It has two parts:
a) Redemption by +A (God¹).
This solution comprehends and integrates all other solutions, even those which are second-rate. It also resolves all dilemmas and paradoxes.
b) A person´s +A choice = in principle, P wants the good (`fundamental virtue´)
23See also: `The absolute attitude´ ,`Absolute and relative will´   
Otherwise, people can only find relative solutions. I.e. no one can redeem himself or others. (But he does not have to do it, too).

Many first-rate, relative solutions = relative solutions that are integrated into  A .
First-rate, relative solutions can also have physical implementations; they, nevertheless, build upon  A.
Relative problems can be solved with  A or also in a superordinate, relative system.

Characteristics of first-rate solutions (first-order solutions) include the following

  • They are embedded in an absolute solution/perspective. (→ The absolute perspective).
  • Freedom: I do not have to solve the problem – just as I do not necessarily have to do anything else!
  • The solution does not come at the expense of others.
  • First-rate solutions are better and more effective than second-rate solutions.

Why is that? Because they require less effort to implement; they are more harmonious, more sustainable, and more credible. Although these solutions, coming from an absolute level, do not automatically generate a total solution, but rather a basic one, they will still serve to thwart the development of mental illnesses that affect the absolute sphere of a person, the Self. This, in turn, suggests that only through faith in a positive Absolute – which I personally call God¹ – all earthly problems gain only relative importance; and furthermore, the existential (spiritual) foundation of a person cannot be destroyed. Moreover, the + A not only offers salvation, but also provides an optimal basis for all relative solutions.
Second-rate solutions by strange positive Absolutes, on the other hand, are at best suboptimal, and at worst predominantly negative; in any case, they are less advantageous than the +A.
Relative solutions are often inadequate because they lack a higher meta-level.
Analogously, Bertrand Russel and Alfred Whitehead, in their theory of types, assert: “That which affects the whole of a class (set) cannot itself be part of that class. K. Gödel’s incompleteness theorem makes similar claims: 1. There are always unprovable propositions in nearly contradiction-free systems; 2. Nearly contradiction-free systems cannot prove their own freedom from contradiction. 24E.g. N.I. Kondakow: Wörterbuch der Logik; deb Verlag, Westberlin, 1978. Keyword `Gödel´. In other words: Solutions to unresolved issues / contradictions in a system are only possible up to a certain point with the means of that system, and after a certain point only from a higher system / level. The term “system” can be used for anything that has a systemic character, e.g. the world, reality, people, psyche, relationships, etc.

In addition, some keywords:
Redemption is more important than solutions. Redeemed one finds the best solutions. If no solution is possible, the more important and simpler redemption is still possible: earthly lack of freedom is compensated by spiritual freedom, earthly contradictions are dissolved by spiritual redemption, etc.
Paul Watzlawick argues similarly: “He locates many disturbances in everyday human communication (especially between couples) at the level of relationships and sees meta-communication as a solution to resolve them.” 25[ , 4/2014.]
Or Socrates: Keep in mind that this earthly life is not the last one and that it does not matter how much you achieve here, then you will not be manic in happiness and will not be depressed in misery.26In reference to Socrates: “Always keep in mind that everything is transient, then you will not be too happy in happy times and not too sad in sad times.” []
For what else reason could people experience liberation despite existential threat-situations?

Later, when I juxtapose Causal and symptomatic Therapies, it will become clear that this constitutes a somewhat different perspective; but one which corresponds to the previous one. At this point I would like to say that a symptomatic therapy can clearly also be a first-rate therapy – in this case however, it would only be a relative one..

Second-Rate Solutions

The basis of second-rate solutions is a strange Absolute (sA); these second-rate solutions are not bad solutions at all, but compared to first-rate solutions, they are, as their name implies, second-rate. The more the strange Absolute from which the second-rate solution comes corresponds to the actual Absolute, the better the second-rate solution will be, and vice versa. Thus, second-rate solutions range from suboptimal to almost unresolved. One could also say that second-rate solutions are neither completely right nor completely wrong. However, in terms of their positive effects, even the best +sA fall far short of +A, since the existential, fundamental problems mentioned above remain.
Second-rate solutions (answers) are either “absolutistic”, relativistic or negativistic.
If the solution is absolutistic, it mainly produces hyper-effects;
Relativistic solutions produce mainly strange or false effects; and
Nihilistic solutions result primarily in a loss of first-rate reality.
Thus, second-rate solutions have hyper/strange/deficient effects; e.g., they have hyper/strange/deficient effects regarding absoluteness, identity, actuality, unity, security, freedom, and the other aspects.

Advantages and Disadvantages

One advantage of second-rate solutions is the possibility of developing hyper-effects, e.g. `ecstasy´, euphoria, high, etc.
A “disadvantage” of first-rate solutions is the lack of development of those hyper-effects.

More on Solutions

If we once more proceed on the assumption of an inversion, the situation can be described as follows:
Relative entities invade the absolute sphere to become strange-Absolute and strange Self.
As mentioned above, the +Absolute is the redeeming – but the Relative as a dependent entity is in itself relatively unresolved. When relative entities invade the absolute sphere of a person and replace the Absolute, an unresolved complex (= `it’) will develop at that central point. This will affect those involved until it is resolved or at least relativized. If the person is dependent on a +Absolute position, an actual Self, then the complex is resolved or at least relativized and thus defused. In this way, the +Absolute is not a total solution, but certainly a solver and liberator in principle. If a relative problem remains unresolved, it may have some negative effects, but it does not determine our being. We are above it. However, if a problem remains in the absolute sphere as sA, it cannot be finally solved without the help of the +Absolute. It can only be seemingly or relatively well solved; for example, it can be repressed. The effects of these unresolved complexes depend on their nature. These are discussed in the chapter on the effects of strange-Selves/ It.
As indicated above, mental illnesses are considered to be an essential consequence of the effects of these unresolved problems.
Meta-solution = Redemption; this is the state of already being redeemed, now and forever, in principle (not completely), should one wish it – not only when one has fulfilled this or that prerequisite, but simply by allowing oneself to be loved “from above”. In this way, the person is optimally relieved of burdens, since potential demands on the individual can no longer be the focus.
Redemption is more important than solution, and with redemption solutions are much more likely to occur.

[Example: Solution of the `tragedy commons´ problem. See unabbreviated German version.]

Further Keywords Relating to Solutions

– Life is more important than the functional.
– Material/ organic disorders are most easily remedied by material means which rest upon +A; mental or emotional disturbances are most easily remedied by spiritual, mental or emotional means which rest upon +A.
– Do not adjust the patient to the method of therapy but rather adjust the method of therapy to suit the patient – this notwithstanding, the desires of the patient should not be the supreme authority.
– The existential question: “Am I already or do I still need to become?” Answer: “You are, now also try to become!”
– The key to unlock the closed doors of the second-rate worlds is rarely a second-order key, i.e. a key from WPI² itself, but rather a first-order key, a meta-key, a spiritual key, which ultimately is not to be found in knowledge (for knowledge is relative), but rather in faith, which has access to the Absolute. This is not a devaluation of knowledge, but a matter of priorities. 27Albeit only in a limited way, the “W²-methods” can indeed serve to solve W²-problems if the solution is found in the W²-hierarchy above the W²-problem.
Hierarchies of problems and hierarchies of solutions: see unabridged German version.

There is more on Causal and symptomatic Therapies in the section relating to psychotherapy.

Comparison with Solutions of Other Authors

• P. Watzlawick et al. distinguish between the following solutions:28Watzlawick, P., J.H. Weakland, R. Fisch: Lösungen. Verlag Hans Huber Bern-Stuttgart-Wien, 1974.
– Solutions of the first order:
“Here, the dysfunctional system is left to itself; only system-internal means are considered for solving the problem … Thus, in first-order solutions, only individual problematic elements are ‘repaired’ or postponed … From the outside, however, this has not led to a solution of the actual problem, but only to a shifting of the problem or to a worsening of the initial situation. Thus, first-order solutions are only valid for a short time … “.
Comment: These solutions of the first order resemble, in essence, those which I have termed second-rate solutions.
– Solutions of the second order:
“… to eradicate a problem permanently, it is therefore advisable to seek a second-order solution. In this case, the ‘sick system’ is no longer left to its own devices, but one can also intervene from the outside … in the functioning of the system. In contrast to first-order solutions, the relationships between the elements can be evaluated and analyzed more objectively. The solution of the problem requires the reorganization of the whole system …”
Comment: I have termed the solutions of the second order, as they are referred to here, first-rate solutions. The authors also point out that they attempt to resolve unresolved problems from the vantage point of a meta-level, however, they do not refer to a (positive) Absolute.

• Parallels to Psychoanalysis:  I believe that the essential therapeutic effect of psychoanalysis is to make the individual aware of “complexes” which, although embarrassing to the individual and therefore repressed, are now respected as part of human existence – in this way the individual feels accepted, with all their faults. In his practice, the psychoanalyst thus takes a loving meta-position, although in theory S. Freud takes a different position, claiming that “the intention that man should be happy is not in the plan of Creation.” 29W 30. Amongst the options to protect a person from suffering, he lists, deadening of drives, drive-controlling sublimation (which is only achievable for a few). The aims into which a drive may be converted through sublimation are: art (as “mild narcosis”); religion (as “collective delusion”) and finally, in its “weakest” form, love: “We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love…”.311. S. Freud 1930: Das Unbehagen in der Kultur; GW XIV, p. 441. 2. The previous recital of Freud´s defense mechanisms originates from a citation which I cannot locate at present. In my opinion, this is only true with respect to second-rate love, `libido’, and not with respect to first-rate love, which, by contrast, is the most powerful force there is against suffering. The possibility of protection through a superordinate positive entity, through a `positive meta-position’, as Freud himself practiced, remains unmentioned. Here I cannot go into detail about the dialectic, which also makes statements about the solutions of opposites. There is extensive literature on this. As far as I know it, almost only second-rate solutions are considered.

Hegel, Marx, and their followers believed that the synthesis achieved by thesis and antithesis would abolish opposites, while Adorno, in particular, in his “negative dialectic,” pointed to differences that could not be abolished.

What is Best for the Psyche?

“What love and spirit give cannot be extorted.”
  F. Hölderlin

I believe that as human beings we need both scientifically based help and the support that comes from faith. But even if this were granted, the challenges of the therapeutic situation would still remain. Even if one assumes that all those who help want only the best for their clients, the question arises as to what exactly is “the best”.

  • Is what is subjectively felt to be best also what is objectively best?
    Is the best the satisfaction of the patient’s subjective needs? This will be wrong in cases such as: when the satisfaction of the patient’s needs causes harm to the patient; or when the patient’s needs and their satisfaction are artificial, manipulated, or are not real needs, the satisfaction of which will not benefit the patient in the long run. However, the satisfaction of real needs is sometimes associated with negative emotions or even suffering, and therefore often causes Resistance.
  • This is similar to the common advice that people should be good to themselves. In the long run, however, the good may be the attempt to meet the challenges of meaningful conflicts and crises, even though they often involve suffering.
  • Nor is the therapeutic goal of eliminating symptoms or even achieving health, as described in detail in another section, unambiguously positive: Eliminating a symptom, while helpful in an acute situation, may conceal its causes and thus cause more permanent disturbances that may not manifest as illness, and may not even manifest exclusively in the affected person, if the alleviation of symptoms is at the expense of other people or other areas of life.
  • Prolong life at all costs? Is a long life really the best? In some cases, it can be terrible.
    It seems particularly questionable to force terminally ill people to live against their repeated wishes.

For example: Tony Nicklinson lived with locked-in syndrome for 7 years. He felt condemned to a life he found “uncomfortable, undignified and degrading. In vain, he petitioned all official channels for the right to assisted suicide. Similarly, the British Diane Pretty, the Italian Eluana Englaro, who has been in a vegetative state in a nursing home for 17 years after an accident, etc. I am well aware of the difficulties involved in such decisions, especially in the context of euthanasia, but I believe that the dogmatization of an orientation that is in itself correct and humane, that is: `Every earthly life must be preserved and prolonged at all costs’, can become inhumane at a certain point. Thus it seems absurd to hear in the news that “doctors are fighting for the life of the former Prime Minister of Israel, Scharon, who has been in a coma for seven years (!)”, since his condition has now (2014) deteriorated.    

  • Is reason the best? Is it not tedious, even impossible, to remain anything but reasonable?
  • Serenity? Would it not be better for us if we were allowed not to be serene sometimes, and if these instances did not occur again and again? Are we not more serene when we are allowed not to be serene?
  • Authenticity? Are we not more authentic if we remain true to ourselves even when we are not authentic?
  • Success? Are we not condemned to be successful if we are not allowed to be unsuccessful?
  • Mindfulness? Should we not consider that excessive mindfulness can lead to carelessness?
  • Objectivity? Is not our objectivity at its highest level when it embraces subjectivity?

This list is by no means exhaustive and could be continued indefinitely. At best, these goals are suboptimal, because they all have prerequisites that we can only occasionally and partially meet. The question remains what is best for a person, for his soul.
One could also ask:

What is the Positive Absolute, the +A?

How should the best mind, the best attitude of mind (in philosophy, religion, etc.) be developed? In short, what should a positive Absolute (+A) look like? This is a matter of belief. Personally, I believe the following:
First, the +A should be absolutely positive: omnipotent, eternal, absolutely good, so that you can trust it completely.
The +A should be loving and not make love conditional.
The +A should love each person for their own sake (while not necessarily loving all of their actions).
The +A should be free – and not demand a price like ideologies and some world views.
The +A should implicitly grant every person dignity, worth, and the right to self-determination.
The +A should be both optimistic and realistic.
The +A should uplift people, not dominate them.
The +A should always be self-consistent.
The +A should be accessible to all without preconditions-that is, it should be accessible not only to the intelligent, the strong, and the good, but also to the simple, the weak, and the evil; perhaps even more so, since they need it more.
The +A should allow each person to deselect any Absolute, even God Himself, and thus, in this free attitude toward Absolutes, allow each person to take an Absolute position.
The +A should be stronger than people themselves.
The +A should help people in their hour of need, without depriving them of their right to decide or taking away their responsibility.
The +A should forgive everything if the person wants it.
The +A should give people guidance, but not direct them.

The +A should give people a meaning that cannot be lost.
The +A should not be manipulable, but sovereign.
The +A should relativize all earthly problems and thus facilitate their solution.
The +A should be able to transform all misery so that nothing else is needed.
The +A should give people hope in every circumstance, even beyond death, without referring the fulfillment of their hopes only to the hereafter.
The +A should be able to empathize with people and comfort them, just as an ideal mother comforts her child.
The +A should first and foremost give people freedom and joy, relieving them of the burdens that weigh upon them without taking away all of their burdens, in case such an action would weaken them.
The +A should make the core of each person, the Self, unassailable and indestructible by making that Self independent of anything that is destructible in itself.
The nature of the +A should be such that everyone can find themselves in the Absolute at any time.
The +A should be good for all people.
The +A is “what holds the world together at its core” (Goethe, Dr. Faust, chapter 4).
The best thing for our psyche, the +A, is, I believe, love (or else if one is religious: God¹).32This is my personal view of the positive Absolute, of God, which does not necessarily agree with some other Christian conceptions. See `Christian one-sidednesses and misinterpretations33´. See also the passage on love in 1 Cor 13. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.] I am deeply convinced that the most powerful healing force is Love/God – even if it seems to be “watered down” or hidden behind other names like respect, compassion, unconditional acceptance and appreciation, etc. or within different religions, ideologies or therapeutic methods.
Since Love/God¹ has the most diverse aspects, each of these aspects will have a positive effect; on the other hand, its power will be diminished if only one of its aspects or attributes is made absolute.

In the following, I will try to examine the most important worldviews to see how far they correspond to this ideal of A + A. I will only examine the mainstream worldviews of humanity, with which the belief systems of individuals will more or less agree. In addition, it should be noted that any evaluation of them is of course subjective and at best credible.


    Critical Survey


Definition: “The word worldview means the totality of an individual’s or a group of individuals’ views about the world; its nature and properties, its origin, its purpose, its meaning, its value, etc., and humanity’s place in it. Unlike insights, worldviews do not contain rational elements such as interpretations, ideals, and categorical beliefs about a way of life; perhaps even metaphysical and religious views”. 34Peter Möller in: 3/2014.
Why should we not analyze the various belief systems in terms of their effects on the psyche – especially in this chapter – and discuss how, if at all, they might qualify as a basis for psychotherapies?35The unfavorable ideologies, I discussed in the part `Metapsychiatry‘.
In the following review, I will address some of the essentially humane concepts that are the foundations for various types of psychotherapies; although they are rarely considered as such.
An exception is John R. Peteet; Quote: Therapists’ virtues are vitally important in psychotherapy … Among the individual and cultural factors that shape a therapist’s virtues are spiritual traditions … Arguably these include for Jews, communal responsibility and critical thought; for Christians, love and grace; for Muslims, reverence and obedience; for Buddhists, equanimity and compassion; for Hindus, appreciation of Dharma and Karma; and for secularists, respect for scientific evidence and intelligibility. These have differing implications for treatment …”. These should be discussed here. 36J.R. Peteet: `What is the Place of Clinicians’ Religious or Spiritual Commitments in Psychotherapy? A Virtues-Based Perspective´ New York 2013., Underlined by me. Similarly, Fritz Mauthner claims that “the worldview of a person depends on the general and temporary condition of their soul.“ Quoted in Peter Möller, in: -3/2014, – whereby the reverse is also true.

Here I will deal only with the best-known, quasi-official worldviews, which are representative of countless individual worldviews. For me, the most important criterion for this analysis is the question of how much they correspond to the positive Absolute mentioned above; in other words, how much love they convey. As a therapist, however, it is also important to understand the patient from the perspective of his or her worldview.
Worldviews compete with each other; the various world religions claim to have the right answers to the existential questions of humanity.
Of course, one can say: Let each man seek heaven in his own way; why should I question another man’s faith? Surely it would be wrong to question the freedom of belief. On the other hand, one could reply: Why should I not respect the beliefs of my fellow human beings while holding a different view? Why should I not join my fellow human beings in seeking credible answers to questions about what is best for human beings?

The following assessments of the various worldviews have been made primarily in terms of their effect on the psyche. These are only remarks that represent my personal opinion and do not claim to be a complete picture.

As sources for the subsequent statements, I predominately refer to the following literature (unless otherwise stated):
Brockhaus Enzyklopädie; Schischkoff: Philosophisches Wörterbuch; Lexikon der Evangelischen Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen;37 2/2016.
Evangelischer Erwachsenen Katechismus; E. Kellerhals: Der Islam; K. Jaspers: Die großen Philosophen; Wikipedia; Koran; Bible.381. Precise bibliographical references: see bibliography.
          2. Literal quotations are denoted by quotation marks and the source is cited separately.

Anthropocentric/ Theocentric Worldviews

In this respect, I distinguish between anthropocentric, theocentric and christocentric worldviews.

Materialism, Idealism, Esoterism and most of the other Ideologies, in part BuddhismIslam
in part Judaism
AdvantagesDisadvantages/ RisksAdvantagesDisadvantages/ Risks
The person is at the center.Lack of spirituality
abs. love/ God is missing.
Conception of the world is too narrow.
God is in the center.  Man becomes too unimportant.
  Too little right of self-determination
The person is free and mature.A person is considered to be either too big (“superman”) or too small.The individual feels safe.  Man becomes too dependent, too small.
The person has ultimate responsibility.
The person strives, struggles and performs. Belief in progress.
Excessive demands!
A person has to perform well / redeem himself.  Their deeds decide on their fate.
→ Pressure to progress, to be successful.
God has ultimate responsibility.
God does what is most important.
  God is too arbitrary, man at his mercy.
  Man leaves God the existential but he has to believe in God.
A person is not loved for their own sake. Only in one’s own religion would there be salvation and other views would be excluded (exclusivism).
Disadvantages both: Person has to fulfill certain conditions

In the context of religion, anthropocentrism can be defined as “the view that neither God nor gods are the spiritual center of the world (as in theocentrism), but human beings.”39 3/2014.

   Criticism of Anthropocentrism

Man is the measure of all things (Protagoras)
– and with this yardstick he raises himself and and beats himself and others to death. (Freely based on F. Perls)

A person must meet certain requirements.
A person has sole responsibility and is overwhelmed as a result.
There is an overemphasis on the adult or on certain achievements of humanity.
Immanent belief in the progress of humanity (progressivism).

 “The term theocentrism … denotes a worldview that is marked by religion; that regards God, or one or several gods, to be the center of our existence in the world … a person’s way of living and thinking is guided by religion. The opposite of theocentrism is anthropo-centrism … “. 40ttps:// 3/2014.
Criticism: See table above and the section entitled ‘religions’.

Christianity is christocentric and therefore theocentric and anthropocentric, because Jesus Christ, who is simultaneously divine and human, is at its center. Thus, anthropocentrism and theocentrism are not opposites within Christianity; rather, they are inextricably linked with one another.” 41 3/2014.


Philosophies have the same problem as religions: They deal with that which cannot be proven.
Similar to religions, they also look at the big picture. “While scientific insights focus on the relevant subject matters for investigation … philosophy addresses the whole of our being concerning the human person as a human person; it addresses the truth, which, wherever it shines forth, touches us more deeply than any scientific insight … It is not this or that causal relationship that is studied, but rather the meaning that is attributed to the whole of the matter”. In contrast to theology, the “wisdom of God,” philosophy could be considered the “wisdom of the world.”42Schischkoff, keyword: Philosophie.|

[For an outline of ideologies in the history of thought, and relationships between philosophy, religion and the sciences, see the unabridged German version.]


Materialism is “a philosophical system which – in contrast to idealism – holds that matter is the ultimate reality, determining all other phenomena.“ 43 ,2014. I shall only comment on some of the main aspects of philosophical materialism.  Materialism is usually atheistic. Naturalism, empiricism, and positivism are closely related to materialism. 44Following Schischkoff KW Materialismus.
These are the philosophical foundations for the most common psychotherapies of today.

Criticism of Materialism

               “Behold! I show you the last man. What is love? What is creation? What is longing? …
                thus asks the last man … The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man,
                who makes everything small.” F. Nietzsche (`Thus spoke Zarathustra´).

See also superordinate Criticism of Anthropocentrism.


It seems that the basic assumptions of today’s psychology and psychiatry are still the same atheistic-materialistic premises of Marx and Lenin. Quote from Lenin: “One cannot argue about the soul without having explained psychical processes in particular: here progress must consist precisely in abandoning general theories and philosophical discourses about the nature of the soul, and in being able to put the study of facts about particular psychical processes on a scientific basis … The materialist dialectic … reflects the most general laws of the development of the objective world and of human thought.”45 , 2019
Whether Lenin, Marx, or their successors admit it or not, they themselves make only basic assumptions that can only be believed. Even when they make these theses absolute, they seldom allow their own a priori to be criticized. On this point, H. Hempelmann writes: “The position of naturalistic reductionism is itself metaphysical, i.e., contradictory, i.e., self-defeating.46 2013.
To that Peter Möller: “The primacy of the spirit convinces me more than the primacy of matter. Creative intelligence, creativity and imagination cannot be explained with the primacy of matter and consciousness as a mere mirror image”47Peter Möller in: 2/2015.
I believe that God is not against matter, but against its primacy. Even Jesus used spit and sand (i.e. matter) to heal a blind man. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]

See also the problem of the `Qualia´ – the subjective content of the experience of a mental state.

Materialists leave people in this world completely alone. Basically, a loving, overarching power, God, is missing. God is absent. Heaven is either empty or a mirror in which man sees only himself, and he must see himself alone. But what happens if we do not know how to proceed? Then man is left to himself, and at some point he is overwhelmed. Life as a materialist or atheist seems to me too exhausting,48This statement expresses what happens in general; in individual cases, there are those who make their  life all too easy for themselves, at the expense of others. with too little credibility, neither sufficiently meaningful nor satisfying. It seems to be too one-sided, short-sighted, hyperrealistic/ unrealistic, sterile and soulless.49Matthias Krieg: “The materialist is short-sighted by nature.” (Verbal message).
For a materialist, dreams, love, hope, consolation, grace, salvation, spirituality, eternity, paradise, soul, God etc., are of little consequence in themselves, since they seem immaterial and unprovable.50Predominately, materialism overall has the characteristics of a second-rate reality with its advantages and disadvantages. (See also the Summary table) The materialist resembles F. Nietzsche’s “last man” mentioned above. Psychotherapy on this basis has similar tendencies. Even if materialists do not intend it, their attitude of mind, like that of all ideologues, is susceptible to totalitarian views and systems. They themselves may then become more or less totalitarian and exclusionary. A person’s material equipment, functionality, usefulness, and efficiency quickly become the main criteria for evaluating him. This is a phenomenon that affects society as a whole, not just psychology. Performance is to be improved, the economy is to grow. Growth for growth’s sake, however, is “the ideology of a cancer cell” (Edward Abbey). Is this not similar to the attitude of “knowledge at any cost”?

Criticism of Science and Psychology

“By that, I know the learned lord you are!
What you don’t touch, is lying leagues afar,
What you don’t grasp, is wholly lost to you,
What you don’t reckon, think you, can’t be true,
What you don’t weigh, it has no weight, alas!
What you don’t mint yourself is counterfeit.“
 Goethe, Faust51Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust II, Vers 4917 ff.

See also superordinate Criticism of Anthropocentrism. and Criticism of Materialism

There has always been criticism of understanding psychology as science.52A good overview can be found at Mark Galliker (DOI 10.1007/978-3-658-09927-5, 2016) This is especially true with regard to their low relevance for everyday life.53E.g., Ludwig Wittgenstein (in Philosophische Untersuchungen) Georges Politzer (s. Ref.), Recently, Eva Jaeggi (s. Ref.) etc.
M. Galliker: “Should psychology be understood more clearly as a natural science than before, there is a risk that … psychosocial practice will become even more medicalized and the prospect of a specifically psychological practical relevance in this area will be further reduced.” In addition, there is a fear that psychology will dissolve into pure neuroscience.54Ibid p 189 ff.

A purely materialistic academic psychology reduces the person to what can be proven, to what is ultimately matter, and thereby overlooks what is life in its truest sense. Idealists, on the other hand, sit in ivory towers and may miss life altogether.
This kind of psychology not only despiritualizes, exanimates, and objectifies the person, but even robs him of his implicit dignity, his implicit right to self-determination and freedom. 55From my point of view, this is ridiculous, because such a “scientist” will think that he has proven, against all experience, that a person does not have free will. (It is clear, of course, that a person’s actions are not completely independent) (It is, of course, clear that a person’s actions are not exclusively independent). Benjamin Libet: Haben wir einen freien Willen? in: Geyer: Hirnforschung und Willensfreiheit, 2004, p. 268-290.

If psychology regards all that is human as a mere reaction or product, etc., then it also denies our primary responsibility and the uniqueness of each individual.
Such scientists, I believe, will have little understanding of the subjective and even chaotic nature of mental illness. Rather, they will tend to think in dualistic or digital terms, and as a result will fail to recognize the shades of meaning in the words uttered – or if they do, they will seek to further digitize these shades of meaning. As I understand S. Freud’s statement (which I believe to be correct) that “The laws of logic … do not apply to processes in the id“,56like: it means that, with science, one will struggle to gain access to the unconscious.

Another weakness of materialistic science is its closed system of thought. It is incomprehensible how academic psychology overlooks the importance of spirituality and religiosity, even though they are of existential importance to billions of people. Man is seen in the limits of input-output and not as one, at least in the Absolute, free. Thus, “pure science” will not be able to cross a boundary that separates the provable and predictable from the unprovable and unpredictable, which is also the unique. But these are the innermost beliefs and feelings of a human being that distinguish him from machines and things. Otherwise, one might think: It is not me as a person who is ill, nor is it my soul that is suffering, but rather my synapses are affected, or my metabolism is suffering – but this is only half the truth, and options for therapy are lost – the latter coming mostly in the form of psychotropic drugs that correct the relevant dysfunction.
In other words: Materialism and science per se, when applied exclusively, contain neither comfort nor love, and are in themselves weak foundations for psychotherapy. It is also questionable whether science can be conducted in an unbiased, presupposition-free manner. Of course, such questions are already visible, for example, in the construction of the atomic bomb.

What good will all our knowledge, all our growth, the best inventions and the greatest progress be if they are not embedded in a +A (+meta-level); considered in isolation, they could all be used for evil.
When the humanities are practiced only as empirical sciences, they prevent innovation from these foundations (experiences).

Here, I cite some further quotations to this topic:

      • Erwin Schrödinger: In the world of science “there are no sensory qualities …” Of particular poignance in Schrödinger’s view is “the utter silence of our entire scientific research regarding our questions about the meaning and purpose of the undertakings … The personal God cannot be found in an image of the world which has only become accessible at the cost of all personal references being excluded. We know: Whenever God is experienced, this is a moment which is just as real as an unmediated sensory perception or as one’s own personality.”57 Erwin Schrödinger: Auszüge aus „Das arithmetische Paradoxon – Die Einheit des Bewusstseins”. Quotations from Einstein and Schrödinger took from:, 2015.
      •  Bernd Senf sharply judges: “Science, which originally opposed ecclesiastical dogmatism, has long since developed into a new system of belief preached by new scribes and readjusted by the public.” 58( Similar to Wolfgang Pauli: “Today we are at a point where the rationalistic attitude has passed its peak and is perceived as too narrow.” 59Wolfgang Pauli:  Physik und Transzendenz, Hans-Peter Dürr (Hrsg.), Bern u. a.: Scherz, 1986, p.  205.
      • ”Science offers access to matter; religion and philosophy, however, offer access to the mind and spirit.” “The movers and shakers (of today) not only bitumize their external environment but also the souls around them.”60 Evangelischer Erwachsenenkatechismus, Gütersloher Verlagshaus 6. edition 2000, p 60 und p. 13 (no further reference source).
      • Richard Lewontin: The self-limitation of science to empiricism, which is predominant today, shows that there is “a prior commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world. On the contrary, it is that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.“ 61, 2019.
      • Arthur Eddington: “Almost all the great classical philosophers – certainly Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, Locke and Berkeley – they all argued that the ultimate reality, often hidden under the appearances of the material world or time and space, is mind or spirit.” Concerning the inherent bias of scientificity, he told a parable of a fisher who would only accept the fish he caught in his net as being fish. 62Quotating Arthur Eddington, from John Lennox: Hat die Wissenschaft Gott begraben? R. Brockhaus; 2. ed. Wuppertal 2002, p. 44.
      • Gerhard Grössing: One is often “confronted with Albert Einstein’s statement that the setting of principles (axioms), which are intended to link up the elements of experience in a meaningful way, will not be accomplished through a logical method but only through an ‘intuitive (psychological) connection’, whereby he meant that the `free creation of the human mind´ is an indispensable part of theory construction.”63 Gerhard Grössing: Die Information der Physik: Subjektal und objektal. In: p 6, 10/2013.
      • Heinzpeter Hempelmann: “The acquisition of scientific knowledge is based upon the reduction of a comprehensive desire for knowledge to a simple, limited question … However, the success of the same will be purchased at the price of relinquishing the quest for knowledge of the whole.“ 64Heinzpeter Hempelmann: Eine kritische Analyse der Reichweite und grenzenwissenschaftlicher Aussagen am Beispiel der Neurowissenschaften. In:
      • Noam Chomsky: “It is quite possible … that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology.“65 Chomsky, Noam: Language and Problems of Knowledge: The Managua Lectures, Lecture 5, 1988, p. 159.
      • The Noncognitivism argued against the absolutization of knowledge: e.g. F. Bacon (“knowledge is power”), as did Lenin,  S. Freud (“Our God, Logos”), Maturana (“to live is to know”) and through Cognitivism, (albeit, in my opinion, too one-sidedly), according to which the sphere of the subjective is not accessible to any scientific knowledge, since that which is subjective, the psyche, is beyond the two criteria of truth accepted by empirical science: logical and mathematical proof and testing through observation or experiment.66 Aus: 2/ 2014. (Emphasis mine).
More precisely, one might need to say: The field of the subjective, such as the psyche, can only be ascertained through the methods of empirical science, and only relatively well.
• F. Nietzsche: “`Reason´ is the cause of our falsification of the testimony of the senses.“ 67“Twilight of the Idols”, Part 2, Section 36.
• More recent discussions are presented by R. Sheldrake in ‘The Science Delusion”.

• Knowledge of “intuitionistic logic” (K. Gödel) and “fuzzy logic” (L. A. Zadeh) also belongs in this context; L. A. Zadeh: “As complexity increases, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision. […] The closer you look at a ‘real’ problem, the fuzzier its solution becomes”. Question: What could be more complex than the life of our soul?

Zadeh: „I expected people in the social sciences-economics, psychology, philosophy, linguistics, politics, sociology, religion and numerous other areas to pick up on it. It’s been somewhat of a mystery to me why even to this day, so few social scientists have discovered how useful it could be.”68Aus:

In this respect, I would like to briefly touch upon realism and functionalism, since they have quite important roles to play in materialistic philosophy and respective psychotherapies.


“The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge or understanding through thought, experience and the senses, of a reality which exists independent of consciousness.” 69Taken from:
As explained in detail in the section `Metapsychiatry´, I believe that our world, like human beings, is of first- and second-rate realities. Only a first-rate reality can be unambiguous; the second-rate realities can only exist as relatively unambiguous or even ambiguous realities. However, the term “realism” cannot distinguish between these two spheres of reality, and misunderstandings arise when it tries to do so.
So what does the phrase “I am a realist” mean? It probably means, “For me, reality is the ultimate authority. But reality is not unambiguous. Would it not have been realistic for those in the Third Reich to greet people with “Heil Hitler”?
A “realist” will tend to represent reality either hyper-realistically, ignoring its ambiguities and contradictions, or too vaguely.
Materialistic psychotherapies generally define “adjustment to reality” as a questionable goal of therapy.


Definitions: “Function: Variable factor which is dependent upon another for its value.” 70Großes Fremdwörterbuch KW `Funktion´.
Functionalism considers in particular the conscious mind to be a function of the sense organs.71According to Schischkoff, KW `Funktion´. `Functionalism states that mental states are functional states; A functional state is defined by responding to a specific input with a specific output.´72  12/ 2013. Generally speaking, materialists are also functionalists. Therefore, similar to psychotherapists of this provenance, materialists tend to form an opinion of a person according to their functionality, or even to make this the primary aim of their therapy. However, a person is not primarily a functionary. According to Schischkoff, a functionary is a person “whose occupation consists of performing functions, i.e. of `functioning´.” “As a personality type, a functionary is considered to be excessively compliant and risk-averse with a propensity for routine.“ 73Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon. Schischkoff quotes Alfred Weber, who refers to the functionary as the “fourth man”; a specialist, whose ambition drives him to “identify with his functions, even if he has been forced upon by foreign will. As a consequence, the personality is split into a functionary’s character and a … residual person, with the functionary’s character being capable of performing extremely inhumane actions. Thus, Weber explains the potential for totalitarian governance.”74  Schischkoff, KW: Funktionär; s. Bibliography . I believe that if we do not consider life with its dysfunctions more important than functionality, we will hinder not only our lives but functionality itself, for the functionalist will respond either in hyper-functional or, more often, in non-functional and dysfunctional ways.
Entire societies may perish as a result of prioritizing functionality and efficiency. Similarly, we will harm our patients in the long run if we think it is necessary to push them to prioritize functionality. I dread the possibility of a future in which we merely function, but no longer live our lives, merely adapting to reality rather than shaping it..

Academic Language and Academic Activities

“... I believe that everything, even the best, becomes one-sided if the opposition is lacking.
Eugen Bleuler to S. Freud

Ordinary people will hardly understand theology, psychology, and psychiatry. This can be compared to the feeling of a participant in a psychological or theological discussion about human beings who feels, “These people are also talking about me as a human being, and yet I cannot understand them. But in matters of theology, psychology, and psychiatry, we are not discussing specific issues, as in debates about astrophysics, but matters that affect us all. However, such discussions are often conducted in attitudes that are closed to the general public, especially to those who are affected.
Certainly, some jargon is necessary, but much of it is avoidable, and the connection to the grassroots, to the people, would not be lost if one “looked people in the mouth” more often, as Luther did, or followed Einstein’s advice: “Wise is he who says difficult things simply.” Or, as Manfred Bleuler aptly told his students: “Psychiatry is simple and human in its essence. With a healthy mind, a little life experience, and a warm heart, its fundamentals are easy to grasp. Everything that seems complicated to you in psychiatry is not so important and is often only expressed in an exaggeratedly complicated way.”
“Much of the published work in this area is biased, as evidenced by the following statistic: Although 99% of all trials with positive results for antidepressants are published, only 26% of trials with negative results are published.
However, it is not only the independence from industry or other interest groups that is at stake, but also the inner independence of the individual doctor or psychotherapist. If you want to have a career in today’s world, you have to publish a large number of papers. For example, once upon a time, countless articles were published describing the effects of psychotropic drugs, but a few years later it is astonishing to read that a research team could not tell the difference between the effects of placebos and antidepressants on mild to moderate depression.”75Both bibliographical references in H. Schauenburg, Deutsches Ärzteblatt, 2009.

Regarding the academic activities undertaken within psychological departments, see G. Vinnai’s criticism in: “Die Austreibung der Kritik aus der Wissenschaft: Psychologie im Universitätsbetrieb” (The Expulsion of Criticism from Science: Psychology in University Departments) – also for `Fragen an die Neuropsychologie´(Questions for Neuropsychology), see the unabridged German version, and in section Neuroscience in psychotherapy. 


There is not one philosophy of idealism but many diverse trends that have this in common: the “perspective that considers objective reality as being determined by idea, spirit and reason, and even regards matter as an outward form of the spirit.“ 76According to Schischkoff, KW Idealismus (Idealism) .
At present, idealist positions only feature marginally within the sciences. Therefore, idealism as an opposite standpoint to materialism shall only be mentioned briefly here. Esotericism and spiritualist currents settle here. Idealist and humanist trends are commonly (→) anthropocentric and imply (→) Belief in progress. (For more details, see the relevant section.)

Materialism and Idealism

• Juxtaposition in key words

Materialism versus idealism
          positive: more concrete, `real´, provable and demonstrable, clearer, more down to earth
          negative: too nearsighted, flat, sterile, too-heavy resp. lack of advantages of idealism.
Idealism versus materialism
          positive: more far-sighted, more imaginative, more soulful, more intuitive
          negative: more abstract, world-fugitive, aloof 77E.g. → Concrete Examples (Hölderlin, Nietzsche…  or lack of advantages of materialism.

While the human being in the “flatland of materialism” (Franz Werfel) has no height,
the idealist tends to lose his grip on the ground.

• Materialism ↔ Idealism
They are in opposition. But they are only opponents at first glance, they are also conditional on each other. In the history of ideas one often finds how both worldviews alternate.
See also → Interplay of opposing sA as ideologies in part II Metapsychiatry.


I will examine two overlapping definitions as a basis for this section 78This section discusses the so-called idealist humanism. With regard to `materialistic humanism‘, the points made in the section on `Materialism’ are also valid here.
• Humanism “points to … an ideal image of a person, who can freely develop their personality based on an all-rounded theoretical and moral education.” 79, 2013. (2016 editon is no longer available).
“Humanism … is a well-reflected anthropocentrism‎, which starts from our human consciousness and focuses on the appreciation of the human person …” 80According to Schischkoff, KW ` Humanismus‘ (Humanism). 
Anthropocentric Worldview can be considered to be a connecting element of old and new approaches [of humanism].“ 81Wikipedia KW Humanismus, 1/2016. See also `Humanismus´

Forms of Humanism

Goethe´s Humanism
A. Keyserling characterizes Goethe’s humanism as follows: “It is not the work nor the fruit but rather, the process of bringing fruit that is how the entelechy develops … The development of the personality through objectification and shaping of the original disposition was Goethe’s way of life … The famous novel, Faust, comes to an end with the words `Whoever strives with all his might, that man we can redeem´.” 82Taken from: Arnold Keyserling, in: 3/2016.
Goethe has, according to W. Leppmann, the “educational ideal of an autonomous person who completes himself or herself.”83 Wolfgang Leppmann: Goethe und die Deutschen – Vom Nachruhm eines Dichters. W. Kohlhammer Verlag, 1962, p 193. C.G. Jung expressed a similar viewpoint with regard to `individuation´.84 See also my criticism of the absolutization of individuation and maturation, loc. cit. → Individuation 

Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant explains the categorical imperative as an ethical behavior that one must “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.” Is Kant’s categorical imperative a misguided absolutization of duty and reason? Indeed, I think so.
Here are several typical quotes. Kant: “Duty! Thou sublime and great name which … demands submission …” 85Friedrich Kirchner in: 3/2016.
Kant calls for “a religion of reason, the principles of which are based purely upon reason …” For Kant, God himself is a necessary `postulate´ of practical reason, however, this statement does not involve belief in the ‘objective reality’ of the same … `The true, sole religion contains nothing but laws … on whose unconditional necessity we can become conscious.“. 86Wikipedia 2/2014. I believe this overwhelms people, and Friedrich Nietzsche said, not entirely wrongly in my opinion, that Kant represents a “life-threatening” moral theology. 87Wikipedia , 202388 .

Present-Day Example Rudolf Kuhr
 “Humanism … is a means and an end in itself, and urges a person to work upon themselves like no other orientation. Therefore, since this is arduous, most people, thus far, have chosen a religion that promises them salvation through an external agent, as does Christianity … (It) misleads a person to deal with their inner conflicts outside of their own person. Thus, they ask God for help (God is with us!), rather than solving their own conflicts with the aid of psychology … The human person is the problem of other human persons and the world – and also the solution.”89 Rudolf Kuhr: Warum ich kein Christ bin; In: 2/2014. Critical question: If Mr Kuhr had a daughter who was terminally ill – would he say the same thing to her? I sincerely hope not.

The Problem of Humanism

What is meant is the criticism of anthropocentric, secular humanism, which is an important basis of humanistic psychotherapies.
Such humanists have replaced God¹ with a super-ego (+sA “humanum”) that is less loving than the +A (God¹); indeed, one that will even be merciless to human beings on certain occasions.
If humanity is the last instance, what about my inhumanity, which also exists?
If human reason is the last instance, what about my irrationalities? Can they be integrated, or must they be suppressed, dissociated, or even opposed? Secular humanism asks too much of the human being, since it must label as taboo, dissociate from, and oppose what is inhuman and evil. But since the inhuman and evil are inherent in human beings and can only be partially, not fundamentally, “conquered,” an unresolvable conflict arises within us that can have potentially bad effects if we take humanism too seriously.
Philosopher John Gray criticizes this form of humanism, believing that the humanist’s fundamental conviction that human history is a history of progress is a superstitious belief. “Humanists say: The goal may be out of reach now, but we can still move toward it. These are siren songs … All supposed progress is ambivalent. One can accumulate knowledge, but not ethical improvement… The increase of knowledge increases a person’s power, for better or for worse… The self-determined life is a modern fetish. Whoever wants to change the world by willpower comes dangerously close to terrorism in the name of reason or the common good, as the Jacobites during the French Revolution or the Bolsheviks under Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin have shown…”.90 The magazine “Der Spiegel” in conversation with John Gray: DER SPIEGEL, taken from 9/2010
In my opinion, we should not “say goodbye to humanism,” as John Gray’s book of the same name recommends, but we should say goodbye to its absolutization, which is only possible if what is inhuman, aggressive, evil, selfish, or any other negative aspect of a person (which we all carry within us) is not made into a mortal sin, nor considered unforgivable, and thus made the fundamental cause of a disease. This is only possible, however, if the humanist ideology is embedded in a larger, more comprehensive structure that can integrate and compensate for these negative human qualities without exalting them as good. This larger structure could most easily be called love. But then we run into the problem that human love becomes absolutized and overwhelms the human being, and then it can harm people. If before we postulated the need to be humane and progressive, now we are condemned to be full of love and forgiveness. In my opinion, without an authority that transcends the human person, without a transcendent, loving authority, which I have also called A, any other way of thinking becomes an absolutized ideology and therefore suboptimal at best.

The problem of Christian social teachings

In my opinion, Catholic social teaching also ultimately have the same problem as humanism. Its essential principles of personhood, solidarity and common good are essentially also the principles of humanism and correspond to the imperative of self-love and love of neighbor. But at this point, Catholic social teaching, like humanism, is ultimately concerned only with ethical precepts91 In Catholic social teaching, “Social contexts are empirically examined and theologically and ethically reflected upon.” , 2023. and not with the unconditional existence of man beyond all ethics and morality. That is, in Christian terms, these social teachings are not about an ethics subordinated to the unconditional promise of God’s love for every human being. But when this is absent, Christian social teaching, like humanism, runs the risk of becoming negative or even “bestial” in certain situations. Why? Just as pure humanism is incapable of integrating the inhuman, a merely ethically oriented Christian social teaching is incapable of integrating the unsocial. This means that certain negative parts inherent in man and society must be negated, repressed, sublimated, or fought against. However, the energy required for this will weaken the system, and the desired ideals of humanity and sociality will be all the less achieved if people and societies have the freedom to subordinate these ideals to themselves or to a +A. I.e., only such a relativized ethics will make their fulfillment possible in the best possible way.

Humanism and Christianity

The following values are relevant to both: Human dignity and the fundamental rights of all people; equality before the law, protection from despotism, freedom of religion and conscience – these are values enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. But: But: “For many centuries, the Christian churches were guided less by a belief in human dignity than by sin… Only the baptized, dogmatically orthodox Christian was considered worthy of dignity. But heresy, unbelief, or paganism was considered an invitation to any kind of persecution, torture, and inhuman treatment. It was the Renaissance, Humanism and the Reformation that brought human dignity back to the forefront… This fostered the modern idea of human rights: Every human being is worth more than his or her achievements. While he himself may violate his dignity, no state or ecclesiastical power may deprive him of it. It must always be understood that there is a difference between a person and his actions.”92 Evangelischer Erwachsenenkatechismus s. Bibliography p  368/ 371.

So what is the difference between humanism and Christianity? Humanism is anthropocentric. The Christian message is both anthropocentric and theocentric. While love and humanism are very important among us humans, they are still imperfect and require the love of God in our midst. According to humanism as an ideology, divine humanism is irrelevant. Humanism must be satisfied with human humanism, for which man becomes the final authority, even if this is problematic in itself. “The Christian message contains not only the divine challenge to love our neighbor … but above all the assurance of unconditional divine love and forgiveness … The Christian faith relativizes moral behavior. This means that God, the gospel, is stronger than the law; grace is stronger than our sin; and we are freed from the compulsion to be good. And yet, while the radical commandment of love will still ensure that one can never be satisfied with one’s achievements, it does not mean that a person’s worth depends on what he has accomplished for society [depends on a person’s humane attitude].”93 Evangelischer Erwachsenen Katechismus, Gütersloh, 6. edition 2000. p. 381 [Addition by the author].
“Karl Barth said that, first and foremost, one would have to speak of God’s humanism: of God’s love for people … Secular humanisms are, effectively, dispensable. They are merely `abstract programs´ in the face of the assurance that all human beings are children of God, as it is proclaimed in the Gospels.”94 Wikipedia:  2/ 2014. However, I in no way believe secular humanisms to be dispensable. Nor I do consider them to be as dangerous as the following quotation expresses “Humanity without divinity turns into bestiality“. 95Quotation by F. Schleiermacher or Grillparzer. (This means that being human without dependence upon God, will lead to the human person becoming an animal). The French Revolution may serve as an example of this. This would seem to mean that an absolutized humanism, which permanently suppresses all that is brutal and evil in a person, may degenerate into `bestiality‘, since it is precisely such a humanism which enslaves us and makes us aggressive.96 As one knows, that too much of a good thing can turn into bad. Expressed more generally: This absolutization of humanism leads to “hyper-humanism” (pro-position), anti-humanism (contra-position) or indifference (0-position). In each of these cases, a person is living against their human nature, since the latter is neither purely humane nor exclusively evil.

About the Anthropocentric Belief in Progress

Here I will present only a few hypotheses:

  • The belief in progress in the sense of progressivism can be found in materialism as well as in idealism.
  • Humanity is not capable of realizing such an (absolutized) belief in progress.
    Such ideologies of progress give rise first to utopian dreams and then to suffering.
  • I believe that we, as human beings, can only achieve relative progress. To be more precise: Progress is a positive Relative and has the characteristics of the same: it is neither absolute nor negligible, but diverse, incomplete, conditional, secondary and dependent (Asp. a1-a7). This also means that all these relative advances also have disadvantages. Therefore, an important question is whether the advantages or disadvantages outweigh each other.
  • With every progress there is the potential for its abuse – all the more so if the progress is considered absolute (dynamics of pro- and anti-positions). Examples: today we kill “better” and faster; the digital world has great advantages but also disadvantages. Drugs in general, and psychotropic drugs in particular, can alleviate much suffering, but they are also greatly abused, etc.
  • Therefore, a belief in progress in an appropriate form would be neither progressivism nor no belief in progress, but it would depend on the kind of progress made and the sacrifices made for the sake of progress, etc.
  • Medical progress aimed solely at prolonging life or curing at any cost would be as questionable as analogous technological progress at any cost.
  • Anthropocentric attitudes are characterized by a form of belief in progress that presupposes the possession of a humane and rational mind. However, as noted above, we are not always humane and rational (nor do we always want to be). They appeal one-sidedly to the strength of a person’s ego, but we are often weak and sometimes powerless. We are supposed to emancipate, individuate, grow up and take responsibility. However, we are and often remain dependent, immature, and afraid of certain responsibilities and commitments; and sometimes this is the most appropriate option.

Religions and Spiritual Movements


Religions are the strongest spiritual powers since they focus on that which is unconditional, absolute. This is why they can have exceedingly positive but else, in the case of their abuse in particular, extremely negative effects. All world religions have a basic tendency to favor that which is humane. (KW “world ethos”, H. Küng).
I have compiled the points which seem to be important to me, concerning the three world religions, in the following table: 97The following description of the most important religions necessarily only includes that which seems to me personally and subjectively most essential for our topic. In addition, there are diverse directions in all religions, which for reasons of space I will disregard at this point.

Religions and Spiritual Movements


Religions are the most powerful spiritual forces because they focus on the unconditional, the absolute. This is why they can have extremely positive effects, but also extremely negative ones, especially when they are misused. All world religions have a basic tendency to favor the humane. (KW “World Ethos”, H. Küng).
In the following table I have summarized the points that seem important to me concerning the three world religions:


Revelation /
Holy Scriptures
   Quran is to be taken literally
   since it came directly from Allah.
 The speeches of Buddha   New Testament, which is not in itself holy but depicts God/ Jesus .
Declared byMuhammadBuddhaJesus

Salvation through:

Allah / one’s own actions

One’s own actions, self-salvation

Jesus and one’s own request
Must /
“Five pillars”: declaration of faith
(5x /day) prayer, alms-giving, Hajj.
Every action generates karma, bad karma needs to be worked off.Free will
Accession through:1x saying the declaration of faithArguably freeVoluntary, unconditional.
Officially: Through baptism. *
Quit by:Barely possible,
at times the threat of death penalty.
Arguably freeFree
Life after deathVery worldly ideas,
not very attractive for women.
(for me, too stressful) Finally Nirvana (for me, too deindividualizing)
Eternal and good.
AdvantagesIn principle, humanistic and caring.In principle, humanistic and caring.Jesus as the one who redeems and provides orientation. There is no coercion and the guidance is good. All people have the same and greatest value; God loves all people. Free “attitude toward Absolute”. Whatever is regretted can be forgiven.
DisadvantagesAllah is too far away, too arbitrary.
A person’s right actions are too important, this is too demanding. There are some aggressive statements in the Quran.
Not enough equality.
There is no God, little support,
a person’s right actions are too important; this is too stressful.
Seemingly, a disadvantage: one’s own good works have only relative significance.
* I myself do not consider this to be compulsory. See e.g. Jesus’ assurance given to the criminal, who was crucified with him and who was probably not baptized, that he would “be with me in paradise today”.
    A Story

Three brothers [representing the three monotheistic religions] set out to seek their fortunes. After several years they met again.
The first one reported: “I am the king of a well-ordered kingdom with 700 rules, and God is with me. The second said, “I am the king of a kingdom with a global idea of social justice and the sovereignty of God on this earth. The third brother said, “I live in the kingdom of love. 98One could also apply this story to behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis or metatherapy.
It is good that the choice is free. None of the three can prove that life is best in his country.
Personally, I would move to the third brother’s country.
Suggestion: Read the Old Testament, the Qur’an and the biography of Muhammad, and the New Testament and the biography of Jesus – and then judge.

About Islam


Islam means submission to the will of God. At its center is the Qur’an. The Qur’an is considered to be the literal revelation of Allah to Muhammad through the Archangel Gabriel (“Dictation Understanding” of the Qur’an). In addition to the Qur’an, the Sunnah (see below) plays an important role.99According to and, 2017.
Islam specifies five basic duties that all Muslims must adhere to and which constitute the “pillars” of their faith = the “Five Pillars” of Islam: 100© 2004 Islamisches Zentrum München.

      1. Belief in Allah and in Muhammad as His Messenger.
      2. The five daily prayers.101The 1st and 2nd are to be spoken in Arabic.
      3. Charity giving to one’s fellows.
      4. Fasting during Ramadan.
      5. The pilgrimage to Mecca.

Polygamy is permitted. Muhammad had nine wives. He consummated his marriage with his third and favorite wife, Aisha, when he was himself over 50 years old, and she was 9 years old.102Aus:, 2014. In his lifetime, he has executed many of his opponents. “Family law (marriage, divorce, custodianship) is strictly regulated in favor of the man.”103 Großer Brockhaus, KW Islam. “On Judgement Day, he (Allah) will judge people: Unbelievers will face hellfire and believers will be promised the umbrageous paradise with its virgins (Huris) … The Quran attempts to cover all spheres of life by way of legal regulations.“ 104Meyers Großes Taschenlexikon, KW Islam. “Jihad is an important Islamic principle of faith because it is one of the fundamental commandments of the Islamic faith and a duty imposed on all Muslims. Some Sunni scholars add jihad as a sixth pillar to the five pillars of Islam.”105 Wikipedia:  1/ 2016. In various relevant writings, “jihad” has different meanings: armed struggle (primarily against “infidels” and apostates) or merely peaceful effort. The term “infidels” refers to all those who do not believe in Allah and Muhammad.

  • What I find positive in Islam is the following:
    The strong social aspect; especially the care for the poor and the weak.
    The portrayal of a God who is generally benevolent to human beings.
    The fact that Allah is often portrayed as “merciful”.
    The idea of a good life after death (though admittedly not my own).
  • The following points are more elusive or even negative from my point of view:
    It’s hard for me to imagine that I can see myself as an image of Allah, or that Allah descends from heaven and serves me, or that Allah dies on the cross for me.
    In Islam, those who profess other faiths, as well as those who live without faith or according to an alternative lifestyle, such as atheists and homosexuals, are excluded. I cannot imagine that Allah would love me if I believed in other gods, or that he would forgive me if I converted from Islam to Christianity. Nor can I imagine that Allah would want me to love my enemies.
    The role of women in Islam seems to be too negative.
    Often believers are called to join the “Jihad” (which could mean holy war?).
    For me, Allah is a God who is too distant and arbitrary.
    In Islam, people die for Allah; in Christianity, it is the opposite – Jesus dies for people.
    I feel that in this religion there are too many demands, too little freedom and too little right to self-determination. To leave the religion is sometimes threatened with death.
    Whenever I read the Qur’an, I find comforting verses – as I do when I read the Old Testament – but I also find much that frightens me, because from the point of view of the Qur’an, I would have to be considered an “infidel”. (See, for example, Sure 2: 24, 89, 190-193; Sure 8: 12, 55; Sure 47: 4, 10 and other verses referring to “unbelievers”).106See Abdel-Samad, Hamed: Der Koran – Botschaft der Liebe, Botschaft des Hasses. Droemer, München, 2016. Jesus however, does not frighten me, nor does he frighten people of other faiths and no faith. 107This is true, excluding some sayings that I believe were not originally uttered by Jesus, owing to the fact that several decades have passed between Jesus’ utterances and their recording in writing. Those who spread his message were, I believe, ordinary people who, at times, also misunderstand what was being said. (More on this later). Muslims cannot have certainty of faith because of the teaching of the Quran, as opposed to Christians. I also see Jesus as a role model example, whereas I can barely identify with Muhammad’s lifestyle, which is as “Sunnah”, the second foundation of Islam, alongside the Quran. Ch. Schirrmacher’s opinion is expressed in the following statement: “As long as Muhammad and the caliphs’ exhortation to do battle is not declared to be invalid for all times, Islam will not be able to slough off its problems with violence.” 9/1/2015 I would like to add the following: “As long as Christian theology does not nullify appeals to fight as they are in part attributed to the Old Testament´s God and (rarely) the New Testament (Lk 19:27), Christianity will face similar reproaches.”

About Buddhism

There is no God in Buddhism. By anthropocentric means, Buddhism attempts to overcome anthropocentrism. “Buddhism teaches: Life is an endless chain of rebirths, in which good and bad deeds are worked out. The main commandments of Buddhism are: do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, do not commit adultery.”109 Michael Hamerla: 12/2011. “From a Buddhist perspective, the self is not a constant entity, but rather a process characterized by continuous becoming, changing, and passing away… Mindfulness (also called awareness, realization) is the practice of remaining fully in the here and now, perceiving all that is present, both clearly and consciously, but without judgment.” 110Wikipedia: 10/2013. “Karma means action, work or deed; it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect). Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and future happiness, whereas  bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and future suffering. The philosophy of karma is closely associated with the idea of rebirth … karma in the present affects one’s future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives – one’s saṃsāra.”111 2019. “Buddhism’s highest aim is to escape from this cycle, by not producing karma – so that our actions no longer leave a trace in the world. In Buddhism, this is termed as the entry to Nirvana.” 112Wikipedia: 10/2013.
In recent decades, Buddhist beliefs and techniques have become more prominent in some psychotherapeutic schools of thought.

    “The journey is the destination”

The motto: ‘The journey is the destination‘, which plays a special role in Buddhism, could be a motto for many other worldviews; where personal fulfillment, Individuation (C. G. Jung) and also, for society: where progress, growth etc. become the prevailing maxims.

In my opinion, these are self-redemption programs that will not bring peace of mind to an individual. Do not most worldviews amount to a compulsion to reach a certain goal?
What happens when a person cannot go any further, or even retreats when he is pushed back, while the maxim that he must go a certain way remains in his heart? Does he not fall into despair? You might say that even if he retreats, he will remain on the path. This is true, but he must at least try to go forward. Sometimes this is not possible, because there are occasions when one is completely powerless and cannot see the way forward. → Chr. Morgenstern: “He who does not know the goal cannot have the way”.
Perhaps this problem is particularly pronounced in old age, when one realizes, as I am now discovering, that one has not become wiser, although one has developed intelligence and gained experience. Keyword: Here, too, whenever the path has been followed to its end, we encounter the problem of the so-called “pilgrim’s death”.
    Harmony and balance of the soul as a goal in Buddhism, and also in Chinese philosophy, these goals play an important role. Of utmost importance here is the balance and harmony between two forces that are juxtaposed as polar opposites and yet interdependent in the commonly used symbol: Yin-Yang. ☯. 113(For details, see M. Lurker, Wörterbuch der Symbolik). 

  • The positive aspects of Buddhism, in my opinion, are as follows
    It seems to be non-dogmatic and peaceful.
    It advocates the overcoming of greed, hatred and delusion (three “mind poisons”).
    It highly values the inner life of a person (practice of meditation).
    It is not afraid to name human suffering.
    It speaks of a perspective beyond death; earthly life is not all there is.114The Christian standpoint not to attribute absolute significance to earthly things, seems to be quite similar to the main objective in Buddhism to reach Nirvana. In contrast, in the Christian religion, however, it is about giving the earthly only a relative meaning and thus not dependent on it. I see a parallel between the character of that which is second-rate (WPI²) as described above and the Buddhist teaching regarding the ego illusion and the illusion of reality.
  • The following points are, in my opinion, elusive or even negative:
    There is no loving God (anthropocentrism).
    As a philosophy, which is what Buddhism really is, it is too pessimistic. Ultimately, man must redeem himself. The way a person lives determines his or her karma in the next life, which, depending on the school of thought, may be reborn as an animal, demon, or other being, as in the case of bad karma. The number of rebirths and the need for constant effort would be completely overwhelming.
    The prospect of a person’s essence dissolving in Nirvana is negative, in my opinion. 115This is contrary to the Christian faith, which promises a liberation and confirmation of one’s individuality. The continuous striving for equilibrium would, for me, be tantamount to walking the tightrope; in terms of dealing with my aggression, the permanent pursuit of harmony would suppress my aggressions too much.


“Hinduism is polytheistic in nature and knows many gods … The three main gods are united in the ‘one Godhead in three forms’ (Trimurti): Brahma represents the creative principle in the universe, Vishnu the sustaining and preserving principle, and Shiva the destructive principle. Besides the main gods, there are countless other gods associated with Hinduism, many of which are only locally worshipped… The belief in reincarnation is common to the Indian religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The nature of reincarnation depends on the nature of karma, or the moral qualities of past actions. This belief in reincarnation gave rise to the Indian idea of an individual’s salvation from the cycle of existence (samsâra), whereby one achieves salvation from the endless recurrence of death and rebirth.116
Serie – Weltreligionen (2): Die vielen Gesichter des Hinduismus; and
Michael Hicke: (no date provided).

In my opinion, this religion, like other religions discussed above, also contains too many preconditions for my essential selfhood. The caste system in India, which has not yet been overcome, was promoted by Hinduism.

Esoterism and Similar Ideologies

Here, esotericism represents various spiritual, non-Christian movements. M. Poehlmann formulates the reasons for their growth: “Numerous ideological movements strive to restore the unity of worldview and religion, of reason and faith, which has been lost in the context of cultural secularization. In their quest for a relevant interpretation of meaning and universal validity, they resemble religions”. He went on to say of esotericism: “Man is perceived as a potentially spiritual being whose inner core is divine, which is the motor and impulse for spiritual evolution. Esotericism seeks methods and practices that enable higher knowledge, expansion of consciousness, and spiritual growth.”117 M. Pöhlmann in: Evangelische Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen (EZW); 2011. Esoteric ideas and practices are very important, especially for spiritual healers, but also for some psychotherapists. For me, as mentioned above, they represent an antithesis to the scientific orientation of official psychotherapy and compensate for its deficiencies, albeit with many superstitious concepts. One could see them as fulfilling a similar function to the retreat into imaginary worlds of fantasy and the media.

About Christianity

I feel most at home in this religion. If we imagine people who – ideally – trust that they are deeply protected, that they are unconditionally lovable and eternal, and that everything Relative has only a relative meaning – what can destroy these people? How much more easily they will overcome their emotional crises! How many costly defenses and fulfillment mechanisms will become obsolete? If we believe that we are redeemed, we are loved for our own sake; if we trust that we have permission to be who we are, we would no longer need +sA and would not be afraid of‒sA. 118There is a danger however, that those affected might believe that one’s health only depends on one’s strength of belief and, vice versa, that one’s illness is indicative of one’s lack of faith.

D. Claessens and Erik Erikson have described the importance of a `basic trust´.119Dieter Claessens: Familie und Wertsystem, [1962], 4th edition, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1979.
Erik H. Erikson, Der vollständige Lebenszyklus, Frankfurt am Main 1992.

Basic trust develops through love (in religious terms: God). Almost all famous psychotherapists, including S. Freud, Eugen and Manfred Bleuler, G. Benedetti, A. Gruen, and others, consider love (toward the patient), or the unprejudiced acceptance of the person by others, to be the essential therapeutic attitude, or the lack of such love in childhood to be the determining pathogenic deficit of the patient, and every good psychotherapist accepts the dignity and freedom of his patient without reservation – that is, in spite of every failure and flaw of the affected person.
It is all the more astonishing that in the scientific literature known to me there is hardly any discussion of the various psychotherapeutic and sociological schools with their underlying ideologies or religions and whether, on the contrary, they do not postulate preconditions on the fulfillment of which such unconditional love, such primordial trust depends and the non-fulfillment of which causes a pathogenic deficit similar to that in childhood. As long as only pure science is practiced and only what can be proven is valid, such a discussion cannot take place because such basic premises as love, basic trust, and God cannot be proven. They are then considered irrelevant, even though they are obviously not so in practice.
But it is also important to critically question what is called “Christian”.

“Christian” One-Sidednesses and Misinterpretations

Perhaps the greatest danger to Christianity is a false church.

In note form, I will present my opinions about some of these points: 120In so doing, I will abstain from voicing some surely much needed criticisms of churches and their practices, for reasons of space. Nevertheless, I believe that churches are currently playing a relatively positive role.

  • Like all human beings, Christians sometimes prefer to deny bitter truths or to absolutize or distort a particular issue. The underlying motives can range from fear to arrogance and are very human. The church itself has always had a tendency to absolutize excess, morality, and even itself. Protestants overemphasize achievement, evangelicals overemphasize a literal understanding of the Bible and conversion, and in general Christians tend to devote themselves entirely to the service of others and disregard self-love. Self-denial is preached instead of self-love. After decades in the church, I have heard only one sermon on the importance of self-love, but several hundred on how we should do more for our fellow man. The ideal Christian – so the message seems to go – must be pious, hardworking, altruistic, moral, virtuous, and somewhat asexual; and he must not be aggressive or angry, no matter what the issue. Fortunately, as far as I can tell, the list of requirements has been reduced; perhaps because people have left the church and feel that the message being preached is burdensome and no longer liberating.
  • This false attitude is common among Christians: Many sins can be forgiven, except those committed intentionally. In other words, evil acts committed unknowingly can be forgiven, but not those committed with full consciousness.
  • Some believe that every wicked person will go to hell because the church has sometimes taught this doctrine. However, Jesus died for sinners, and the first person He promised to go to heaven was not a good person, but a criminal – the very one hanging on the cross next to Jesus. (A similar message can be found in the parable of the prodigal son.)
  • Church is either identified with God¹ or confused with religion.
  • Christianity is identified with humanism and pacifism. While Christianity is humanistic and pacifistic, it does not make these values absolute. Therefore, even the “evil” and aggressive parts of humanity can be incorporated into a person.
  • Misunderstandings arise when terms such as “humility,” “selflessness,” “renunciation of self” are used (see also the section on the Self).
  • Discipleship is seen as obligatory.
  • Faith in God is made absolute. (Even by Luther?) Or faith in God becomes a performance. I believe that the basic will to do good is already what is absolute from the human point of view. (See also: `The absolute attitude´,`Absolute and relative will´)
  • The attempt to prove God, since His credibility alone does not seem sufficient.
  • The belief that if we only believe and pray enough, all good hopes will be fulfilled (health, peace instead of war, etc.), claiming that: “A person who is ill does not have enough faith.”
  • The opinion: “God died for us” or “God sacrificed His Son for us so that we might live. These are concepts that are easily misunderstood because God did not commit suicide or kill Jesus. I believe both are still alive.
  • The belief that God controls everything.
  • Believing that Jesus can only be understood under certain conditions, for example, if you have the right kind of faith, or if you know the Old Testament, etc.
  • Overuse of the term “holy: Many Christians call things holy, such as: the Holy Land, a holy people, holy men and women, a holy father (the Pope), holy scriptures, etc. – But they are only made holy by God, they are not holy in themselves. I believe that only God is holy.
  • The view that the Bible (as well as the Koran) is to be taken literally (biblicism). Related to this is the following point:
  • All verses of the Bible are considered equally important: the Old and the New Testament, the Gospels and the Epistles, etc. I have little doubt that Paul would “rend his garments” if his statements were given the same value as those of Jesus. The order of credibility for me is: the Holy Spirit or love > the New Testament (statements about and by Jesus in the Gospels) > experience > reason > Paul and other epistles > the Old Testament. There is also no clear separation from other similarly toned and much more frequent passages in the Old Testament.

In prioritizing the criteria of importance, the reasons why I have placed Jesus’ utterances as recorded under the criterion of the Holy Spirit or love are as follows:
By no means were Jesus’ disciples always led by the Holy Spirit, but they did things that blatantly contradicted the instructions given in other verses (e.g., Peter treated Ananias and his wife Sapphira in such a hard-hearted way that they both died simply because they kept some of the money they were supposed to give to the church, Ac 5:1-11). It is cases like these that give us insight into why the disciples and their successors passed on some of the teachings of Jesus in a different spirit. Therefore, one should be somewhat skeptical of those Bible verses that do not seem to correspond to this spirit of love. However, the “spirit of love” is not always a comfortable one!

  • The church does not dare to correct some questionable Bible verses attributed to Jesus, even though they clearly contradict his messages found in other verses and have always been a bone of contention. In particular, there are four passages in Matthew (Mt 8:12; 18:8ff; 22:13; 25:41) and Luke (19:27) that appear to be threats rather than statements of love.
  • Scholars have been reluctant to remove or label as questionable some of Paul’s derogatory remarks about women, such as “women should be silent in the churches,” or verses that discuss the “works of the flesh,” of which we are told that those who practice such things will not enter the kingdom of heaven (Gal 5:19ff; Rom 1:28ff; Tit 1:10ff). These statements are not in the spirit of Jesus and have caused much harm. (KW: verbal inspiration, the inerrancy of the Bible).
  • Some people call themselves Christians and abuse the name of Christ. In the name of God, wars are waged, people are oppressed, and so on. Unfortunately, it is not often considered that the wolf in sheep’s clothing is a wolf and not a sheep, and that not everyone who calls himself a Christian is really a Christian. How often do we hear the argument that it was the “Christians” who were responsible for the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.? However, such “Christians” cannot claim to have acted on the authority of Jesus, who even urged his listeners to love their enemies; whereas in some religions the use of force against one’s enemies and against “unbelievers” is by no means excluded.
  • Some claim exclusivity, in the sense that the experience of God and the finding of truth can be found only in Christianity; or that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ. Others believe that all religions are of equal value (theological pluralism). Personally, I have found the greatest amount of love within Christianity (this roughly corresponds to the attitude of `inclusivist theology’).
Christian Fundamentalism, Religionism

Christian fundamentalists demand Christians have to be  Bible-believing and practicing, have to be born-again and converted.121According to a cartoon found at the Convention of the Evangelical Church: Kirchentag München.
They think you have to pray in a certain way, with a certain frequency, take the Bible literally, and follow other commandments that ultimately amount to self-redemption. “Only we are chosen and redeemed – the others are not,” they believe. This is where Christian fundamentalism resembles other fundamentalisms.

Criticism of Religion

In the following, the main focus will be a criticism on the Christian religion (for the main sources, please see footnote) 122; and Weinrich, Michael: Religion und Religionskritik; Göttingen, 2. edition 2012.

Brief remarks by myself are indicated by the use of italics and are placed in square brackets: [ ].

Well-Known Critics of Religion

Ludwig Feuerbach (1804 – 1872)
• God is a projection of the human spirit. Feuerbach urges us to remove the projection and to reappropriate the energy thus made available for the humanization of humanity.
 [Just as one cannot prove that love is not a projection, neither can one prove that the opposite is true.]
• Religion is consolation in the afterlife (escapism). [Comments, see below]. Development of the projection of God according to Feuerbach: the suffering of the individual → the desires of the individual (happiness, fulfillment) as well as the instinct of self-preservation and imagination → projection: God.
 __________________________________________________ ____________

Karl Marx (1818 – 1883)

• Referring to Feuerbach’s theories, religion is a creation of man, religion is at the same time an expression of man’s need and a protest against this need.
• Religion causes people to be passive and therefore to suffer misery = “opium for people”.
• This passivity serves the interests of the possessors and the powerful.  [But Jesus stirred up the people and found harsh words to use against the haves and the powerful.]
• Marx calls for a better distribution of property within society (communism), which would obviate the need for religion and it would automatically disappear.
  [This ideology has already failed.]
__________________________________________________ ____________

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 – 1900)

• The natural and historical sciences have made religion implausible.
• Christianity demands a “slave morality.”[But man is made in the image of God, and Jesus condemned the absolutizing of morality, the “law”.]
• The will of man was to replace God. [See the section concerning The absolute attitude´’.]
• The “death of God” is a long process of God dying out in the consciousness of mankind.
 [I do not believe this will happen.]
• Nietzsche believes that by overcoming religion man has the chance to become a “Beyond-Man” (“Übermensch”), with new creative abilities.
 [In my opinion, this is a utopian Belief in progress; it is also prone to misunderstanding and open to abuse → NS-ideology.
In part, this criticism of Nietzsche is valid: Where are the redeemed Christians?] 

__________________________________________________ __________

Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939):123In Original: S. Freud: Gesammelte Werke, Band 7, p  129­, 139; Band 14, p 323, ­380; Band 15, p  170­,197

• Religion is like a childhood neurosis: the relationship between the child and its parents is like the relationship between the individual and God.
 [I think the comparison is correct, but not in a pathological sense, because even as an adult I am sometimes like a child, and I like to hope that God will comfort me like a mother.]
• Man suffers from blows of fate over which he has no control. He personifies these as “God.” → Emotional relief. [To me, this appears to be reasonable.]
• Religion hinders an individual’s development into an adult because he or she can always blame the supernatural for everything that happens to him or her.
 [In my opinion, this only applies to misunderstood religiosity. The Christian religion accepts childlike aspects of us. We would be overwhelmed if we had to act like adults all the time.]
• He calls for the growing maturation of the individual’s personality so that he can take responsibility for his own life. [See also my critique of Individuation .]
Education in reality is necessary in order to judge the reality of the external world and to act accordingly. [See sections on `Realism’ and `Functionalism’ in the chapter on `Criticism of Materialism´.]


Dawkins et al.
• In his book “The God Delusion”, R. Dawkins suggests that many ills in the world are caused by religion. “Imagine … a world with no religion. Imagine no suicide bombers, no 9/11, no 7/7, no Crusades, no witch-hunts, no Gunpowder Plot, no Indian partition, no Israeli/Palestinian wars, no Serb/Croat/Muslim massacres, no persecution of Jews as ‘Christ killers‘, no Northern Ireland ‘troubles’ …“.124 See bibliographical references.
[1. There are undoubtedly religions that promote aggression and refuse to renounce violence. Dawkins should distinguish more clearly. 2. Not everyone who calls himself a Christian is a Christian. 3. Even a peace-loving religion can be misused].
• Even some of the statements contained in a new textbook on psychotherapy and psychosomatic medicine, published in 2008, are completely undifferentiated and theologically untenable, from which the following excerpt is taken: “In the tradition of the Christian and … Jewish religions, man has been inclined to do evil since his youth, since his expulsion from paradise. Following the pattern of original sin, he does evil even when he knows he can do good, as Paul indicates, and must expect God’s punishment for it. He or she can only confess that he or she is a sinner, try to do good, and hope that God will redeem him or her. Issues such as sin, expectation of punishment, fear of punishment, hope for forgiveness and salvation are deeply rooted in Western peoples and play a crucial role, especially in the case of mental disorders. Christianity also demands that we deny ourselves the satisfaction of our urges, and especially that we, as followers of Jesus, endure the actions of others instead of being aggressive; Christianity demands that we not take revenge on attackers, but rather love our enemies. Human virtues such as poverty, humility, and chastity comprehensively describe the renunciation of instincts.” 125G. Rudolf and P. Henningsen, taken from: Psychotherapeutische Medizin und Psychosomatik. Gerd Rudolf and Peter Henningsen 6th edition. Thieme Verlag 2008, p.76. What a misinterpretation! When God says we should not “sin”, it is not a threat but orientation. He also loves us when we are angry, aggressive, etc. Paul says, “Everything is allowed but not everything is beneficial” (1Cor 6:12). [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
• H. Schnädelbach even speaks of the “Curse of Christianity” and laments a devaluation of this life, a devaluation of the physical and its consequences including repressive sexual morals, celibacy and self-harm. 126Herbert Schnädelbach In: »Die Zeit«, No. 20, 11.5. 2000.

Concerning the Criticism on the Christian Religion

  1. Certainly the critics are right in pointing out “Christian” or ecclesial imbalances and misinterpretations, including those mentioned above, as well as others. (→ “Christian” one-sidednesses …)
  2. However, many critics mean a particular church doctrine and practice or Old Testament passages, but rarely discuss the person of Jesus himself. I suspect that most critics have not read the New Testament. 127Friedrich Nietzsche was probably an exception, who presented a rather contradictory and at times very positive image.
  3. Many people resent God or refuse to believe in Him because He allows so much suffering in the world (→ Theodicy). Yet
    a. As parents, we allow our children to inflict suffering on themselves, and this only goes to show the amount of suffering caused by mankind itself.
    b. As for the remaining types of suffering (environmental disasters, etc.), I believe that we are all meant by “Adam” and “Eve,” and that we too once decided to leave God’s paradise to do our own thing, which means that we now have to live in a less than perfect world (the so-called expulsion from paradise and its consequences). 128If one followed this interpretation, the term `expulsion´ would not be accurate. Rather, one would have to speak of leaving paradise.
    See also Plato’s idea that we must have been at home in a higher world before . (Quoted after Nietzsche and criticized by him).
    (See: God and Evil – a New Theodicy)
     c. God is omnipotent but not active everywhere. For the reasons mentioned above, he also lets other forces act. For similar reasons, not all of our prayers are fulfilled.
  4. Some accuse Christianity of being against the pleasures of the body and the senses (or such interpretations as are often presented by the Church).
    While such statements are often attributed to Jesus, I do not find them recorded in the Bible. On the contrary, Jesus’ first miracle was the changing of water into wine.
  5. Some accuse Christianity of neglecting earthly things and instead comforting people with thoughts of the afterlife. However, Jesus was very concerned with improving our earthly lives, and beyond that, he opened up valuable new perspectives.
  6. Because the church (and Paul) often fought against reason, some believe that Jesus did the same. But it was only the deification of reason that he opposed.
  7. I assume that God cannot be proved or disproved, but I find that most critics do not leave this question open, but rather express their own opinion in a fundamentalist manner, similar to religious fundamentalists. What is missing is the attitude that says, “This is my belief or experience, but I could be wrong. Rather, the beliefs of dissenting voices are discredited as “neurotic” (Freud), “delusional” (Dawkins), or “illusionary”, etc. Discussion is not sought, and the same can be said of fundamentalist religious circles.
  8. Misidentification: The ideas people have about God are not consistent with the person of Jesus. Like anything else, the name of God can be misused for a variety of reasons.
    In such discussions, however, it is rarely said that “this or that crime has been misused in the name of God. As said before, one should not call the wolf in sheep’s clothing a wolf, even if it is disguised as a sheep.
  9. Critics often fail to distinguish between Old and New Testament statements. For Christians, however, the New Testament statements are decisive. 129Thus, when compared with other religions, the most important scripture of Christianity is identified as being the “Bible”; not the “New Testament”.    
  10. Critics often fail to distinguish between the recorded sayings of Jesus and those attributed to Paul. However, Paul is only an interpreter and not Jesus himself. His statements are therefore subordinate to those of Jesus.
  11. The one-sided characterization of the individual as a sinner is often criticized, and is sometimes done by the church. However, the saying “we all make mistakes” is a platitude. Nevertheless, I appreciate it when someone tells me that all my mistakes are forgiven and that they do not affect my worth in any way. I tell my children the same thing.
  12. It is often criticized that Christians believe in original sin (similar to the law of karma). No such statements are known from Jesus. 130Amongst Paul’s writings in particular, it is Rom 5:12 that is prone to misunderstanding.   
  13. Some criticize Christianity for making people submissive and passive.
    But others make the opposite criticism: that a person is completely overwhelmed by the demands of Jesus (the Sermon on the Mount, love of the enemy, etc.).
  14. Some criticize – rightly, in my opinion – the belief that the New Testament, or even the Bible as a whole, is the (direct) word of God. Muslims also believe this to be true of the Koran, but Christians do not believe this to be true of the Bible. I believe that the Bible bears witness to God, but also contains statements of a very human mind.
  15. Some criticize, rightly in my opinion, the misinterpretation that the death of Jesus was a necessary sacrifice to reconcile God to humanity – as if God had to be appeased by the death of a human being. I believe that Jesus voluntarily sacrificed his earthly life, but not his heavenly life, just as I would hopefully sacrifice something I value for people I love, without giving myself up completely.
  16. Many people confuse the Christian message with the church. The church has made many mistakes and is not identical to the Christian message. There was nothing that Jesus criticized more harshly than the established church of his day-and perhaps the church of today? With good reason one can ask the same question as R. Reich: Did Christianity survive “not only because of the church, but in spite of it”?131Reich, Ruedi. In: Zur Ökumene verpflichtet´. Ed. by Eva-Maria Faber, Schriftenreihe der Theologischen Hochschule Chur, Vol. 3, Academic Press Fribourg, p. 41, 2003.
  17. Many believe that a Christian must be extremely spiritual and go to church every Sunday. However, the freedom to be yourself, whoever you are – which for me includes attitudes and actions that are contrary to the commandments – is above the commandments.
  18. Many believe that as a Christian you must love your neighbor and sacrifice yourself.
    But it says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.
  19. A question for the critics: If you were God, what would you do differently?
    Here is a general answer: I would not tolerate suffering (which would mean maintaining paradisiacal conditions at all costs). But what if we did not want to live in the paradise that you, the hypothetical God, created – even if it were the best of all possible worlds? In such a case, would it not be good to give us the freedom to choose, even if that choice involves hardship and suffering?

Criteria of suboptimal Worldviews


A worldview seems to be suboptimal (or even bad) if the following criteria can be detected:

    • it is purely anthropocentric, theocentric or atheistic;
    • it harms or sidelines people;
    • it only considers people of the same worldview to be good, and all others to be evil;
    • it represents any form of ideology;
    • it absolutizes parts of earthly life, or even earthly life as a whole, and neglects to point beyond the earthly sphere,
    • it imposes strange Absolutes upon people, thus depriving them of their freedom;
    • it baits with a reward for obedient behavior – or it taboos relative Negative and threatens with it;
    • it does not correspond with the spirit of love; and
    • it places objects above people and healing above salvation and redemption.

Comprehensive: A worldview seems less than optimal when it is based on something other than the +A or when it denies or relativizes it. In such cases, the individual has either no Absolute or a strange positive Absolute that gives them either insufficient love or none at all, and can sometimes seem like a “stressful self-redemption strategy. A suboptimal worldview has the same characteristics as the second-rate realities listed in columns I and K of the Summary table .


Compulsions in Worldviews
Many worldviews have preconditions that must be met before a person is allowed to be themselves. In such cases, they do not speak of unconditional love for people, but rather of one (or more) imperative(s). 132 1. Similar to the meaning commonly attributed to the word, the term compulsion mentioned above describes categorical imperatives without any alternative.
2. Ultimately, all the worldviews that I know of, except for the Christian one, impose categorical demands upon people.

More specifically, these are worldviews or concepts that contain presuppositions that make them incompatible or even contradictory to the idea of unconditional acceptance and love for people. As a result, they provide a suboptimal or even harmful basis for life and for psychotherapeutic interventions based on them. In particular, this includes all ideologies or ideologically based attitudes, as well as some religions. 133See Summary table column E.

As I said, I do not consider them bad or even evil in themselves, but rather less helpful or even relatively disadvantageous. In this way, a hierarchy that is beneficial to us as human beings is distorted by Inversions:
We are no longer free, but we have to do something to become free. We become `must’ people. We must do something or the great emptiness threatens us. On this subject, Georg Büchner wrote: “The `Must´ is one of the cursed words with which humanity has been baptized.” 134It was in a letter to his fiancée, Wilhelmine Jaeglé, in January 1834, that Georg Büchner wrote this. This means that even the best things in life, such as love, become dubious or even bad when forced. From a Christian perspective, one might add to Büchner’s statement: “One of the redemptive words with which we were baptized is: ‘You do not have to do anything – God will always love you’, ‘You may try the good, but you do not have to do it’.

The Self-Definition of the Person is Disturbed
Materialism defines a person in terms of matter. Idealism defines a person in terms of ideals to be achieved. In humanism, a person’s core identity must necessarily be human. Most religions also have fixed and restrictive definitions of what is necessary to be human: In Islam, a right person is defined as a person who submits to Allah.,135“The Arab term: Islām … means `submission (to God)´, `complete surrender (to God)´.”, 12/ 2016.
In Christianity, God devotes himself (without surrendering) to us, and a person is “defined” as having been made in the image of God – an identity which he does not lose, even when he identifies with the “sinner” that he usually is. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
(among other things); and in Buddhism, the Self as absolute personal identity dissolves into nirvana. Other possible disadvantages correspond to the disorders listed in column I of the Summary table

Concepts of Self-Redemption 136See, for example, relevant concepts and programs for self-optimization, self-staging, etc.

By `self-redemption’ I mean salvation that depends exclusively on the human being – thus demands more than a basic goodwill (→ The absolute attitude´) from him.
Many ideologies and worldviews link the main Solutions (absolute sphere) only to the person.

Man thus becomes the sole redeemer of himself and his problems. Man has ultimate responsibility beyond the Absolute.
Man asks too much of himself, but has the delusional feeling that if he tries hard enough, he will be able to control everything: Depending on the method, we only need to analyze enough, think positive enough, meditate and believe enough, etc., to gain health and happiness. Although a person may hope to be able to control all this one day, he is basically asking too much of himself. No childlike or playful aspects remain; effort, competition, and struggle dominate his life, interrupted only by occasional high points.
A person’s last metaphysical support is then within himself. In my opinion, it would be best – and easiest – to leave the main responsibility to God; our responsibility, which is nevertheless important (!), comes only after that. 137Notwithstanding, the responsibilities connected with the so-called absolute choice do not conform to this pattern.
However, all psychotherapies that operate without a higher, loving authority (God¹) must necessarily make ego-strength (one’s own or another’s) the focus of their efforts. This is acceptable up to a point. But what happens when this ego-strength is not sufficient to deal with our problems, which is often the case in existential and traumatic situations? In a general sense, the person has too much responsibility for the relative who has been absolutized. In relation to other relatives, the person sometimes has too little responsibility and at the same time does not have access to +A, which would facilitate the assumption of an appropriate level of responsibility without asking too much of the person in question.

• A person who achieves that which is demanded of him will have many “advantages”, primarily in the short term. Thus, as he compares himself to others, he may feel chosen, uplifted, particularly secure etc. (= “+hyper-effects”). 138Individual, potential advantages are expressed in particular in the so-called hyper-forms and can be found in the Summary table in column N under . In the long term however, the disadvantages of the sA will dominate.
• The advantages of the different worldviews correspond to the (apparent) disadvantages of a first-rate reality, or even of +A..
• It is interesting to note that almost all ideologies point to the benefits rather than reminding us of the negative “finality” (impermanence and death); however, it is the religions that point to these aspects..

Optimal Worldview

        “It is entirely conceivable that life’s splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness but veiled
         from our view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though …
         if you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come.” Franz Kafka 139The Diaries of Franz Kafka, 1921)

Revision of the Inversions

When I have described, in part `Metapsychiatry´, Inversions as being one of the main causes of mental illnesses, and understood these to be the confusion of the Absolute and Relative, then an optimal worldview would need to revise these inversions by establishing an actual positive Absolute (+A), which regards all that is Relative as relative and integrates it – and which, however, will not dominate P and can be freely chosen.

Is God the Positive Absolute?

                                       `God, that is the great, the crazy one, who still loves people.´
                                                    (Adapted from Kurt Marti.) 140In original , Kurt Marti writes: “God, that is the great, the crazy one, who still believes in people.” (Gott, das ist jener Große, Verrückte, der immer noch an Menschen glaubt.”

In the “Metapsychology” section, I discussed the relationship between the Absolute and the Relative (A and R). One hypothesis was that the Absolute determines the Relative. Depending on the Absolute in question, it will either be better or worse. This also means that people will be either better or worse off depending on the spirit that determines the earthly; and they will be best off if that spirit fulfills the criteria of a positive Absolute, as I discussed in the section on `What is the positive Absolute´.
In my opinion, God¹ is the only one who meets all the criteria I apply to the +A. For me, Jesus is the most credible representative of God¹ and unconditional love.
(This is my personal view of the positive Absolute, of God¹, which does not necessarily agree with some other Christian conceptions. →`Christian one-sidednesses and misinterpretations´). This love is revealed primarily in freedom and orientation; freedom is placed above orientation. In other words, freedom and orientation are two offspring of love, with freedom being the larger child and orientation the smaller one. From a religious point of view, God, who is Love Himself, will also allow us the freedom to reject His orientation, even to reject Himself, because love without freedom, without the freedom to choose, is not love. Therefore, in the light of the French proverb L’amour est l’enfant de la liberté, I believe that freedom is a child of love, and not the other way around, as the proverb says.

God and the Individual; The Paradise and the World

As mentioned above, I see God¹ as being absolutely positive. It is only the absolutely negative (−A) that is entirely contrary to him. That which is earthly, our world, and therefore also ourselves, are situated between +A and −A. The individual has, as frequently mentioned, an `optional Absolute´, the  `The absolute attitude´ but is, in all other respects, in a relative or second-rate position. What does this mean?
Originally, in Paradise, God and we were in harmony. We were His creation, just as we are now; but then we were more authentic and not quite so alienated and mortal as we are now. We were a part of what belonged to God, we were one with Him – and yet we were still absolutely free to oppose Him or to vote Him out. Having done so, in the symbolic figures of Adam and Eve, and having chosen to be our own gods, we left the original first-rate reality and entered the present, a second-rate reality: the “world. This means that we humans, who were originally directly connected to God and thus lived in “paradise,” now live in a world in which we are controlled by strange absolutes of our own choosing. As a result, we will take a predominantly second-class position in the world, even though we have retained absolute freedom of choice, just as before. Fortunately, this does not mean that we have lost our connection with God, but that we have entered into a second-class situation in all other spheres, with their respective characteristics, as has the rest of the world, and that all of this needs redemption. For characteristics of that which is second-rate, see also columns L and M of the Summary table . God does not exclude our world nor ourselves. The only thing that God excludes is the −A.
It is only we who have excluded God, either partially or completely. So is God still present in the world and in us? I believe so, but we suppress Him through our sA. But we do not love the world and ourselves for our own sake! God, on the other hand, loves us for our own sake, and Jesus makes possible the return (`revision’) of primary reality. Sören Kierkegaard seems to have had a similar view when he says that the kind of despair that is not wanting to be oneself, which is a “sickness unto death,” can be overcome by becoming oneself in true faith. Großer Brockhaus, KW `Existen-Philosophie’. Unlike Kierkegaard, however, I do not identify the problem of not wanting to be oneself as the ultimate sickness unto death, but would rather define it as the absolutely negative attitude of a person, as mentioned above; that is, his will to accept the −A as a matter of principle.

No Fear of False Gods and Devils

                                             “Sin boldly but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.” (M. Luther)141Note: Luther’s statement is addressed to those who are too conscientious and too afraid to sin. His words are not meant for those who neither believe in God nor know responsibility.]
We should have no fear of false gods and devil

We should not be afraid of false gods and devils because, as mentioned, there is only one absolute negative: the unconditional -A, and it is up to us to accept it or not. All other negativity is ultimately resolved by God. One can only believe this without being able to prove it, and yet one can experience it. From this perspective, there are no mortal sins, no emotional trauma, no serious illness, no misfortune, no rape, and no death that is final, unforgivable, or irreparable.
Does metapsychotherapy mean that we must avoid the sA because it is too dangerous and might make us sick? Almost the opposite is true: We should not take it too seriously, because if we take it too seriously, it becomes a dominant factor. You might say then that it is of the utmost importance to relativize sA. But even relativizing misconceptions is not the most important thing. On an individual level, the Solution is already accomplished when one adopts an attitude which seeks out that which is good, as a matter of principle. (→ `The absolute attitude´). It would then be wise, but not obligatory, to repeatedly remind oneself of God’s absolute assurances. The sA would then assume their true position: a position in which they are relativized (automatically by God) and no longer carry the importance they were given. We would no longer have to draw from our depleted reserves to achieve this or that at any cost. Rather, we would be less stressed, more relaxed and less anxious; and from this position, we would be more likely to solve the unresolved, relative problems, leaving others unresolved, without being plunged into a crisis. Christians also often forget this “meta-solution”. Then they think: “I must pray more!” or “I must think of others more!” or “I must be more grateful!” or “I must have more faith in God!” or “I must improve myself!” or other imperatives. These opinions are sometimes good, but when taken absolutely, they can have the opposite effect – and end up dominating us and even making us sick.

Resistance to “Revision”
  • Resistance can come in the form of fear of freedom of choice:
    What often prevents resolution is fear of a decision and its consequences. According to Kierkegaard, freedom makes people afraid. Freedom is both man’s greatest gift and his greatest burden. Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor wanted to take away this fear and eliminate freedom. He wanted to eliminate the burden of personal responsibility, the agony of choice. 142See also: Eugen Drewermann, `Sünde und Neurose´.
  • As our power is relativized, admitting one’s limitations, weaknesses, and powerlessness creates fear and resistance.
  • There is resistance in the fact that people are often afraid to rely on something that is invisible, even if it seems credible.
  • Because change and therapy can hurt, resistance can develop. The birth of the self causes pain, but like all births, it is a necessary part of the process.
  • There is also resistance in the form of misunderstanding, abuse, and misinterpretation (as listed above).
  • Although the reversals provide short-term benefits, it would be good to give them up, but this creates resistance.
Who is a Christian?

                                 `Love your neighbor and love yourself´ or `Love your neighbor and hate yourself´?

It is common to think of a Christian as someone who is always good and virtuous, who is rather asexual, who does not like to drink alcohol, and who submits to the Pope and the Bible; someone who is self-sacrificing and who must constantly work off and make up for not only his own sins but also for “original sin”; someone who must suffer and who, if he is completely consistent, will be beaten to death at the end of his life and allowed to enter heaven in return for his efforts.“People who believe in Jesus are not better than others. But they are in a better position. They do not have to justify themselves; they are already justified by the love of Jesus. They do not have to prove themselves, they are already proven: … they do not have to make themselves bigger than they are. They are already the greatest thing a person can be, they are children and heirs of the living God. They do not have to feel sorry for themselves, they have someone who suffers with them. They do not need to comfort each other, they do not need to encourage each other, they have someone to build them up. They do not have to be the one to explain, redeem or love their lives. They now have the best savior and lover of life. … They are not perfect, but they are perfectly loved!”(Axel Kühner) 143Axel Kühner taken from Neukirchener Kalender, 18.5.2010.

Christians are people who act on the authority of Jesus Christ. They can experience freedom and what it means to be truly loved. Nothing can separate them from God’s unconditional love, whether they are alcoholics, thieves, prostitutes, tax collectors, or losers. They can be aggressive, wicked, and selfish, but for their own sake they are told to take care of themselves and others, because even though everything is allowed, not everything is beneficial.
Questions: Should we not strive for heaven first, rather than for the next “good deed”?
If I save myself, will I not have too much stress? Does not the loving relationship between God and ourselves bear a great resemblance to the relationship between parents and their children? Are children not loved first for who they are and then for their morality?144Neither: ‘Food comes first and then morality´ (B. Brecht).


Keywords: Psychotherapy Metapsychotherapy Psychology Psychiatry Schizophrenia Philosophy Linguistics Religion

Abstract and Introduction

“Be convinced that these strange characters have no power over you;
only the believe of them being hostile towards you can make them hostile towards you.”
              E.T.A Hoffmann: Der Sandmann.

In this part `PSYCHOTHERAPY’, I examine the most well-known psychotherapeutic schools of thought. In chapter `Primary Psychotherapy´, I present a theory that is free of ideology and which I believe to be the best against mental disorders.
Due to the nature of this work, in this chapter I will only comment on specific psychotherapeutic topics that overlap with “metapsychotherapeutic” topics. In terms of concrete therapeutic references, please see section “Remarks for Patients“, in this section and also respective matters in the section “Psychiatry”.
I advocate a “primary” form of psychotherapy whose goal is to strengthen and relieve the patient’s self. I focus especially on patients who do not have enough self-strength to solve their own problems.

Definitions of Psychotherapy

Usual Definition:

         • “Psychotherapy is the use of psychological methods, particularly when based on regular personal interaction, to help a person change and overcome problems in desired ways. Psychotherapy aims to improve an individual’s well-being and mental health, to resolve or mitigate troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions, and to improve relationships and social skills. Certain psychotherapies are considered evidence-based for treating some diagnosed mental disorders.” 145 12/2016 
• I use the term “psychotherapy” in a broad sense, as it was originally intended: psychḗ = “soul” and therapeúein = “to care for”. Therefore, I associate psychotherapy with anything that is beneficial to our soul – whether it is scientifically validated or not. I find this older understanding of psychotherapy to be appropriate and comprehensive. However, the increasing influence of science has forced psychiatry and psychology to become more and more one-sided. Why has this happened?
The restriction of psychotherapy to the use of “scientifically approved methods” contradicts the nature of the psyche itself, which can only partially be studied scientifically, and therefore can only partially be treated with scientific methods. For this reason, psychotherapy should also deal with existential problems and questions that cannot be proven. As already mentioned, the disadvantageous separation between “scientific” psychotherapy on the one hand and the pastoral care practiced by the Church on the other hand creates a situation that favors the rise of the esoteric and leaves many patients without help.

Difficulties in Psychotherapy

What should the optimal therapy look like? Simple, trustworthy, free and lasting – like love and the salvation it offers. But as simple as it may seem, there are three difficulties I would like to point out:
         1. “Persistence of the strange Absolutes” (sA) and
         2. “Resistance”.
   3. The related problem of ”Morbid gain” I discussed  in chapter `Metapsychiatry´.

Persistence of the Strange Absolutes (sA)

                                                              The spirits that I’ve conjured, I could not banish them again.
                                                                      (Goethe, `The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’)

The “redemption” mentioned is a spiritual one and is actually very simple. However, the schizophrenic disorders with their underlying It/sA complexes have materialized. The behaviors the patient has been accustomed to for months and years have become automatic. They have taken on a life and momentum of their own, which in most cases is lost only very gradually. The situation in which we find people with such complexes is comparable to that of a prisoner who has left his cell after several years but is still bound by old forces and habits.146This mechanism can be understood both individually and collectively. There are also examples in classical literature. For example, Tolstoy’s serfs who, after their emancipation, returned to servitude because it was the way of life they were familiar with. A spiritual “revision” (better: the choice of +A/ God) deprives the sA/ It complexes of their power only in principle, but not completely. As said, it does not happen immediately, because its materialization, like the withdrawal from drugs, sometimes takes months or years until it has lost its decisive influence. However, it remains as a relative force, and that is not all bad. 147It is not difficult to choose the +A (God), but it is a challenge to escape the effects of the complexes. Comparison: An ice block does not immediately disappear when the water gets warm – not even in our soul. (See also the section above). [Note: I sometimes write God¹ to indicate my own ideas about God, which do not necessarily agree with the definitions of official theology.]


                                                     “I´m afraid I might die if I dare to be who I really am.” (A patient)

View of the Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis has done much to shed light on this phenomenon. 148The following information is taken from U.H. Peters and W. Loch, page 164 ff. (see bibliography).
• According to S. Freud, “resistance” is defined as “an aversion to the revelation of repressed information from the unconscious and, consequently, to the patient’s recovery and healing.
• Another definition is that resistance is “the patient’s unconscious opposition to improving his or her situation, caused by the secondary benefits of the illness and by the anxiety and fear of an unconsciously perceived threat.”149Quoted (and freely translated) from the Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, keyword `Widerstand´.

Own Definition

As I understand it, mainly from a metatherapeutic point of view, resistance is a phenomenon that is not unique to psychoanalysis. I am concerned not only with the resistance of the sick person to his recovery or to therapy, but in a broader sense with the resistance of us human beings to the meaningful (+A/ God¹, as I understand it) in general. The latter resistance includes the former.
Regarding resistance in the narrower sense, I see much agreement with psychoanalysis, but I relate the emergence of this resistance to the role of sA (and A). Resistance can come from the patient as well as from the therapist! 150This understanding is up to date. For example, see Wöller, Wolfgang; Kruse, Johannes: Tiefenspychologisch fundierte Psychotherapie. Key word `Widerstand´.
Resistance may arise wherever strange Absolutes (sA) or strange Selves (sS) are to be relativized. 151As described above, sA represents general and sS (strange-Self) internalized, strange Absolute. Since it is irrelevant for this topic whether the problem is considered to be a general or a personal one, I shall at times refer to them as sA, or as sS. Resistance can arise – in my understanding – wherever strange absolutes (sA) or strange selves (sS) are to be relativized.  More precisely: Resistance can arise wherever one feels threatened by a possible loss of the advantages of the +sA/sS or has to accept a -sA/sS.
This is important for a better understanding of resistance.
If one tries to relativize sA and sS, it wouldn’t be difficult – but for the reasons given earlier, we consider one or the other sS/sA to be of vital importance. This means that this resistance should not only be understood as the threat of a possible loss of the positive aspects of an object, but rather one must take into account the fact that this object has been absolutized. Even if the object is negative, it may seem impossible for the person to relativize it. In both cases, the absolutized (sA/sS) has an important function for the person. In other words: Paradoxically, because the person’s strange selves or strange absolutes have become more important to him than his true Self (Absolute), he will resist their relativization and the strengthening of his true Self. Therefore, the patient will fight that which would restore his health and will promote that which makes him ill. The patient must relativize what he mistakenly believes to be his life (“let go” = withdrawal) and accept what he believes to be death. But both are difficult. The person (P) must continue to resist as long as he is unable to reconcile his sense of loss with an actual Self.

The following image elucidates the locations of the resistance.

The person in question (P) must continue to resist as long as he is unable to reconcile his sense of loss with an actual Self. In other words: The person will resist the therapy (and the resulting changes) as long as he has not found a better Absolute than the previous one. 152There is a saying : “Even a dog will bite you if you take his bone and do not offer a piece of meat in its stead.”
When the pressure to give up resistance becomes too great, the patient may resort to a contra-sA or another sA. As the external or internal pressure to surrender increases, the patient will feel increasingly cornered. He will use more and more costly defense mechanisms (see loc. cit.) to maintain his sA. Nevertheless, both resistance and costly defenses are important/reasonable temporary solutions as long as there is no effective solution. Therefore, they should be accepted by the therapist and the patient. At the same time, the therapist must point out solutions that are deeper and more effective.
In the section ‘Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia’, I´ll come back to this topic.

Resistance against what?


 1. Resistance is directed against the perceived loss of advantages offered by the sA/sS. Resistance is directed against the perceived loss of equilibrium, however unstable. Resistance is directed against the perceived loss of a substitute-self that is considered vital, including substitute-identity, substitute-security, substitute-integrity, substitute-reality, substitute-autonomy, etc. In summary, resistance is directed against the perceived loss of all +* aspects (and thus also against the + sides of the counterparts of -sA and 0). 
    2. Resistance is against `disadvantages´ of the +A or Self! 153One and two are very close to each other. = Resistance against love, God, the Self, correct therapy, truth, etc. If I’m well, I may get less attention, I may feel guilty, I may become more responsible, the “height of free fall” may become too great, etc. The patient gets withdrawal, catharsis, pain, and responsibility instead of drugs or a high. There are parallels between resistance to God or the Self and resistance to therapy. Jörg Müller: “Many people are looking for God, but many are afraid to find him.” Or a prayer: “God, take away my illnesses, but don’t touch their causes.”
    3. Resistance against the relativization of a ‒sA.
Resistance also occurs when a -sA, an absolutely negative experience that one has avoided at all costs, is to be considered only relatively negative and therefore acceptable. 154Resistance also against – of +sA? Yes but its not called resistance because its a healthy fear. (If you want more details look at the unabridged German version.)
With a view to the fact that there are different realities, the following statement seems consequential: Attempting to shift from a second-rate reality to a first-rate reality, a person (P) needs often to go through a zero point (a point of powerlessness and uncertainty) which will frighten him.

Resistance and Defense

Defense is directed against what is experienced as negative. Resistance is directed against that which is subjectively negative but objectively positive. So one could define resistance as a special defense mechanism (DM) – that is, resistance as a defense against what is experienced as negative, even though it is actually positive. But this would lead to misunderstandings.
Using debt as an example, the defense would be a repression of the fact that one is in debt. The resistance would be to saving money. 155E.g., see the appropriate section of Wöller, Wolfgang und Johannes Kruse: Tiefenpsychologisch fundierte Psychotherapie. Schattauer, Stuttgart, 2005.

Desire and Resistance

    The double-character of `Inversions´ creates ambivalent tendencies in us, as we resist things that are objectively better for us and desire things that are objectively worse for us. Fortunately, however, the original “healthy” aspirations and desires don’t perish.
At certain stages, conflicting tendencies are in a costly equilibrium:
We want the objective positive and at the same time the objective negative. Or we want and fear the good and the bad at the same time. We want to regain our health and yet we do not. We want to be free and yet remain prisoners. We become afraid when we try to change a costly balance. We lack the courage to “die and become. But we should not be afraid. We are afraid of dying, but we will only die a lesser death and then come into our real life.
Desire and resistance can coincide whenever we fail to love ourselves for our own sake. Why is that? Because desire and resistance can coincide whenever we fail to love ourselves for our own sake. Why is this? Because we love ourselves primarily for the sake of our accomplishments. When we fulfill our expectations and achieve our goals, we feel exuberant and have a strong desire to experience more success. At the same time, however, the fulfillment of our new expectations becomes quite exhausting, causing us to resist the challenge of achieving our goals. In this way, we oscillate between wanting to be loved for ourselves or for our accomplishments, and resisting one or the other. So we may oscillate between various inner conflicts, or find that something is great and at the same time it threatens to tear us apart. But this problem cannot be solved from a second-rate perspective. P would have to adopt the first-rate perspective to find a solution, but then the patient would have to give up the benefits of a P² position.

Difficulties and Resistance on the Side of the Therapists

          “What is the difference between a neurotic, a psychotic, and a psychiatrist: The neurotic builds castles in the sky,
            the psychotic lives in them and the  psychiatrist collects the rent.” (Anonymous)  
           Question: Could it be, that some psychiatrists do not want to give up this `rent´?

As mentioned earlier, difficult situations and resistance to optimal therapy may be caused by both therapists and patients. One hypothesis is: The therapist, like the patient, is essentially determined by his or her worldview.
It is important to note the difficult competitive situation in which psychotherapy finds itself due to current esoteric trends as well as the success of psychotropic drugs, which I will discuss later. In addition, the therapist will generally feel obliged to follow a particular psychotherapeutic school of thought, which may cause difficulties in the course of therapy.156[Keyword: Disturbed Countertransference]
Balthasar Staehelin, using Freud as an example: “This … compulsion of Freud to be only a servant of such a scientific one-sidedness and exclusiveness drove him to what was probably his greatest mistake: he could no longer listen to the patient in an unbiased way, and from what he heard he heard only what he himself brought to the patient as his philosophical conviction about the nature of man” 157[Staehelin, Balthasar: Haben und Sein. Siebenstern TB, Hamburg, 1972, p 22.]
Current psychotherapeutic schools of thought are heavily influenced by rationalism and empiricism, which has corresponding advantages and disadvantages. 158While people used to have to be moral – especially and under the influence of misunderstood religiosity – we must now above all be rational and adult. For us therapists it is often common to absolutize quick fixes, our role as helpers, health and functionality – and for some of us male therapists it is too important that our female counterpart is pretty, intelligent, young and privately insured.
Regarding the situation of `psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry today’ with the prevailing fears and resistance to change, please see the relevant chapter below.
In the following, I will briefly outline current schools of psychotherapy and illustrate their potential advantages and disadvantages.

Psychotherapeutic Schools of Thought (Critical Overview)

The most important schools of psychotherapy (PT) are only briefly discussed here, just to show basic similarities or differences to my concept.

For me, this is primarily a theoretical debate, since in practice many therapists will ignore the norms and restrictions of conventional medicine and follow the promptings of their hearts.


Anthropocentric Foundation

Anthropocentric Secular




depth psychology
Psychoanalysis (PsyA)
Analytical psychology
Psychoanalytic self-psychology
Attachment theory
Structural psychology
Intersubjective psychoanalysis
Katathym-imaginative Psychotherapy
or Guided imagery
Transactional Analysis
Sigmund Freud
Alfred Adler
C. G. Jung
Heinz Kohut
Melanie Klein, S. Ferenczi, M. Balint
John Bowlby, Mary Ainsworth
Jaques Lacan
R. D. Stolorow and others
M. Solms, M. Mancia et al. 
L. Binswanger, M. Boss
Milton Erickson
Hanscarl Leuner et al.

Eric Berne
behavior therapyBehaviorism
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Thorndike, Watson, Skinner et al.
A. Ellis, Beck, Kanfer, Lazarus et al.
systemicSystemic TherapySatir, Haley, Jackson and others
humanisticRational emotive behavior therapy
Logotherapy and Existential Analysis
Person-centered therapy (PCT)
Integrative and Embodiment Psychotherapy
A. Ellis
Viktor Frankl
F.S. Perls, P. Goodman
Carl R. Rogers
Jakob L. Moreno
See corresponding text.

Anthropocentric spiritual
humanistic spiritualAnalytic psychotherapy
C.G. Jung, Viktor Frankl
S. Grof, F. Vaughan, A. Maslow,
R. Walsh, R.D. Laing, Ch. Tart,
R. Assagioli, K. Wilber

  Christocentric foundation
Pastoral care
Wilfried Daim
Eugen Drewermann
Michael Dieterich
Pastoral Psychologist
Pastoral Psychologist

Anthropocentric, Secular Psychotherapies  

“You can’t, if you can’t feel it, if it never
Rises from the soul, and sways
The heart of every single hearer,
With deepest power, in simple ways.” Goethe, Faust

These are psychotherapeutic schools of thought that are generally based on an anthropocentric view of man and, in terms of philosophy, on materialism. In terms of their epistemological foundations, they are often rationalistic and empiricistic. Therefore, they could be called “secular psychotherapies” or, more precisely, “secularistic psychotherapies”.

Discussion and Hypotheses

See also superordinate Criticism of Anthropocentrism. and Criticism of Materialism

    • The deliberate self-limitation of psychology to accept only an anthropocentric, scientifically founded image of mankind necessarily restricts the potential of a respective therapy. According to Karl Jaspers, philosophy looks at the whole, whereas  science attends to the particular and the detail. 159From Schischkoff keyword: Jaspers. Thus, secular psychotherapies are in a sense unrealistic because they value only the part of reality that is verifiable. Everything else is of little or no importance. But there is another problem: Man cannot save himself, he can only solve problems within the limits of his resources. It seems to me that all earthly beings, including us humans, can only help, save, redeem and love one another in a rather limited way: in the end, we are all alone. This bitter truth is obscured by most ideologues. Who is it that gives people opium? Certainly not Christ, nor a type of Christianity that truly follows his teachings, but rather most ideologies, even those that propagate materialism, by spreading the illusory message that man, or progress itself, could someday solve humanity’s problems. In reality, what is presented is a stark, bleak, cold, and sterile view of the world in which man is reduced to mere matter and deprived of that which makes him human.
    • The one-sided pursuit of science makes the scientist blind to the meta-level, i.e., the scientist is unable to perceive possible solutions for which there is no evidence. These psychotherapies will not go beyond pure rationalism and objectivism.
    • In secular psychotherapies, patients with existential and spiritual problems feel less understood. 160In 2009, Marion Sonnenmoser investigated complaints about psychotherapists. The most common complaint (43%) was that the therapist did not show enough empathy so the patient could not develop confidence in him.  10/2009.
  • Anthropocentric psychotherapies believe that the solution to all psychological problems can be found within the human being (self-optimization and self-redemption). This means that secular psychotherapies ultimately rely on the ego-strength of the human being, which in my opinion is inferior to self-strength. This places excessive demands on both the therapist and the patient, as both have to meet certain requirements under all circumstances.
    • Secular psychotherapies rarely disclose the philosophical foundations on which they are based. 161Example: Klaus Lieb, Bernd Heßlinger, Gitta Jacob: Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. München-Jena. 2. Edition, 2006. In the otherwise excellent book, similar to the psychotherapy guides, there are no philosophical or metaphysical explanations.
    • The interplay of guidance (“law”) and love (grace) is not resolved. In other words: There is no absolutizing of love (in religious terms: God), which would provide an optimum of guidance but subordinate that guidance to love – an attitude we try to adopt in relationships with our children. But if the guidance given then becomes one-sided or a priority, it can overwhelm the patient. If, on the other hand, this guidance is avoided or denied as an emergency solution, the patient is left unchallenged.
    • Secular psychotherapies contain or create paradoxes whenever they try to use science to give the patient rationality against what is irrational and metaphysical, or whenever they try to use objectivity to treat what is mostly subjective in man – his psyche. Wherever such paradoxes arise, they will promote disease.   
• Secular psychotherapies fight too much against what is only relatively negative or for what is only relatively positive; on the other hand, they give up too quickly or repress existential questions.
• Secular psychotherapies tend to absolutize mental health and functionality. • Secular psychotherapies are based on a relative or secondary view of the human being, which is not an optimal basis for therapy. 162Characteristics of this human image can be read in column L in the Summary table.   
• Secular psychotherapies tend to avoid suffering and crisis. Too little attention is paid to the work of mourning.
• The unconscious is supposed to become conscious, unfavorable behavior is supposed to be replaced by favorable, etc., but a meta-level that could relativize the issues at hand is not offered. This is a disadvantage because, first, the unconscious should sometimes be preferable to the conscious, and unfavorable behavior should sometimes be preferable to favorable; and second, even if the conscious and favorable behavior is objectively the best, the person may be unable and overtaxed to achieve these goals.
• Since materialism negates the existence of free will, this will have a paralyzing effect on psychotherapies: In this way, the guilty quickly become the victims.
• Secular psychotherapies tend to standardize complex questions. Even a mundane question like: “What is the best way to get to the next town?” cannot be answered mechanically, let alone the questions of life. Concrete answers/solutions always depend on the individual person and the specific situation, despite all experience.
• Secular psychotherapies always run the risk of manipulating others. The patient becomes a case and the psychiatrist a technician.
• Secular psychotherapies themselves show similar defense mechanisms that they want to reduce for their patients: repression of existential questions, rationalization, regression to a claim of sole legitimate representation, projections, exclusion (cooperation only with other sciences), etc.

But I think it is wrong to dismiss secular and atheistic views out of hand. A kind of atheism guided by humanism is often better than a misunderstood belief in God. Moreover, most therapists have a great deal of empathy that can sometimes compensate for weaknesses in their theories. Nevertheless, secular psychotherapy, when rigorously applied, can be suboptimal at best, overtaxing (and rarely undertaxing) both patient and therapist. The existence of an absolute, positive spiritual power is denied. Thus, a basic trust that would point the patient to a being beyond himself is ignored, and the ultimate responsibility for his well-being is placed on the patient himself. This only works if the patient is strong enough to deal with the problems. But if the problems are greater than the available forces, the system will be in crisis. This applies to relevant intrapersonal as well as interpersonal, and thus therapeutic, situations.
While atheistic conceptions despiritualize the human image as well as the corresponding therapy and mechanize both, one can also find in these conceptions a misunderstood spirituality. While atheistic therapists tend to avoid questions that expose our helplessness, for example in the face of incurable illness or death, some spiritual therapies or beliefs give false hope to those affected.

Materialistic or Idealistic Psychotherapy?

The further differentiation of psychotherapies guided by anthropocentrism into materialistic or idealistic therapies is somewhat arbitrary, according to some psychotherapeutic schools of thought. However, the relevance of such an undertaking lies in the fact that psychotherapies with an idealistic basis are able to consider things that cannot be proven (ideas, spirit, etc.). While analytically oriented psychotherapies (psychoanalysis, depth psychology) and behavioral therapies start from a materialistic basis, the psychotherapies I have listed under the heading “spiritual-integrative” tend to be more idealistic and/or are partly related to religious positions.

Psychoanalysis and Depth Psychology

I will briefly discuss certain topics that are necessary for the understanding of this work.
[I will comment on some points in square brackets and explain other things in a separate section.]


Psychoanalysis holds that unresolved psychic conflicts can make you sick. The unresolved psychic conflict or the unprocessed trauma goes into the unconscious, changes itself and appears in another form (coded, symbolized) – for example as a dream or as a symptom. The symptom thus becomes a symbol of the unresolved/unprocessed unconscious conflict/trauma. In early psychoanalysis, it was recognized that the suppression of important drives (especially the sex drive) can lead to psychic disturbances, and conversely, the awareness and removal of this prohibition also removes its negative consequences. 163Georg Groddeck understood the symptoms above all as a symbolic expression of the life impulses (of the It, as he understood it) suppressed by morality. 
[According to my terminology, the latter corresponds to a relativization of a negative strange Absolute (-sA). I believe, however, that the decisive “therapeutic” means of psychoanalysis is not so much to discover unconscious complexes and make them conscious, but to attribute to every human being the worst – like killing one’s father or having sex with one’s mother – and to understand these desires as human and normal and to accept the patient as such. For even if it is not these desires, there are similar depths in each of us (or so the theory goes). In this Sigmund Freud is in complete agreement with Jesus, even if Freud did not intend it.]
 According to Th. Auchter and L. V. Strauss: Freud is primarily concerned with the goal of saving mental energy and maintaining mental balance. According to Freud, the balance between the pleasure principle and the reality principle is central. Psychoanalysis “sensitizes man to trace the meaning of his actions and his life through an ‘infinite analysis’ of continuous questioning and reflection. In this sense, psychoanalysis is a form of the incessant search for truth, as Freud put it. 164From: Thomas Auchter and Laura Viviana Strauss: “Kleines Wörterbuch der Psychoanalyse” Göttingen (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) 1999.
[“This never-ending search for truth”, this never-ending arrival at a goal, which corresponds to the Confucian and Buddhist motto: “The way is the goal”, seems to me – and probably also to most people who take it seriously – too exhausting and frustrating.]
 S. Freud saw, following his three-instances-model, these fundamental conflicts:
    a) Ego against the Id
    b) Super-Ego against the Id
    c) Ego against Super-Ego and Id. 165Freud called the I = Ego and after latin the It = Id.
According to Mentzos, all psychical conflicts are variations of the basic conflict between autonomy and dependency. 166Mentzos p. 120 and pp. 131ff.
I distinguish an absolute basic conflict between +A and ‒A and relative conflicts, especially between +A and the sA, the sA among each other and conflicts within each sA or It.]

Critics of Psychoanalysis

Selection of Literature

I will only mention the reviews, which I also acknowledge.

    • The “New Viennese School” sees the person as a physical, spiritual and mental unity. It accuses Freudian psychoanalysis of neglecting the spiritual dimension of the person, without which the person could not constitute a human whole. “The whole of the human soul is considered atomistically in psychoanalysis, being thought of as composed of individual parts, the various impulses, and these in turn of partial drives…. In this way, however, the soul, the human person, is somehow destroyed (in its entirety). Psychoanalysis virtually depersonalizes the human being, but not without personalizing … the individual parts (namely, to make them independent, self-sufficient, pseudo-personal entities)”. … Further: “Human nature is thus interpreted by psychoanalysis as driven from the outset.“ Next, Freud would have betrayed the ego to the id, so to speak, by making the ego a mere epiphenomenon of the id. Freud would claim: `The ego pulls itself out of the swamp of the id by the hair of the super-ego.´ 167Viktor Frankl: Der unbewusste Gott, quoted by Dieter Wyss , p. 276-278.
    • H. Wahl: Freud propagated a “reality-education“. Freud “would not go beyond the bravely resigned adherence to the reality principle …”. 168H. Wahl p. 290-291.
    • Ernst Bloch: The psychoanalysis is too backward looking.
    • “Good story but bad science” (Zimbardo). 169Shortened especially according to Zimbardo, p. 413 ff.
    • “Psychoanalysis is confession without absolution.” (G.K. Chesterton)
    • Otherwise see e.g., E. Wiesenhütter: “Freud and his Critics”. 171See bibliography.

Other Criticisms 172The other criticisms are also partly found in the literature.

See also the discussion about the Discussion about secular psychotherapies and  Criticism of materialism)
    • The psychoanalysis knows no transcendence, so also no +Absolute. Freud: “Whoever asks  after the sense of life is sick because the sense of life does not exist in the objective way. “173 S. Freud cit. from: Thomas Auchter and Laura Viviana Strauss:  „Kleines Wörterbuch der Psychoanalyse“ Göttingen (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht) 1999, p. 154.
    • Love is presented as libido. God does not exist, he is an illusion.
    • Psychoanalysis basically describes only the second-rate processes. I do not find what I call first-rate.
    • The further developments of Freudian psychoanalysis also represent anthropocentric concepts of self-solution, which, in my opinion, overtax people. People have to deal with their problems on their own. Especially with regard to severe mental disorders, such as psychoses, these therapeutic concepts seem to be too weak, because they build on the strength of the ego and less on the strength of the Self. S. Freud may therefore have had reason to be skeptical about psychotherapy of psychoses. (More on this elsewhere)..
    • Psychoanalysis characterizes the person based on pathology. The three main instances are ultimately instances of a strange or ill person. They are therefore defined accordingly. According to psychoanalysis, the Ego has the task of establishing the mental balance between the instances (to get the Id and Super-Ego in the “grip”). An action of the ego is correct when the demands of the id, the superego, and reality are simultaneously satisfied, in other words, when the action reconciles their demands with one another.” 174S. Freud: Abriss der Psychoanalyse. Fischer Verlag (Paperback), 1983, p. 8.
(Remind: For Freud is I = Ego and Id = It)

[What an effort and tightrope walk (!) when the Ego has to mediate between the Super-Ego, It and reality. It is more favorable when Ego/resp. I, Id and Super-Ego are subordinated to the Self of the person. This is only possible when they have no absolute meaning. Then the person does not panic when the Id crosses the line and cannot be blamed by the Super-Ego, nor does the person demand that the Ego bring everything under control or balance. In this way Id, Super-Ego and Ego/ I are accents but not dominants.]
    • The enmity between father and son as described by Freud in the Oedipus complex is only one possibility of an unresolved problem between father and son, a kind of anti-complex. Another possibility is the symbiosis between father and son. The third possibility is the indifference between the two. Especially the last two are more common today than the Oedipus complex. These possibilities apply to all relationships, not just those between father and son.
    • It is a contradiction when Freud wants to shed light on the unconscious with his “God Logos” and then says that the unconscious is not subject to the laws of logic.
    • Before Freud, the drives were suppressed by morality, after Freud, they are suppressed by rationality.
    • S. Freud has also expressed different views on the phenomenon of freedom and marked it generally as unscientific.
[QuestionWhy should P be treated with an ultimately pessimistic therapy?]

Summary in Keywords

Positive: Positive: Old gods at Freud´s time, such morality and parents, were rightly unmasked and dethroned by psychoanalysis and thus people were freed from them. [But for this the “God Logos” has been established.]
Psychoanalysis propagates the unconditional acceptance of all the drawbacks of the patient; It is very differentiated with many new insights and, in spite of the claim to scientificity, goes beyond this. 175The philosopher Slavoj Žižek complains in parts rightly in Geo 5/2006, that only the psychoanalysis compared to the other psychotherapies has a philosophical background. It is against false taboos and does not know any subjection to the zeitgeist.

Negative: Partly pseudo-religious, too pessimistic, too demanding, never ending as analysis, missing spirituality, missing +A, too much looking back. Psychology is explained negatively. Positive and healthy aspects get too little attention; To one-sided consideration of sexuality and aggression (Freud), neglection of the subject. Language too materialistic, mechanistic, and so on – so people are partly denoted as objects (for example psychical  ‘apparatus’, ‘objects’) and things are personalized.

For the comparison of anticathexis in psychoanalysis and in this work see anticathexis in `Remedies of defense´ or in the unabridged German version.

Later Psychoanalysts

Here are some keywords: Sources: Dieter Wyss `Die tiefenpsychologischen Schulen…’ and Wikipedia, 2014.176Sources: Dieter Wyss `Die tiefenpsychologischen Schulen…’ and Wikipedia, 2014. 

Freud’s main focus was on the drive theory. Sandor Ferenczi, Michael Balint and Melanie Klein placed the early-child relationships to reference persons at the center of their theories = object-relations theories. According to Melanie Klein, the former reference persons (“objects”) can either be loved or hated, which shows parallels to Freud’s libido and destrudo [and a parallel to +sA and ‒sA.]
Heinz Kohut developed a self-psychology. He studied how many objects a person needs to build and maintain the psychical functioning of his Self. Kohut assumed that “the goal of the self is to achieve cohesion of self-life”. The Self needs the empirical knowledge of satisfying self-object experiences. A lack of sympathetic resonance of the parental self-objects can cause a disturbance of the Self. 177According to Mertens.
Erich Fromm: Neurosis originates where human avoids his freedom.
Franz G. Alexander: “… proceeded from the observation that neurotics are generally not only overly morally in some way but and on the other hand are just as hardly morally. He recognized that both the immorality and the neurotic pseudo-morality are two sides of one and the same coin and that they are in a functional dependency relationship. 178Wyss p. 473
[This corresponds to the pro- and contra- position of the Its of the asp.12.]
C. G. Jung emphasizes the archetypes in his teaching. Criticism to it from W. Schmidt* – `the archetypes are the new gods of C. G. Jung. Only the reference to them gives life its meaning. The last metaphysical hold of a human being lies within himself. Psychology becomes a worldview. The idea of the archetype is a mentally hypostatized product of abstraction.’
(*I cannot find the source again but the quote corresponds to my opinion.)
Jung made two main statements: “Become who you are,” “Recognize yourself” (→`individuation´). 179Wyss p. 399 
Criticism by Trüb: Jung looks for `the essential determination of man ultimately in the process of psychical self-reference´.
(See also my criticism concerning Individuation )

Primary Therapy of A. Janov

I mention this therapy by Arthur Janov in particular because I refer to some of his thoughts, although his theories have never been recognized by official psychotherapy and have become less and less important in the last 20 years, at least in Germany. In the early 1970s, his book “The Primal Scream” appeared, to which I refer. 180Janov, Arthur: Der Urschrei. Ein neuer Weg der Psychotherapie. Frankfurt: S. Fischer, 1982/1993. (The Primal Scream. 1970) 

There he describes his “primal therapy,” which, similar to Freudian psychoanalysis, posits that mental illness is caused by repressed memories of traumatic childhood experiences. However, Janov spoke not only of early traumatization, but also of peri- and prenatal trauma, especially the rejection of the fetus by the mother and/or father. The unborn or infant’s primary needs for unconditional acceptance and love were not met, and so a “primal pain” arose in him or her – the cause of later disorders.
This primal pain needs to be reawakened and lived through (“cathartic experience”) – usually associated with the so-called “primal scream” to release the “true self”. Later it would be quite easy to live. Janov: `It is a Herculean task to be what you are not. The easiest thing to do is to be yourself.

Janov developed his theory after inducing a regression in a patient by making him cry for Mommy and Daddy. After crying for them, the patient collapsed with a “piercing death cry,” but afterward he felt like a newborn baby. Some Christians experience their spiritual rebirth in a similar way. They cry out to God, who is stronger than mom or dad.Discussion:

  • I also believe that you have the easiest life with your true or original self, which you do not have to earn, but already have.
  • Janov, like me, associates the “true self” with being a child. On the other hand, I think that being a child in itself is problematic if this is the primary therapeutic goal and this “child” is not protected in a larger whole (for me, “God¹”). Otherwise it is alone and vulnerable, and the therapist is not always present and too weak for this role.
  • Janov tries to reduce the defense mechanisms or make them unnecessary, but in general he sees them too negatively. I see their role as secondary and try to strengthen them so that they are available in an emergency.
  • Janov places the causes of neuroses, the primal pain, in the prenatal or perinatal sphere, not primarily in early childhood. This is somewhat similar to my theory, as described in the “Metapsychiatry” section, that primal pain is the pain of the loss of paradise.
  • Unconditional love and acceptance are central to Janov, but without religious affiliation. Too weak for those affected, because no human being can love completely unconditionally.
  • Relativization of authority: Old gods, as represented by morality, parents, etc., are rightly dethroned. The person learns that nothing will happen to him and that he will not die if he has overthrown morality, parents or other things – on the contrary, he feels liberated and good.  

Do we not all long to be free and absolutely loved: without responsibilities, without necessary achievements, without fear? Are not the most beautiful moments in our lives those in which we simply let go, like in an orgasm, with nothing left to control, no defense mechanisms needed, and sometimes screaming like a primal scream?
In my opinion, primal therapy has insights that should not be dismissed as unscientific – perhaps because it sheds light on the sphere that science alone cannot illuminate? In our psychotherapies, we also try to create a similar atmosphere for our patients, where they can feel free, safe and understood like beloved children. Have not therapists repeatedly and rightly said that we should love the “inner child in us” and called this “rebirth” like the “reincarnation therapy” according to the Buddhist religion? Even the Christian religion speaks of being (spiritually) reborn when we dare to be God’s children (not our parents’ children!). But how could an established psychotherapy, which sees itself as a science and therefore prefers to measure, examine and control, agree with such an uncontrollable method as the “primal scream therapy”? Dear reader, imagine what it would have been like if the “primal scream therapy” had entered our offices and clinics. Who would have accepted all that moaning, talking and screaming about rebirth? We, psychotherapists, hardly dare to hug a patient or cry with him.
Other opinions: Bert Hellinger on his own therapy with Janov: “It affected me. But on the other hand, you have an incredible freedom in such a moment.” But see also the very negative review by Hansjörg Hemminger. 181Hansjörg Hemminger: Flucht in die Innenwelt – Primärtherapie als Meditation der Kindheit. Ullstein 1980.

More Recent Literature

W. Wöller and J. Kruse distinguish four paradigms of psychoanalysis: 182Wöller, Wolfgang und Johannes Kruse: Tiefenpsychologisch fundierte Psychotherapie. Schattauer, Stuttgart, 2005.

  1. The Drive Psychology Paradigm: Aggression and sex drive are seen as motivating forces.
  2. The Ego Psychology paradigm, which focuses primarily on defense mechanisms and other ego functions.
  3. The self psychology paradigm: According to Kohut, change in therapy is not primarily the result of interpretation or insight, but of empathy.
  4. The object relations paradigm: This assumes that all mental structures are the result of past object experiences: external object relations become internalized object relations. “These internalized object relations constitute a world of representations. In this context, the term `representation´ means real internal images created by interactions with significant other persons (objects), whether real or imagined interactions. These representations have an object aspect (object representation) and a self aspect (self representation). … Intrapsychic and interpersonal aspects are closely intertwined.” (p. 26) According to Kernberg’s object relations theory, representations are organized into good and bad according to how they satisfy needs. Initially they are undifferentiated good or bad self-object units that later become progressively differentiated. (p. 17)
    As mentioned in `Metapsychiatry’, we owe to Winnicott the concept of the true and false self. According to Kohut, there is a lifelong need for reflection through so-called empathic self-objects. The authors emphasize the importance of the closest reference person, such as a mother or therapist, etc., who responds to the child (patient).183Wöller, Wolfgang und Johannes Kruse ibid. Also in D.W. Winnicott: Reifungsprozesse und fördernde Umwelt, Fischer-V., Frankfurt a.M. 1985.

[In short, we all need love. But where is love supposed to come from if the important attachment figures also have love deficits or if society is loveless?]
 Wöller and Kruse recommend a variety of perspectives in therapy: the perspective of conflict orientation, the perspective of strengthening ego functions, the perspective of possible traumatization, the perspective of the transference relationship, the perspective of problems and resources, and a perspective that focuses on solutions rather than problems. (p. 29)
[In the present work I try to present even more diverse perspectives that can be integrated into a “meta-dimension”, the + A, which is missing in the above mentioned concepts.]

Behavioral Therapies

In this chapter I limit myself to a few aspects of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
[As before, I comment positions, which deviating of me, in square brackets.]

Keywords on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 184From: 2014;  2014. CBT is based on cognitivism. Cognitivism is a branch of psychology concerned primarily with information processing and higher cognitive functions in humans. Cognitivism has a materialistic foundation. Cognitive therapy methods, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT), assume that the way we think determines how we feel and behave. The goal of therapy is to teach the client that thinking errors and irrational assumptions have negative consequences. Therefore, it is important to identify and correct negative thoughts. This should lead to the development of more accurate and appropriate thinking and behavior. 
Concerning the discussion with CBT here, I refer to the superordinate Criticism of Anthropocentrism, Criticism of Materialism, Criticism of Science and Psychology and ‘Discussion about secular psychotherapies‘.
Since these criticisms essentially apply to the CBT, I will not repeat everything here again.
The discussion between cognitive and non-cognitive standpoints can be followed in corresponding publications. 185Seeing e.g. In Wikipedia under these keywords.

I add additional criticism of the known cognitive therapy of depressions by A.T. Beck. 186From:  and  2014. The 11 thinking distortions from (here shortened) .
According to Beck, the information processing of depressed people is flawed because of the schemas they learned in childhood. This leads to the following 11 thought distortions:

1. ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING: You see things in black-and-white categories.
2. OVERGENERALIZATION: You see a single negative event as a never- ending pattern of defeat.
3. MENTAL FILTER: You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively .
4. DISQUALIFYING THE POSITIVE: You reject positive experiences by insisting they “don’t count” for some reason or other.
5. JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS: You make a negative interpretation though there are no definite facts that convincingly support conclusion.
6. MAGNIFICATION (CATASTROPHIZlNG) OR MINIMIZATION: You exaggerate the importance of things …  or you inappropriately shrink things until they appear tiny.
7. EMOTIONAL REASONING: You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”
8. SHOULD STATEMENTS: You try to motivate yourself with shoulds and shouldn’ts, as if you had to be whipped and punished before you could be expected to do anything. “Musts” and “oughts” are also offenders.
9. LABELING AND MISLABELING: This is an extreme form of overgeneralization. Instead of describing your error, you attach a negative label to yourself.
10. PERSONALIZATION: You see yourself as the cause of some negative external events which in fact you were not primarily responsible for.
11. SELF-WORTH: You make an arbitrary decision that in order to accept yourself as worthy, okay, or to simply, feel good about your- self, you have to perform in a certain way.

Like Beck and others, I also assume that such ‘thinking distortions’ can cause diseases.
They are similar to the sA/ It complexes in this script.
There are, however, the following differences in the concepts:
I regard these unfavorable schemes as only relatively unfavorable, even if they have an absolute character for the person concerned. Even if they are generally rather unfavorable they can also be relatively favorable since they can have an important function or a meaning for the person concerned. This view means that it should not be a primary therapeutic goal to identify ‘negative thoughts’ and to correct them to develop more accurate and adapted ideas.

More in detail:

(1) As noted above, these “false thoughts” may be beneficial and meaningful to the person.
(2) Even if they are objectively unfavorable to the person, it may be the case that the person is unable to correct these “false thoughts” and is then confronted with a therapeutic demand that overwhelms him or her, possibly exacerbating his or her symptoms.
This is often the case when the person (especially as a child) is confronted with overwhelming ideologies against which he has no chance. For this reason, in a particular case, I would not only consider some relatively unfavorable schemes and mental deficits as positive, but would even advise to intensify or exaggerate them – especially if they are taboo for the person or his environment (and also for his therapists). This type of approach is also the basis of paradoxical interventions. They have the goal of breaking down fixed attitudes, including those of us therapists, and showing alternatives. But as much as they go in the right direction, they do not produce a truly independent meta-level, because these paradoxical interventions are ultimately used to achieve the therapeutic goal. What is missing in both cases is a meta-position that is independent of all therapeutic goals, a +A that says that all therapeutic goals have value, but are ultimately only of relative importance. Should we not hug and comfort someone who is not feeling well and whom we like, and only then consider what one could do but does not have to do? Behavior therapy does not hug, it lacks love.
The approach of CBT is similar to some “Christian” advice, e.g., “If you just live right, believe or pray enough, you will get well. In terms of this work, one could also say that CBT and similar secular therapies attempt to replace one sA with a new sA. These new sA are here primarily ego-strength, correct cognition, health, functionality, correct behavior, rationality, reality, and objectivity. (See also: Absolutizing of Life, Health, Functioning etc. in `metapsychiatry’.)

      For certain symptoms, such as phobias, cognitive behavioral therapy can have very good results. Some symptoms, however, are difficult to eliminate through reason. Every psychiatrist knows how ineffective rational arguments are against the delusions of a psychotic. On the contrary, the more one appeals to the patient’s reason and logic, the more the patient retreats into his madness because he does not feel understood in his irrationality – he cannot feel understood! In the same way, quite reasonable and objectively correct corrections of the negative views of a severely depressed person will hardly succeed, but from a certain point on will make him even more depressed. 187One also knows this mechanism from everyday life when one is sad but a well intending fellow man wants to prove how beautiful the world is.

Positive Thinking (Mental or Psychological Positivism) 

To be distinguished from philosophical positivism.


It only makes sense if this method has only a relative meaning (in the sense of a healthy optimism) that also allows for its opposite and is used in the right situations. (It can be just as useful to practice negative thinking, especially when you think that something negative needs to be suppressed or fought).
Otherwise, I see the following disadvantages of the “positive thinking” method: too anthropocentric, too self-redemptive, too demanding, too unrealistic, too manipulative, too one-sided and limiting (negative thoughts are undesirable or forbidden).
After some time, it becomes harmful.
According to Scheich, it is also apparent that “many people who consciously want to think positively have never thought so strongly negatively. It is a paradox of the ‘opposite effect’…” 188From  2/ 2014 .
Günter Scheich: “Positive thinking makes you sick. About the dizziness of dangerous success promises.” with the collaboration of Klaus Waller. Eichborn, Frankfurt, 1997.

The loss of reality and disappointments that lead to self-accusation and depression are preprogrammed according to the motto: “If you do not succeed, then you have to blame yourself … The trainer [therapist] remains infallible” (O. Neuberger). Similarly, my criticism of “The Work” by Katie Byron and similar programs for self-optimization. In opposite to “The Work,” I would call my approach “The Relief”.
The 2007 award-winning Norwegian film “The Art of Negative Thinking” shows impressively what overstretched positive thinking looks like.


  • CBT is a much more sophisticated therapy with good success with phobias and other minor mental illnesses.
  • CBT is anthropocentric with all its pros and cons. The main disadvantage: the person is left to his own devices (self-redemption concept).
  • CBT seems to be an overly symptomatic therapy.
  • Learning and functioning are made absolute. Man is more than that and can achieve more than just with knowledge and logic. Man is also irrational by nature. In this concept, his irrationality is evaluated too negatively and must be countered or (unconsciously) negated/suppressed by CBT. “Rational arguments often prove ineffective despite the client’s insight.” (J. Teasdale) 189 
  • CBT is too psychological, too operationalized.
  • The argumentation errors mentioned by Beck and others (see above) are too one-sided (negative).
  • In Beck’s and similar concepts, the opposite of depression (mania) and their common background are not given enough consideration.
Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

Founded by Albert Ellis in 1955. It considers itself a humanistic psychotherapy, a “comprehensive, integrative, active-directive, philosophically and empirically based psychotherapy”. It claims to have an explicitly formulated philosophical background (stoicism, epicureanism, skepticism, existential philosophy, constructivism and philosophy of language). It is based on the so-called “ABC model”:
A triggering external or internal event (a = activating event), such as the death of a family member, is evaluated by certain conscious or unconscious beliefs, evaluation patterns, attitudes or habits (b = beliefs) that are activated in the triggering situation. This evaluation of the event as a consequence (c = consequences) then triggers emotional reactions and behaviors (e.g., grief, worry, fear). This means that the evaluation of an event (b) determines the emotional reactions and behaviors.
According to Ellis, mental disorders are caused by “irrational” beliefs and appraisals. He calls beliefs “irrational” when they are subjectively distressing and when they interfere with the realization of one’s life goals. “The goal of the procedure is to identify and change the irrational … appraisals. This should help the patient to achieve a more ‘rational’ lifestyle … “. 190Source of the citations: 1.  2/ 2014. 2. Becker, Vera; 1989 s.Lit.
My review:
• Overall like the criticism of cognitive behavioral therapy. (See above).
• Although the REBT covers philosophical perspectives, it is too anthropocentric and has the disadvantages as I described in Discussion about secular psychotherapies.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

By Marsha M. Linehan191 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is used specifically for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The therapist should find a balance between understanding and change (dialectical strategy). Apparent contradictions in the patient’s world are resolved and integrated. The manual includes therapeutic elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, social psychology, neurobiology, and aspects of Eastern meditation and spirituality. Skills training takes place regularly and consists of five “modules”: internal mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and self-acceptance.
My review:

  • All in all a very differentiated and partly philosophically based therapy with good results in the treatment of borderline disorders.
  • The Buddhist elements of the therapy are too anthropocentric.
  • Disadvantages similar to CBT.

Otherwise see also criticism of Discussion about secular psychotherapies and Buddhism.

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT)

Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has been evaluated in methodologically rigorous trials. They show that MBCT is more effective than usual care for relapse prevention and at least as effective as maintenance antidepressant therapy. It may also be effective for chronic depression and insomnia. 192  6/2012.
• See criticism CBT, Criticism of Anthropocentrism and Buddhism.

Metacognition Therapy (MCT)

MCT refers to the human ability to be aware of and control one’s own thoughts and internal mental processes. “Metacognitions are beliefs about cognitions, cognitive processes, and attention management processes. They determine which strategies a person adopts in response to internal events and control and monitor their appropriate use … Metacognitive theory distinguishes between positive and negative metacognitions. Positive metacognitions describe the usefulness of a particular strategy and are responsible for its selection. Negative metacognitions, on the other hand, are beliefs about the uncontrollability of certain processes … or their dangerousness … These problematic strategies are summarized under the term “Cognitive Attention Syndrome” (CAS), and the goal of MCT is to abolish the CAS and change the associated metacognitive beliefs. Patients gain flexible control over their cognitive and attentional processes… .” 193  2/ 2014.

Discussion: Despite its claims, metacognition remains in a similarly closed system as BT (behavioral therapies), a slightly larger box instead of the smaller one.
Instead of eliminating irrational thought patterns, the goal is to change unfavorable beliefs to gain control over thought processes. Otherwise criticism like CBT.

Behavior Therapies in the Future?

Our computers may soon have better counseling and behavioral programs than the best behavioral therapist. Computers are already superior to humans at chess.
Like a chess computer, this `BT PC’ will always know the best answers to millions of problems.
Patients are then treated and reprogrammed like machines – there are programs to increase self-esteem, against depression, against stress, etc. This means that after receiving a large amount of data, the computer will give more scientifically based and functionally better advice than the therapist. Not that such programs are bad, but the best computer will not be able to answer the crucial and existential questions: Who am I? What is happiness? Is there a God? Is there life after death? Does my wife love me? Does life have a meaning?
This means that at a certain point the most optimal, but sterile, bloodless answers of a computer or an equally acting psychocrat are no longer useful; they miss the point or have the opposite effect.

Humanistic Psychotherapies 

Also here only keywords194from: / 2 /2014.

The humanistic psychotherapies are often referred to as a ‘third force’ besides depth psychology and behavioral therapy. They are based on a holistic view of the human being who strives for meaning, self-realization and personal growth in his life.
Among others the following methods can be named:
    • Logotherapy (V. Frankl)
    • Systemic psychotherapies
    • Conversational psychotherapy
    • Integrative psychotherapy and Gestalt therapy
    • Psychodrama.

Frankl’s Logotherapy

Logotherapy “aims at activating the noetic layers of personality to enable the patient to find the meaning of his existence and thereby free himself from the neurotic life reactions.” “Logotherapy is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans.” 195 Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, `Logotherapie´ and, 2, 2018..

Systemic Psychotherapies

Personally, I consider a systemic viewpoint to be essential in analysis and psychotherapy.
A ‘weak point’: The members of the system are seen as too context-dependent. Then they do not have their own Absolute according to the concept of this theory. 
I dealt with this topic in the chapter `Personal system- and relationship disorders´ more closely.

Integrative Psychotherapy and Gestalt Therapy

It intends to integrate analytical, humanistic, behavioral and systemic approaches. It is differential, eclectic, integrative, inter-methodological and various schools incorporating.
“Gestalt therapy is an existential/experiential form of psychotherapy that emphasizes personal responsibility, and that focuses upon the individual’s experience in the present moment, the therapist-client relationship, the environmental and social contexts of a person’s life, and the self-regulating adjustments.” 196Deutschen Gesellschaft für Integrative Therapie, Gestalttherapie und Kreativitätsförderung,  2/2014. And:, 2018 The core of the Gestalt Therapy process is enhanced awareness of sensation, perception, bodily feelings, emotion, and behavior, in the present moment. Relationship is emphasized, along with contact between the self, its environment, and the other.197Cit. Fritz Perls in Wikipedia.
Discussion see: ‘Criticism of Humanism‘ and Buddhism.


Antonovsky, the founder of salutogenesis,  puts a so-called “coherence feeling” at the center of his answer to the question “How does health arise?”.
Antonovsky defined the `Sense of Coherence´ as: “a global orientation that expresses the extent to which one has a pervasive, enduring though dynamic feeling of confidence, that (1) the stimuli deriving from one’s internal and external environments in the course of living are structured, predictable and explicable; (2) that the resources are available to one to meet the demands posed by these stimuli; and (3) these demands are challenges, worthy of investment and engagement.
The sense of coherence has three components: Comprehensibility, manageability, meaningfulness.
According to Antonovsky, the third element is the most important. If a person believes there is no reason to persist and survive and confront challenges if they have no sense of meaning, then they will have no motivation to comprehend and manage events.
(Lit. source 1). These characteristics of a salutogenetic orientation are to strengthen people with appropriate methods.
“For example, a headache becomes a hint which offers a chance to return to the flexible center (of the human).” “However, if the headache is suppressed by a drug, there is no signal (indicator/indication) for healing. Figuratively speaking, instead of fighting the fire, the fire alarm has been turned off.” (Lit.source 2) 198Source: (1): , 2, 2018. (2): 2/2014.

    + : No fixation on pathology, resource-oriented.
    ‒ : As described elsewhere, the creation of a basic trust has to find within the person himself.
    Otherwise as described in the secular psychotherapies.

Resilience Research 

Resilience research (resistance-ability)199  2/2014. took its starting point in the investigation of trauma victims and their vulnerability.

The following factors have been identified as enabling adults to cope with trauma

– They manage stress effectively.
– They have good problem-solving skills.
– They ask for help when they have problems.
– They believe there are ways to deal with life’s problems.
– They have strong relationships with friends and family.
– They talk about the trauma and their feelings with friends and family.
– They are spiritual/religious.
– They see themselves as survivors rather than “victims”.
– They are helping others.
– They are trying to get something + out of the trauma.
– They have support from friends and family.

Discussion: No fixation on pathology, resource-oriented, spiritual-religious resources are considered.

Body Psychotherapy and Embodiment

Regarding the shift from pure cognitive-behavioral therapy to integrative and body psychotherapy,
I would like to quote W. Tschacher and M. Storch. Tschacher and M. Storch:

“For years … it has been observed how the cognitively oriented therapy approaches are reformed by the inclusion of non-cognitive aspects … (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy: Linehan, 1993, Schema Therapy: Young et al., 2005). There are also approaches to a “general psychotherapy” that tries to integrate all proven mechanisms of action… (Grawe, 1998). In the “third wave approach” of behavior therapy (Hayes et al., 2004), attitudes and views are adopted that have been developed in the field of humanistic psychotherapy schools since the middle of the 20th century in a non-academic and research-free manner (Kriz, 2007). In addition, there are elements of systemic approaches (von Schlippe & Schweitzer, 1996), which … led to the contextual or constructivist perspective in cognitive behavioral therapy (Mahoney, 2006)”. And elsewhere: “The first body-psychotherapeutic schools emerged as a kind of spin-off within psychoanalysis from the 1930s by Wilhelm Reich (vegetotherapy) and later by Fritz Perls (Gestalt therapy), Jakob Moreno (psychodrama) and their numerous students and successors”.200{Tschacher, W. & Storch, M. (2010) Embodiment und Körperpsychotherapie.
In A. Künzler, C. Böttcher, R. Hartmann & M.-H. Nussbaum (Ed.), Körperzentrierte Psychotherapie im Dialog. Heidelberg: Springer.]

In many publications on embodiment theory, this information is rarely given.
Instead, they speak of a new wave of cognitive therapy.
I can’t help but say that this is probably neither the last nor a new “wave”. (See quote above).
When Tschacher and Storch go on to say that embodiment means “that the psyche is always embedded in a body …” and only against this background “a complete theory of psychology becomes possible” – then the question remains as to what psyche and body are embedded in before we can speak of a (reasonably) complete psychology. I suspect that until then there will be some paradigm shifts in psychology, and I predict that with the next “wave” it will be discovered that psychology and psychotherapy must also consider spiritual and religious issues.

`Table´: Advantages and disadvantages of anthropocentric psychotherapies (Keywords)

BT (Behavior Therapies)
(on symptom level)
more targeted, more detectable and more predictable
Less causal, too superficial and short-term effective, too manipulative, too normative, too other-directed.
Some problems are only postponed.
Healing more time consuming or overstraining.
Danger: Like cortisone: straw fire. Symptom away but disease remains.
covering method,
suitable for mild cases and as a supplementary therapy for severe diseases.

Analytical methods

   more causal as BT
Too pessimistic; lacks spiritual dimension; ego is overtaxed, self-salvation; therapist difficult to challenge; more complicated, elitist.
Zimbardo: too unscientific, too speculative; vague concepts, central hypotheses not provable, therefore irrefutable; too backward-looking.
Disease is explained from a negative point of view and positive, healthy aspects are not considered enough; too one-sided consideration of sexuality and aggression; the male model is the norm.

suitable for moderatecases.

All secular, purely natural scientific psychotherapies

        see above
Only a second-rate human image, demanding ego-strength, danger of overburdening. ↓ sources of faith/ spirituality;
Thoughts and feelings are seen too much as objects (reification). The objective, measurable, calculable, functional, feasible and the symptom elimination is emphasized; Too one-sidedly, mechanistic perspectives and words. As materialism sterile, cold. ↓ feelings, faith, love, inner world, humanity. Behavior, function more important than life. 201See also H. E. Richter: `Der Gotteskomplex´, p. 75ff.


“One thing I have learned in a long life:
that all our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike.” Albert Einstein 202, 2022

Critical remarks: Today, psychiatry tries to explain mental processes or diseases with brain functions.
For example, I read something about the consequences of a mental trauma:
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can be developed by someone who has been confronted with an extreme level of fear, dying and pain … The sensory perceptions … can lead to sensory overload. The almond nuclei … become overloaded.”203From Zeit online  10/2011. 
Does that help us? Yes, a little bit! But should a primary psychic process, as I assume it is, not primarily be explained and cured in the psychological field? I fear that in the future most mental processes and conditions will be explained only in neurobiological terms, which on the one hand creates an illusion of security, but on the other hand ignores the most important therapeutic options.
I agree with Felix Hasler’s criticism: “Explanatory models from brain research are penetrating far beyond the boundaries of the natural sciences into former territories of the humanities and the cultural and social sciences. Brain research today is very confident of proving the non-existence of free will, of discovering biological markers for criminal behavior, or of finding neuromolecular causes of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression. Not today, but in the foreseeable future, such grand problems will be solved. … The fundamentally erroneous impression is given that brain research is well aware of the biological processes underlying our experience, thought and action. And therefore medicine should be able to intervene in the brain in an ‘evidence-based’ and targeted way when something goes wrong. For example, in the case of a mental disorder. The classical “bio-psycho-social model of mental illness” has long since undergone a dramatic shift towards biology. The most striking feature of this scientific-ideological orientation is the increasingly out-of-control practice of prescribing psychotropic drugs.204Felix Hasler: Neuromythologie. Transcpript, Bielefeld. 3. Ed. 2013, p. 7-8.
Heinzpeter Hempelmann makes a similar argument: “Neurosciences are finally allowing us to make precise statements about human thought. However, they must not forget, or even deny, that their – hopefully lasting – success is based on a decisive reduction of the thirst for knowledge. Of course, they are not asking philosophically. … This perspective is very limited. It looks at man as a brain, or more precisely, as a nervous system. And it examines this nervous system from the point of view of what can be represented chemically and electrophysiologically by different potentials. It does not inquire into the nature of thought, the nature of man as a thinking being, the nature of the mind, of sensations, of consciousness. It does not even claim to be able to answer these questions as a science – I am speaking idealtypically here! – for that is the task of philosophy… This limited perspective leads – while paying the price of a reduction of the original question – to very precise and quantitative results with claims of high scientific validity. Neuroscientists can give us very precise information about which electrical potentials are shown in certain regions of the brain due to certain signal stimuli, but they cannot tell us what the essence/nature of the human being is.” 205Heinzpeter Hempelmann

Since the access to a spiritual-psychical influence is much easier and in the end probably even more effective and, by the way, cheaper, I think that such a psychotherapy should be given priority.
I believe that most of the causes of mental illness found in the neurobiological field are secondary causes – which in turn are results of primary (in my opinion psycho-spiritual) causes. This opinion is also supported by the possibility of brain and even gene changes due to stress and traumatization which is being discussed!206, 9/2018; , 8/2015.

207This means that what has been inherited by genes can be based primarily on psychological and mental damage. Also, the recent recognition of epigenetics stating, that different genes can be activated or deactivated by certain circumstances, 208In short you could say that genes can be closed with a snap or opened. relativizes a one-sided emphasis on organic-biological influences. 209Perhaps former psychiatrists were right when calling psychoses mental diseases and not brain diseases. However, these findings also imply that it must be possible to reverse epigenetic or even genetic (?) changes through dramatically experienced positive therapeutic influences, as I also suggest in “primary psychotherapy” (if psychoses should underlie such changes).

See corresponding literature to the criticism of the `Human Brain Project’ which aims to capture neural networks of the brain by computers and is supported by the EU with 1 billion €  ! (similar in the USA).210 , 2016.

Spiritual / Religious Based Psychotherapy

“The creative boldly goes towards the unknown!”
 Willi Baumeister

Spirituality in Psychotherapy?

I quote M. Richard and H. Freund, who present this topic from today’s point of view: 211äge_Veröffentlichungen_MIRP/Artikel_Richard_Freund  3/2012.
Academic psychology … has always been understood as a secular science. In its rapid development in the twentieth century, it increasingly occupied interpretations and fields of action previously reserved for theology and ecclesiastical institutions. Until the 1980s, clinical psychology primarily studied the negative effects of religion, and only later did it emphasize the health-promoting aspects… A few years later, C. G. Jung (1940) argued that almost all psychological problems have a religious dimension and that religion should therefore be constructively integrated into psychotherapy. Other pioneers of psychotherapy such as Viktor Frankl and Carl Rogers also recognized the existential value of religion in the field of crisis management (Demling, 2004). More recent psychoanalytic writers discuss the importance of being able to believe in something for mental health (Britton, 1998). The renaissance of religious/spiritual concepts from the context of Buddhism and Far Eastern religions has recently been observed in behavioral therapy … In summary, it can be said that the image of the psychotherapist as religiously critical or indifferent does not correspond to the empirical findings in Germany… It is time to overcome the shadow existence of this topic in the scientific-therapeutic discussion and to turn more and more to it[Emphasised by me.] 212Institutions such as the Klinik Hohe Mark (Oberursel), de’ignis Fachklinik (Egenhausen), Magdalenen Klinik (Georgsmarienhütte), Klinik Sonnenhalde (Riehen/ Switzerland) or Klinik SGM Langenthal (Switzerland) have introduced christian content to their treatment programs in the German-speaking world since a couple of years. Existing approaches such as the buddhist psychotherapy (Ennenbach, 2010), the transpersonal behavioral therapy (Piron, 2007) or the concept of the ‘IGNIS Academy for Christian Psychology’ (Halder, 2011) are leading a shadow-existence …”.

Although many psychotherapists protested against the existing guidelines in the “Bonn Declaration” in 2006, little has changed in Germany. However, there are more and more authors like M. Seitlinger, D. Heil, P. Schellenbaum, E. Frick, J. Kornfield, H. Jellouschek, J. Armbruster, M. Utsch, E. Frick and others in the recent German literature who recommend the consideration of spirituality in psychotherapy.213Seitlinger, Michael (Hg.): Was heilt uns? Zwischen Spiritualität und Therapie. see. Lit. references.

“Third Viennese School” of Psychotherapy

I have already mentioned Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy. Frankl, Caruso and Daim form the so-called third Viennese school of psychotherapy. Of these, Wilfried Daim has a religiously based approach. 214 See: Daim, Wilfried: Tiefenpsychologie und Erlösung; Herold publishing company, Wien, 1951 Theoretically, he is very close to me because, like me, he places the Absolute, which he identifies as God, at the center of his considerations. However, there are some differences in our concepts, but this is not the place to go into them. Daim sees himself as a psychoanalyst who, in a certain sense, belongs to S. Freud, but who also differs from him in crucial points. This contrast is described by Dieter Wyss. He means that, according to Daim and Caruso, the intellect is displaced by the instincts, whereas, according to Freud, the instincts are displaced by the intellect and thus the neurosis develops. However, this reversal of the original approach of psychoanalysis, according to Wyss, does not solve the problem of the relationship between the intellect and the instincts. Wyss continues: Both are possible-the drive can be displaced by the mind, and the mind can be displaced by the drive.215Wyss, Dieter: Die tiefenpsychologischen Schulen …“ p. 409.
To stay with this choice of words: I see the emergence of the “neurosis” above all in the suppression of the absolutely positive spirit by absolutized Relatives who act as “strange Absolutes” (sA), which can be of more spiritual or impulsive or otherwise nature.
Ps. Wyss misinterprets Daim’s religious perspective as a moral position.

Transpersonal Psychology

An overview is given by the following quotations: “The transpersonal psychology and the transpersonal psychotherapy, which is based on the first, expand the classical psychology and psychotherapy by philosophical, religious and spiritual aspects … Transpersonal psychology examines consciousness states ‘beyond’ (trans) of personal experience … The main founders and theorists of transpersonal psychology were Stanislav Grof, Anthony Sutich, Frances Vaughan, Roger Walsh, Abraham Maslow, Ronald D. Laing, Charles Tart, Roberto Assagioli and Ken Wilber. (Lit. source 1). “Topics covered in transpersonal psychology include spiritual self-development, the self beyond the ego, peak experiences, mystical experiences, systemic trance, spiritual crises, spiritual evolution, religious conversion, altered states of consciousness, spiritual practices, and other unusually expanded life experiences. The discipline seeks to describe and integrate spiritual experiences into modern psychological theory and to formulate new theories to encompass such experiences.” (Lit. source 2) 216(1) and 2/2014. (2) 2/2018.
Discussion: Transpersonal psychology’s essential criticism about university psychology: Western science does not recognize the transrational and transpersonal areas as real, existential, spiritual levels of consciousness, and therefore must press all the spiritual experiences through the bottleneck of monistic materialism. 217
The “transpersonal” theories expand the theories of university psychology around spiritual-religious aspects, which, however, mainly have buddhist and Hindu backgrounds.
See discussion about Buddhism in the part `Metapsychotherapy’.

Pastoral Psychology

The word ‘pastoral’ is difficult for a layman. It means (Catholic) pastoral care. “The word ‘pastoral’ is difficult for a layman. It means (Catholic) pastoral care. “Pastoral psychology reflects on religious and ecclesiastical practices from a psychological point of view in order to gain new perspectives and expanded possibilities for action. It examines the theory and practice of the human and social sciences from a theological perspective with regard to their anthropological premises. It promotes dialogue between theology and the human and social sciences.” 218
It works interdisciplinarily and multi-perspectively. Insights from theology, psychology and sociology are interlinked and made fruitful for church practice.” 219
Pastoral psychology is meant to be theology and psychology.
Discussion: It is certainly fruitful for theology and psychology to work together. In reality, however, theology tends to subordinate itself to university psychology on psychological issues and does not discuss pathological phenomena, while on the other hand, religious issues are largely negated by the mainstream of contemporary psychology.

Pastoral Psychiatry

“Pastoral psychiatry is concerned with pastoral care in the context of psychiatry. Many things between ‘spiritual healing’ and ‘psychiatry for theologians’ have already been referred to by the term ‘pastoral psychiatry’. In 1973 a professorship for the subject was established at the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, which was occupied by the theologian Thomas Bonhoeffer until 1996.” 220
• I am not aware of any study about the backgrounds and therapy of mental illnesses having been published here.

Pastoral Care

Pastoral action is not to be confused with psychotherapeutic action. However, psychotherapeutic methods are also used in pastoral care. In particular the pastoral psychology influenced by Carl Rogers and the Dutch pastoral care movement in Germany lays emphasis on a close exchange between pastoral care and psychology … In the middle of the 1960s the pastoral movement came from the Netherlands to Germany and led to the development of pastoral psychology … In the 1980s Eugen Drewermann … developed his depth psychological interpretation of the bible, especially in the three-volume work `Psychoanalyse und Moraltheologie´. At the same time, Michael Dieterich developed biblical therapeutic pastoral care, which spread rapidly particularly in the pietistic and free church groups … All fields of activity [of pastoral care] have the task to accompany people in matters of life and faith. This happens in a personal conversation, depending on the situation, as well as through prayer, consoling and encouraging words from the bible, through blessings (e.g. laying on hands) but also through social support … In biblical therapeutic pastoral care (BTPC), for example, biblical and psychological or psychotherapeutic approaches are complementary or permeate each other.” 221 Extracts from 3/2014.
Samuel Pfeifer and his Academy for Psychotherapy and Pastoral Care also work on pastoral care and psychotherapy/ psychiatry. Helmut Jaschke’s “Christian oriented psychotherapy” and “Hagiotherapie” by Tomislav Ivancic have similar intentions.
• Short remarks:
– The concept of biblical therapeutic pastoral care seems to be too dogmatic to me in some points.
– Samuel Pfeifer separates the modern psychiatry too strictly from biblical pastoral care in his book “Die Schwachen tragen”.


– It assumes, as I do, that the human being possesses somatic, psychic, and spiritual spheres that are interrelated and thus offer different possibilities for therapeutic approaches.
– I see great differences in the pathogenesis of mental disorders, but few in their cure.

Self-Help Groups with Spirituality

[The citations are  here from, 2022 and sorry, 2022 no longer available]

Our patients also find spirituality, away from the official psychotherapeutic mainstream, in the following non-professional and very successful anonymous self-help groups such as:
Anonymous Alcoholics (AA), Workaholics Anonymous (WA), Relatives and friends of alcoholics (AL-Anon), Children of alcoholics (Alateen), Drugs / Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Anonymous Messis (AM), Sexaholics Anonymous (SA), Borderline Anonymous (BA), Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA), Emotions Anonymous (EA), Anonymous eating disorders (sA and OA), Gamblers Anonymous (GA), family members (Gam-Anon), and  Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous (ITAA).  2221. There were over 100,000 AA groups worldwide in 2008. 2. Meanwhile, the AA program also adopted by groups without reference to the problem of addiction (EA groups). The anonymous groups are not a religious organization and do not recommend a specific belief system. At the center, however, is the trust in a ‘loving, higher power’, the attempt to “trust our God’s care as we understand it.” They teach fundamental spiritual principles such as faith, trust, honesty, openness, willingness and humility.

The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous and adopted by the other anonymous groups:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

In parallel, there are `12 promises’ for a new, better, more relaxed life (without addiction).
It also says: We realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.


– These “anonymouses” do not care about the ideological border between official psychotherapy and pastoral care, but simply take what they need.
– Contrary to academic psychotherapies, the last instance in the life of these people is not man, but “a higher, loving power/God, as everyone understands him”, so that a serenity can grow that knows “that with us in this world and in the hereafter everything will be all right, if we turn to him”.
The concepts of these self-help groups are very close to me and very similar to what I mean by “primary psychotherapy”.
The concept is especially suitable for people who are psychologically “at the bottom” and cannot get by on their own or with the help of others. That is why I think it is also suitable for people with (non-acute) psychosis.

Psychology, Psychotherapy and Psychiatry Today 

Note: I am referring to the situation in Germany.

Psychology, psychotherapy and psychiatry, in my opinion, should be both scientifically and spiritually religious. It is a questionable science when it wants to replace religion, when it turns the living into a thing only to be measured and reproduced. Religion is questionable when it believes it must replace or even fight good science, or when it does not serve man. Psychologists and psychiatrists are now almost exclusively considered scientists. The published literature must be brand new, the knowledge of past years or even centuries seems obsolete.

The knowledge of philosophers or even theologians (people who are very intensely concerned with our soul life) is hard to find. Hardly any of the wise men of the past ages have their say. The fact that religion is of existential importance to billions of people is largely ignored. The great human questions, such as being and non-being, life and death, good and evil, love and hate, meaning and meaninglessness, guilt and innocence, trust and mistrust, worthiness and unworthiness of life, self-worth and unworthiness, power and powerlessness, etc., are hardly considered – questions that are experienced in all spiritual crises and especially intensely in delusions. Technocrats are threatening our free and therefore holy spirit from different sides. They come from one side with a big machine, measuring instruments, nuclear spin and computer tomography: They measure, register, evaluate, operationalize, verify and amplify single and double blindly – and so they are obviously particularly clairvoyant or particularly blind? They all want to subjugate the mind and create a new, perfect and transparent human being: reproducible by cloning, streamlined, functional and usable everywhere. In the end, a bloodless monster is created, but the more you try to get hold of it, the less mind it has. Huge computers are at the end of the development of such purely scientifically oriented psychotherapies, which record thousands of data of the patient and then present the most objective and best solution, where perhaps a simple hug or a loving conversation would have been the better and simpler solution. Behavioral therapists in particular sometimes seem to me like technicians with very sophisticated, very humane and loving programs. They are like a lover who has studied everything that science has discovered about love, but does not know what love really is. So we are in danger of forcing the living into scientific theories and programs. Such attempts have failed elsewhere. Planned economies, for example. And they will continue to fail – whenever you try to adapt life, including human life, to certain theories and not the other way around.
The moment our souls became objects of scientific research for psychologists and psychiatrists, they lost their innocence, their brilliance, their wonder, and their depth. We poke around in the self hoping to find a treasure, destroying the whole thing, just as we destroy a flower when we think we can unravel its miracle by putting it under a microscope. Some others, however, take an equally one-sided opposite position, trying to fill the mind with pure speculation (esotericism, partly also “anti-psychiatry”). But it, the free, holy spirit, will blow where it wants and not where they try to force it. It will remain free and divine – not measurable, not to be grasped, not to be captured – and yet loving and more powerful than anything else, just like real life and love.

New Approaches?

I quote B. Grom exemplarily. 223Bernhard Grom: „Religiosität/Spiritualität – eine Ressource für Menschen mit psychischen Problemen?“ from:$file/ptj_3_2012.pdf.  3/2012 .
… according to English-language studies, it can be proved that convinced religiosity and positive religious coping can exert a buffering effect, particularly in the case of heavy stress, and can somewhat reduce depression, anxiety and life-dissatisfaction … According to an Allensbach survey (2006), a remarkable 42 percent of the Germans say that they ‘personally derive consolation and strength from their faith’ … more than a dozen relevant investigations … prove that religious belief… maintain life satisfaction and reduce depression and anxiety … “. 224Summing up: Klein & Lehr, 2011, literature reference by B. Grom.

Discussion: There is obviously a current tendency in traditional psychotherapy to open up to spiritual and religious questions and to allow them at least a “limited influence”.
On the other hand, spiritual and religious worldviews differ considerably from each other, so that their psychotherapeutic potency should be evaluated in a more differentiated way than has been done so far. Moreover, the question remains to what extent traditional psychotherapies are prepared to question their own materialistic views and their possible “side effects”.

Fears and Resistances against Change

On the Part of the Psychotherapists

As the previous sections have shown, religiosity was an integral part of psychotherapy in the original sense until modern times. It was only with the Enlightenment and the successes of the natural sciences that the predominantly materialistic psychologies and psychotherapies emerged, which, because of their predominantly materialistic basis, considered spiritual and religious questions to be irrelevant. As has been mentioned several times, this has led to a one-sidedness and weakening of psychotherapy. It is only in the last few decades that a shift toward a paradigm that includes both secular and religious views seems to be emerging. This path will be difficult because both sides have become entrenched in their spheres over the last 100 years or so. On the one hand, official pastoral statements warn against psychiatric activity; on the other hand, psychotherapists have great reservations about spiritual-religious influences, and both sides are rightly cautious because knowledge of the other sphere is usually lacking. In addition, there are organizational and human reasons, both scientific and ecclesiastical, that make it difficult to rethink or even renounce one or the other advantage.225One will probably (still?) have to renounce a university career if one abandons this small-mindedness. The fear of becoming unscientific has also meant that in psychology and psychiatry, anything that is unprovable and unimaginable is usually masked out. Thus U. Sachse states for example in his otherwise excellent book “Traumazentrierte Psychotherapie” that on the one hand our inner world of values is important when dealing with psychical  trauma: 226See the bibliography (p. 55). “If we have a philosophical, spiritual and/ or religious system in which injustice, fate, bad luck, arbitrariness occur … then it is much easier for us to integrate a trauma … .” (p. 55)  But, on the other hand, this matter hardly plays a role in his book when discussing therapy strategies. After all, in a psychotherapist journal, one reads the cautious words: “Should psychotherapists make their patients’ religious beliefs the starting point for interventions? Can a psychotherapist incorporate his/ her own religiosity into therapy? … We hope our daring (!) to take up this topic will be rewarded.” 227Psychotherapeutenjournal 3/2012, p. 191-298. I added the !.
1. Established psychotherapy is based on philosophical foundations, which ultimately can only be believed like religions.
2. It is characteristic that “daring” is necessary to ask basic questions to established psychotherapy today.
3. Just as theologians are trained in psychology, psychologists and psychiatrists should also be made aware of the most important religions and spiritual currents during their training.

On the Part of the Theologians


– Pastors/ theologians usually have too little knowledge of psychology and psychiatry.
– Then there is a justified fear of acting incompetently and being sued.
– Some pastors/theologians are too institutionally and theoretically entrenched to dare to be innovative.
– Some pastors/theologians have difficulty understanding the role of God in relation to illness.
– Some, more likely members of free churches, overestimate God’s direct intervention; others, the majority, may still believe in God’s help with disease in some way, but do not act on it.
– Church has long presented illnesses as a direct result of the patient’s sins. 228“For the reward of sin is death“ (Rom 6:23). On the other hand Jesus: The blind’s disease was not because of his sin or because of his father’s or mother’s sin.“ (Jn 9: 1-41) both quotes from Although theology has a more differentiated point of view on that matter nowadays, many people still regard the Gospel primarily as a moral doctrine and therefore refrain from such pastoral teachings. 229Warum heute kaum noch Seelsorge? See also H. Thielicke, in Läpple among others p. lit. 126 following.
See also `Christian one-sidednesses… !

My personal experience

I like to hear the good news that I am absolutely lovable, unique, and God-like when I am down. But if I’ve done a great job, I don’t like the gospel, because without it I feel more valuable and better than any bum who seems to be hanging around all day. Then I want to be more lovable and feel better than the bum. But man’s magic hours are when he gives up his resistance to +A/ God, who gives the bum the same value as me. These are the situations in which we cry in real life or in the movies.
I believe that every human being has basic religious or spiritual needs. We all have a longing for absoluteness, salvation, eternity, and immortality. But we satisfy them in different ways – that is human nature. I understand when a soccer team is assured of immortality in a world championship, or when millions of people find joy and fellowship in these games. But how quickly this “immortality” disappears and the heroes of yesterday are forgotten. I can only remember a few international soccer players from 20 years ago, although I admired them at the time. We should keep this joy of human success for ourselves, but why should we not broaden our aspirations and make them more lasting and deeper? Here we encounter a resistance in ourselves, the deeper cause of which is probably that we feel an existential fear when we cannot hold the reins and have to hand them over to someone else, even if that someone else is God.¹ (S. chapter Resistance).
Also: The good news often seems ambiguous. Its positive part is that we are always entitled to freedom, dignity, and happiness, regardless of whether we have done anything right or wrong. Its negative part is that no matter how much we do right, it does not increase our right to freedom, dignity, and happiness. But by trying to increase our Self through achievement, we create an invisible, strange Absolute to which we are attached even in the event of our failure, and which makes us more than small. Thus, false pride and destructive inferiority complexes seem to be two sides of the same coin.


            “Love grants in one moment what effort hardly achieved in a long time.”   Goethe (Torquato Tasso)
             Love is stronger than death! (~ Solomon 8,6)
    Just as the fruit of love is new life in the physical realm, so love also produces new psychical life.

Dedicated to my granddaughter Teresa.

My theory is that mental illnesses, including psychoses, can in principle be understood and cured.
The path to healing is sometimes very difficult. Sometimes you think you’re going to die. But it’s like giving birth – you’re squeezed through a tight spot. But where to? Into life!
I will explain more about this below.


Concerning the Name

The psychotherapy I present here is ultimately Christian-oriented, but I have deliberately not called it “Christian psychotherapy.

Why not?

1. I believe that the desirable therapeutic optimum, which I define as +A, is best called God or the Holy Spirit. However, this good spirit of love can also be found in other religions and world views, albeit in a weaker form. As the Bible already says, the Holy Spirit blows wherever he pleases – not only in the Christian religion and not only in churches or mosques.
2. Many people identify the Christian message with church institutions or have questionable interpretations. (As I sketched them in `Christian one-sidednesses… ) Unfortunately, the concept of “Christian” will then create false ideas.
3. The term “Christian-oriented psychotherapy” could also be misunderstood to mean that all scientific knowledge is neglected or denied. Similarly, I use the term “metapsychotherapy” because “primary psychotherapy” has its main focus in the metapsychotherapeutic field. Other synonyms for ‘primary psychotherapy’ could be: metatherapy, salvation-oriented psychotherapy, psychotherapy of love, Christian-based psychotherapy, and alternative psychotherapy. It is not a total therapy, but a fundamental psychotherapy. (→ fundamental).

 [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]

Content and Goals

In “Primary Psychotherapy” I presented the basic pattern of the development of mental illnesses from a meta-perspective, which shows that many, especially more serious, mental illnesses are based on disorders in the fundamental dimensions of human existence.  Primary Psychotherapy should be a therapy without preconditions, because it should be usable and practicable even by the simplest and sickest people. Just as I have described the very first and deepest causes of mental illness primarily in the confusion of fundamental meanings, I now see the strongest therapeutic and most comprehensive power in a psychotherapy that begins in the absolute realm. It takes into account not only the human need for an Absolute, but also the fact that every human being has access to this source / to this Absolute. It’s all about accepting a gift. This approach also includes academic psychotherapies.
I write about my personal experiences.

The redemption

A few years ago, my wife and I went to the Taizé Community in France because I was going through a personal crisis. At that time, the prior Frère Roger was still alive. During the summer months, thousands of young people from many countries gather in Taizé to celebrate, sing and pray together. But I was depressed, anxious and full of self-doubt. In my distress, I asked one of the brothers to bless me, which was unusual for me.
The brother asked me only my name, nothing else – and I told him my name. Then a wonderful thing happened: He put a cross on my forehead like a seal and said, “God will always love you!” That hit me like a bolt of lightning. I had to cry – they were liberating tears – I felt redeemed. This experience was an existential turning point in my life to which I can always return. The blessing frees me and lifts me up. And anyone who wants to can have this gift. This is roughly how I see the core of primary psychotherapy. It is non-dogmatic and non-ideological. The most important and existential things, over which we have no influence anyway, are a gift from God¹ that you can accept or not. It requires no analysis, no behavioral training, no special knowledge, no effort. There are no preconditions. It first establishes the most important thing: an unassailable, positive self – the absolute and existential basis of the human being, on which further therapeutic measures can then be taken, if necessary.
However, belief in God¹ and His love is no more a guarantee for a carefree and healthy life than a parent’s love for a child. However, the probability that the believer and the beloved child will live a fuller and healthier life seems much greater than that of a life without love. For the best, strongest, most lasting and at the same time free therapy is love. This is an ancient experience that is constantly being rediscovered and reformulated.

Psychoanalysts have also worked on this issue, but with different terms. They have studied whether and how a child tolerates the withdrawal of a love object corresponding to a +sA. The dearest mother will have to take the child from her breast (which Melanie Klein calls the most important love object) from time to time. Despite the withdrawal of the mother’s breast or similar frustrations, there is no disturbance if the child feels the mother’s attitude of unconditional love, i.e., that this love functions as an Absolute and relativizes the above-mentioned frustrations. This also applies to the +A effects on all other objects of love or hate. The child (or any other person) can cushion the frustrations not only by subordinating them to this love, but also by assuming that, from a higher perspective, they will benefit from these failures, even though they are initially associated with negative feelings. Basically, the person starts early not to understand pleasure or displeasure in an absolute sense and is much better prepared for later life.
Similarly, Kohut: “There is a lifelong need to be mirrored by so-called empathic self-objects. The failure of this empathic reflection process is due to a variety of pathological phenomena.230Quote (and freely translated) from Wolfgang Wöller and Johannes Kruse: Tiefenpsychologisch fundierte Psychotherapie. Schattauer, Stuttgart, 2005, p. 21 following. In short, we all need love. But where should the person (P) get love from if the environment is unloving and the person doesn’t love himself? From God¹? But even with God all problems are not gone – but at least they are relativized. For if the absolute problem is solved by choosing +A/God, then all the others are only of relative importance and can be solved much more easily or, if not solved, tolerated better.

Primary psychotherapy does not begin with “You should” or even “You must,” but with firm promises: “You are loved and unique,” “You can be whatever you are!” And then you can try to achieve these or other goals or solve problems. By accepting the +A, every strange Absolute becomes a Relative, the strange Self becomes the real Self, and the unredeemed becomes basically (not completely) redeemed – for “God’s reconciliation with the world also makes man’s reconciliation with himself possible. A `Christian has no longer to be a man of eternal conflict’,(Bonhoeffer) of indissoluble ethical turmoil.´231H. Wahl, p. 252. According to Tillich, religiously mediated salvation can be understood “as an overcoming of the existential dominance of the negative (fear, guilt, meaninglessness), as a ‘salvation of the center of the person’ to its existential being.232H. Wahl, p. 301
Alike Hans Küng writes: “He who has not known religion will never know the great spiritual resources that can be decisive for a patient’s well-being.” 233Pfeifer, Samuel: Die Schwachen tragen; Brunnen, 2005. Likewise Hans Küng „Verdrängung der Religion in der Psychiatrie“. Even Freud stated in a letter to a priest…you are in the fortunate position of being able to lead them to God¹ and bringing about what in this one respect was the happy state of earlier times when religious faith stifled the neuroses. For us this way of disposing of the matter does not exist. Thus our patients have to find in humanity what we are unable to promise them from above and are unable to supply them with ourselves. Things are therefore much more difficult for us, and in the resolution of the transference some of our successes come to grief.” 234The letters of Sigmund Freud and Oskar Pfister – Then the obvious question comes to mind: Why not also offer this possibility?
 It is rather stressful to have to serve several or even many gods, as in some religions. This also applies to the many ideologies or nameless “gods” we carry within us. It is freedom to have one God who demands nothing. When we free ourselves from the false musts, the basis of many mental illnesses is removed. The earthly problems do not always have to be solved, and certainly not always in the best way. Man no longer has to revolve existentially around himself – he rests in God¹.
How can a person satisfy their basic need for unconditional love, security, etc., if they have experienced their environment as existentially unreliable or destructive and have therefore lost faith in humanity and themselves? This is primarily about strengthening and liberating the core of the personality, namely the image of God¹ (imago Dei or divine self). This is beyond good and evil (in the usual sense of the word), beyond right and wrong, beyond the opinions of others, beyond one’s own actions, and beyond healthy or sick. This Self is beyond all earthly problems. Conrad’s impossible “transcendence” becomes possible.
I am convinced that this basis is the best prerequisite for the recovery of even the most mentally ill people. Primary Psychotherapy integrates all positive psychotherapies. Primary psychotherapy does not fight, but allows free choice. It can allow and integrate the relatively negative and the relatively positive, but tries to influence the Relative.

What are the conclusions?
If we consider the Absolute, we will realize:

  • Health and illness are not everything, so we can remain calm and not have an existential fear if we become ill or even psychotic.
    -The Absolute (personal: the Self) has priority and is already there and does not need to be acquired or elaborated – which also means that the strongest solution is free and easy. Relative problems can only be solved relatively well, not completely, which is a more realistic view and avoids unnecessary disappointment.
  • Sometimes suffering and disease are inevitable companions of positive developments – which should encourage us not to give up. (This is especially true at times when we are trying to get away from the hyper-positive sides of the strange Absolutes. KW: withdrawal and resistance). Instead, we tend to see ourselves as failures and illness as the enemy.
  • Objectively speaking, “healthy” and “normal” people can be more sick, abnormal, and insane than those who are labeled as such from a medical point of view. 235This is not about being against unavoidable technical terms but against its abuse as a label.
  • In addition to scientific knowledge, psychotherapy should provide a good foundation of faith and not only “treat” the psyche, but everything psychically relevant to the person.
    (This also corresponds to my definition of psyche in a broader sense.)

Differences to Other Psychotherapies

I think, a therapy concept developed from what has been said so far, will set different accents than conventional ones which have little success, especially in regard to healing of psychoses. 236see e.g. the good overview of many meta-analyses by B. Puschner$file/Vortrag_Puschner.pdf, 2013. Most of the concepts will be similar with respect to issues that are in the relative realm. A major difference, however, is the consideration of an absolute area of the person to which all other areas are subordinate. This has crucial therapeutic consequences. The main point is not the person’s periphery, such as his behavior or character, his guilt or innocence, his successes or failures, and so on, but his center: his Self, his Absolute. Just as, from a negative point of view, a person is most likely to be spiritually destroyed if you destroy his center, so, from a positive point of view, he is most likely to be healed if you heal that center. Once the person’s Self is healed (and thus the aspects of the Self such as self-esteem, self-determination, identity), most of the problems resolve themselves.

The point, however, is that this “central healing” is not a complicated process in theory, but ultimately a simple but “courageous act of faith” 237From Martin Luther’s preface to Romans.
(better: “primary act of will”), which returns the self to its original role, namely that of living and existing without any preconditions.
Why so much effort to come to terms with the past when I have the right to live freely and without any burden? Why so much effort to become a better person, more mature, wiser, smarter, calmer, more analyzed, more knowledgeable, more respected, more loved, more successful, etc., when  I am already good enough for God and my blessedness does not depend on these attributes? There is no +sA to achieve, no -sA to repel, and no lack to “fill”-what a relief!
Of course, such a therapy is not against analysis, improvement, maturation, revision, success, etc., but against making these attributes absolute, and against making the person’s center independent of the need to achieve them. As liberating as it is not to be defined by the above-mentioned attributes, it can be difficult to renounce the “advantages” of the Strange Self, because they also give us “hyper-security”, “hyper-stability”, “hyper-self-confidence” and “hyper-happiness”, even if only temporarily and only for a price, which can also be a disease. [See problem Resistance.]  

I see the following main differences to the usual psychotherapies:

  1. In them, “ego strength” comes first and “self strength” comes second.
    In “primary psychotherapy” it is the other way around: “Self-strength” (religiously: the power of God¹) comes first and “ego-strength” / human strength comes second.
  2. Another important difference to many other psychotherapies is that, in my opinion, health and illness are of relative importance and making them absolute leads to undesirable disadvantages and can even promote illness in the long run.
    While psychotherapies often have the problem of making certain therapeutic goals absolute and at the same time excluding their opposites, primary psychotherapy also integrates seemingly contradictory therapeutic goals. It integrates and promotes the absolute as well as the relative, unity as well as diversity, protection as well as sensitivity, security as well as openness. It promotes life and functioning, the person and things, subjects and objects. It allows man to grow wings and roots at the same time. In addition, it strengthens his ego, but also the you. It does not unilaterally promote one therapeutic goal at the expense of opposing or different goals. It does not promote primary reality at the expense of secondary realities – in other words, it does not promote the inner sky at the expense of the world.

Some readers have concluded from my explanations that it is absolutely necessary to recognize and remove one’s own mis-absolutions. Whereas in the past it was the illness, or the parents, or one’s own guilt, or something else, now it is the mis-absolutions, or the strange Selves. This is a misunderstanding. I do not mean that the mis-absolutions are the evil to be eradicated. They are just relatives, even though they are absolutely felt and lived. They are rather unfavorable, but, as I said, they are not negative. Yes, as described, they can function as emergency, substitute solutions when the person does not dare to live from a true Self. They can be what B. Hellinger once called “little happiness,” though in a different context. The “It” becomes a little “it” all by itself through God – it does not need to be fought and liquidated. As a little “it” it is restored to the position to which it belongs.

  1. Psychotherapy should be able to use all psychically relevant aspects (→Summary Table).
    I.e. Primary Psychotherapy (pPT) can (!) include physical closeness (→ Body Psychotherapy) or – where appropriate – spiritual or religious practices (see examples below). Just as love does not exclude anything that helps, pPT does not exclude any kind of help.
  2. Each patient should receive a very individual therapy – independent of any psychotherapy guidelines.

– I was very impressed by the way a therapist named Sergeant Choi treats mentally ill soldiers in South Korea. In short, she hugs the soldiers, caresses their faces, washes their feet, and so on. She also says: “I share your pain, take care of yourself, I will not forget you, I will visit you from time to time. If you need me, call me, keep up the good work, etc.”  Most of mothers will behave towards her sick child as well. Ms. Choi does not explicitly refer to a particular religion but similar behavior is also reported by Jesus.
 – Therapeutic touch (TT)238(More in, 2019) and other things that are good for P’s body like massages (Scharfetter), hugs and so on, see previous point.
 – Professional “cuddle therapies”, which fortunately are increasingly being offered.
 – Art therapy, sport and everything else that makes sense – this also includes what is normally / on average nonsensical, because that which makes sense is also a relative category.
– “Absolute therapies”/ “anti-traumatic therapies”, “dramatic therapies”, etc. = all psycho-therapies that change the absolute realm of the person.
Like: – The primary psychotherapy propagated here
   – AA groups and similar
   - Janov’s Primordial Therapy (with the limitations mentioned there) – So-called exorcism, which I am very critical of, but do not completely reject. This method has something if it is done by experts as a means of strengthening the personal center, for example in the form of appropriate prayers, and not as an exorcism of the devil or also as an exorcism of something else that burdens the person, because it is not about eliminating (exorcising) negatives, but relativizing them in relation to the +A.
   - Meditations 239For every day meditation is very good Sarah Young: “Jesus Calling” See Lit. Or see German long version, if applicable, blessing, praying for the patient (with or without him). This also includes the problem of so-called exorcism, which I do not completely reject. This can not be discussed further in this work.

  Example cases

  1. A 60-year-old patient reports that she has suffered all her life from the death of her little brother. As a ten-year-old girl, she had to take care of her little brother because her mother had little time. At that time, she and her friend played with her little brother as a doll. They bathed him in a cold bath and her brother got pneumonia and died. She knew, not only from previous psychotherapy, that her brother’s death was not her fault because it was her mother’s fault and not hers. On the other hand, she was well aware that she had made a mistake and was not completely blameless, as she had been told. That is why she still feels guilty. I told her that before God it does not matter whether someone is 100% guilty or only 1% guilty, and that it is also secondary whether the guilt is real or supposed. (For who is able to judge that?) In the end, only God knows. It does not matter to Him whether the guilt is real or not, but only that the person thinks, “I am sorry. And thereby all guilt is lifted/removed for him. His grace is always greater than our guilt. His grace is the real greatness, and our guilt is “small and low” in comparison (G. von le Fort). Besides, I believe that her brother is now in heaven and doing well. And when he sees his sister with her feelings of guilt from there, I am sure he would advise her to continue to live free and untroubled.
  2. A mentally ill man came to see me because, in spite of various therapies, he could not get over the fact that he had refused to help his dying wife. Although he said he didn’t believe in God and didn’t belong to any church, I advised him to confess his sins to a trustworthy priest. (“That’s their job!”). “Just try it, you have nothing to lose!” So he did, and it was the turning point in his recovery.

Accordances  with other Psychotherapies

In primary psychotherapy, as well as in the message of Jesus, all psychotherapeutic schools can be found (but relativized!).

E.g. Behavior therapy: Many things are similar to the commandments in the Old Testament, which demand correct behavior.
Systemic therapies: See references in the Bible. For example, Jesus’ statements about how to treat one’s relatives, enemies, and friends, the equality of all people before God, helping the weak and sick, and so on.
Analytical therapies: The psychoanalyst creates a framework of emotional security in the transference situation in which the patient can solve his problems without fear. This framework is similar to the one we receive, made stronger by the +A.
The main humanistic psychotherapies are listed in the table ‘Psychotherapeutic Schools’. One could also mention: body therapies, meditations, blessings, and similar ‘methods’ as practiced by Jesus. It’s about a ‘+ A-based’ variety of methods that do justice to the diversity of the individual – just as a mother doesn’t raise her child according to one particular method.
General: The importance of empathy is generally accepted in all psychotherapies. A good therapist does not have to believe in God. God forbid! The Spirit of God blows where it wills and is not bound to any particular denomination. Rather, a good therapist should have a fundamental love for the patient and also for himself. I believe that many therapists have this love. In my opinion, such an attitude is crucial and will be transmitted to the patient, even if the therapist uses strategies that do not directly imply such an attitude. On the other hand, it is surprising, though typical, that the term “love” rarely appears in current psychotherapeutic literature.240For example, you cannot even once find the keyword `love´ in the „Wörterbuch der Psychotherapie“ by Gerhard Stumm!
Further: Most schools of psychotherapy today also agree that not only the person is treated in isolation, but also his or her entire environment, i.e. everything that is psychically relevant to the person.

Practical Implementation

  • Initial step: The ‘primary psychotherapy’ integrates the usual psychotherapies from a Christian or love point of view. But this partly leads also to other therapeutic priorities.
First: ‘+ A-based’ variety of methods and the patient’s disburdening and supporting by appropriate attitudes such as the unconditional pledges from God¹/ love.241(To meditations, see unabridged German version.)
The treatment method should correspond to the respective patient, which means that one does not give priority to one or another method independently of the respective patient.
• Further steps:
     a) Examples of ‘primary-based behavioral therapy’.
For example, depression: exercises directly against depression (depressive thoughts, feelings, behaviors) – as described in detail in the literature. (That’s why I won’t go into them here.) But even more important, I think, are “paradoxical” exercises and meditations that can be described as “pro-depression” (better: pro-sadness). For example: “Practice not only to be strong and more groovy, but practice even more to allow yourself to be weak and practice to cry more often!” For example, stutterers: Practice not only to speak correctly, but even more to stutter (motto: “I am allowed to do it”).
For example, psychosis: Practice not only to be less crazy, but sometimes to act crazy on purpose, etc.
b) A “primary-based psychoanalysis” focuses on the recognition of strange Absolutes (sA) – which can be less favorable, but sometimes more favorable – but not on their general elimination, because they are already relativized when we bring the positive Absolute into play. In addition, the sA should also be available as emergency solutions.

(See also the example in ‘Psychiatry’ section ‘Obsessive-compulsive disorders‘.)

Therapeutic Goals / Value Hierarchies

Hint: A superior, higher-valuated Relative is only comparatively higher!242Compare: It is more important to follow the traffic rules than to transgress them. Sometimes, however, the opposite is more appropriate.
Positive Absolutes are +A / God¹/ (love) and people with their `absolute attitude’.
The value hierarchies listed in the table correspond to primary and second-rate therapy targets.

The Top Therapeutic Goal

In my opinion a person has already reached the highest goal of therapy or life if he has a positive basic attitude to the positive Absolute (or whatever he believes it to be). This could also be called “primary virtue” or “Positive primary will” or positive `The absolute attitude´. (I have already mentioned it several times.)
Very simply said: If he is one with principle goodwill, he has already arrived at the most important thing (for me), which I call +A /God¹/his Self. He does not have to go anywhere else, he has already reached the goal. He does not have to become another person, he does not have to do anything etc. – he can be however he is.
I consider all other goals to be relatively important (by no means unimportant!). They are usually relatively good (“secondary virtues”). But because of their relativity, the relative good can sometimes be relatively bad. It may be useful in some individual cases (!) to advise the patient to maintain or even increase his addiction, to regress rather than progress, to be evil rather than good, to be aggressive rather than peaceful, etc., because if he has to be peaceful, he has to be evil. Because if he has to be peaceful, for example, he will, according to the “law of the emergence of the opposite”, produce aggressiveness in himself or in other people, which, in my opinion, is even stronger than normal, “relative” aggression.

On the Role of Therapists and Patients

Here only keywords in reference to meditation ‘orientation and freedom’. 243See unabridged German version of chapter ‘Meditations’. 

Therapist and patient should try
– to be authentic but they may also play a role.
– to accept and love each other but they may also hate themselves and the others.
– not to demand anything of themselves or the others (not a must) but they may also demand.
– to understand the other but they may also misunderstand him,
– to recognize and respect their limits and of other people, but they can also exceed them.
– to be open but they may also close down.
– to solve the problems but they may leave them unresolved or even enlarge them.
– to have success in therapy but they may also fail.
– to tell the truth but they may also lie.
– to be strong, clever and wise but they may also be weak, stupid and immature.
– to be grown up but they may also be a child, even childlike.
– involve God¹or spirituality but they may also exclude them etc.

Note: The first is usually the most favorable but rarely the unfavorable, too. But even if it is the most favorable, it becomes more unfavorable when it becomes a must.

Causal Therapies

                    “Everything is allowed but not everything is beneficial” (1Cor 6:12). 

Hypotheses: Optimal are causal therapies that integrate symptomatic therapies.
The causal therapy is mostly better than the symptomatic.
For general solutions see → Solutions.
The same applies to causal therapies and to first-rate solutions.
The causal therapies have the +A / love as foundation.
• They have a +absolute core that redeems.
It is a gift of God¹ that man can accept (can – not must!) and has no conditions.
• Relative to this are causal therapies that depend in effort of man.
They will, I believe, most likely succeed if they have the base of the positive Absolute.244However the actual +Absolute is not man just by himself. He is too weak for that. As mentioned above, he is only absolute in choosing the Absolute.

Is the actual solution easy or difficult to achieve?
If C.G. Jung says: “Every real solution is only reached by intense suffering” 245(Carl Jung, Letters Vol. I, Pages 233-235.) then that is only true for solutions based on strange Absolutes (sA) because the actual ‘absolute solution’ (redemption) is already done when the person wants it. ( →`The absolute attitude´)Although the absolute solution is simple, it is very difficult for the Ego to forego the advantages of the strange Absolutes and relativize something that has absolute significance for us. (S. chapter Resistance). We can forego the advantages (mostly with withdrawal symptoms) 246Quote from Bodelschwing: “If you meet a saved addict, you meet a hero.” – but then best and easiest when we give God¹the absolute solution. Then the Self becomes absolute and everything else only a relative meaning. 

Symptomatic Therapies and Emergency Solutions

Emergency solutions are usually second rate solutions based on strange Absolutes.
They are less favorable and more expensive than the actual solutions. Synonyms for emergency solutions: replacement-, compromise-, pretense-, partial solution – frequently a solution at your own expense.
Any defense-mechanism and any second-rate behavior can serve as an emergency solution.
I will cover only a few important ones in the following due to lack of space. 

Contra Symptomatic Therapy

The lazy people are slaughtered – the world becomes diligent.
The ugly people are slaughtered – the world becomes beautiful.
The fools are slaughtered – the world becomes wise.
The sick are slaughtered, the world becomes healthy.
The old people are slaughtered – the world becomes young.
The saddened are slaughtered – the world becomes fun.
The enemies are slaughtered – the world becomes friendly.
The bad guys are slaughtered – the world becomes good. (Erich Fried: `Die Maßnahmen´) 247From: Erich Fried: Gesammelte Werke. Bd. 1. Wagenbach. München 1993, p. 565. © Claassen.
(See also Emergency solution with psychiatric drugs)

Symptoms are too often suppressed and fought against. However, psychic symptoms often have a function. If you remove the symptom, you remove its function! However, if the person needs the symptom or its function for mental stabilization or the like, another problem arises that did not need to arise. The symptom is gone – everything seems fine, but the underlying problem remains unresolved. Its solution is postponed. However, superficial treatment has its price: Drugs, once taken, become permanent. One drug normalizes blood pressure, another eliminates anxiety or restores mood, and so on. – Everyone is happy: the patient, the doctor, and the pharmaceutical companies.
R. D. Laing clearly expressed this danger: “Psychiatry can so easily be a technique of brainwashing, of inducing behavior that is adjusted by (preferably) non-injurious torture. In the best places, where straitjackets are abolished, doors are unlocked, leucotomies largely forgone, these can be replaced by more subtle lobotomies and tranquilizers that place the bars of Bedlam and locked doors inside the patient.” 248R. D. Laing: `The Divided Self´ p. 12.- S. bibliography. 

Similarly, one patient expressed: “The doctor has given his job to the drugs, which earn him the money. And because it’s a lot of money, more than you can imagine, it also has the doctor under control. The medical system as an offshoot of a drug industry grows inexorably. Then the doctor just thinks the drugs are doing the work for him. Seen in larger contexts, he then only makes the work for an industry that wants nothing more to do with the sick – on the contrary, the sicker, the more turnover …  Fighting the symptoms has the same basic idea as drug addiction… The pills help the patient to overcome his suffering. The patient becomes relaxed so that he can regulate himself. The consumer is not able to realize that the pill is superfluous, but it does not strengthen the personal center where this happens, it weakens it!” 249Maria Erlenberger: ‘Der Hunger nach Wahnsinn’, Rowohlt, Reinbek/Hamburg, 1977, p. 64
This does not preclude trying to mitigate or “fix” the consequences if necessary. However, workarounds are for emergencies, not normal cases. They are almost always more expensive than real solutions. Fighting the negative is typically symptomatic. It is common practice to fight disease and suffering. Well, diseases are consequences of causes, and you should “fight” the causes, not the symptoms. So I advise you to try to accept the symptom, go along with it, maybe even exaggerate it or create it on purpose. 250Mt 5:41: “And whoever makes you go one mile, go with him two.”

Keywords and comparisons:

There is no point in complaining about sore feet if you do not take off your tight shoes.
There is no point in complaining about sexual impotence if you do not resolve your conflicts with your wife.
There is no point in complaining about being overweight if you are not willing to eat less.
There is little point in complaining about your depression if you are not willing to submit. There is little point in asking God¹ to remove the symptoms if you do not remove the causes. 251Is it not good that God does not answer our superficial prayers for the healing of our bumps on our head in order to point to a causal solution? [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
You kill the messenger of bad news, but not the perpetrator.
You keep a crutch when you no longer need it.
We hit a wall, but instead of taking a break, we put on helmets and keep going, etc.

Pro Symptomatic Therapy

Consider: First put out the fire, then catch the arsonist.
(This does not preclude trying to catch the arsonist before he starts the fire).
This means that symptomatic therapy is often the focus of attention as an immediate measure – but causal therapy is the most important in the long run. (See also Jesus, who first heals and then says, “Sin no more!)
Similar: The relative (matter) comes first. (For example, Jesus also healed with the aid of matter – when he treated a blind person with sand and saliva – and not by prayer.)
Can symptomatic therapy also be of first-rate importance? Symptomatic therapy is of first-rate importance if it is integrated into the positive Absolute (+A). Therefore: “Do not despise relative, symptomatic aids. God¹does not do everything himself. He also helps by fellow human beings.”  Symptomatic therapy is also important if causal therapy is directly impossible.                                                                                                                  

A) Emergency Solution at the Expense of Other People

People who prefer this emergency solution pass their problems on to others and thus do not get sick. Or they fight in others what they hate in themselves. (→ Anticathexis). Therefore, they do not need a psychiatrist. They are prone to selfishness and aggressive pursuit of their interests. Their dynamics and behavior are essentially the same as what I wrote in “Personal Dynamic as It“. They also tend to pay a high price for it (e.g., loneliness, lack of love, dull or substitute feelings, etc.) – but that is not what we are interested in at the moment. The true, “healthy” self does not need to take from others. It has enough.

B) Emergency Solution at One´s Own Expense by Disease

                                                                          “I play dead to survive.” (A patient)

This is the most important emergency solution for our subject. He solves problems at his own expense with the help of illness. Usually the person in question (P) has been living on the “substance” for a long time without realizing it. Often because P is in a state of euphoria caused by positive Pseudoabsolutes and therefore does not realize his limits and overestimates himself! But at some point the substance is used up and the unconscious helps itself – it “makes” P ill.
How does this happen? The initial situation was that the person was no longer able to meet the demands, which in most cases came from the parents, and at the same time did not see or dare to see another way. He is overwhelmed and becomes ill in his need. Although he does not remove the demands, he protects himself from further excessive demands and alienation and creates an unconscious (!) alibi that saves his ego from ruin. He “sacrifices” part of his ego (health) to maintain this protection. (See also `Sacrificial dynamic´).
Note the dual nature of this solution: On the one hand, the above-mentioned fundamental conflict between the dominant strange Absolutes and the Self is partially resolved or at least weakened; on the other hand, the person pays a high price (illness) for it. Thus, psychogenic illnesses have important functions (!), without which their pervasiveness and persistence cannot be understood. 252See also: Morbid gain and Resistance.
In this way, the sick person can soften the indispensable demands and gain a certain stability, security and protection. He weakens the tyrannizing ideals* and taboos* as well as himself. It is a harsh and self-destructive solution, but it works. The (partial) sacrifice of the Self is the logical consequence of placing an alien above the actual Self. The inner formula is: “I really need to meet the requirements, but because I’m sick, I can’t.” The person does not dare to say: “I don’t want this! I want what I want!” 253From a religious perspective, perhaps it is better and simpler: “I want what God wants because God wants the best for me and has a better overall view of my life.”

The person affected does indirectly by the illness what they do not dare to do directly. You can also say: The person affected experienced a life, usually in childhood that seemed too dangerous, hostile or overwhelming. In order to avoid this, a kind of instinctive play-dead mechanism occurs, which can take different forms, ranging from mild to severe mental illnesses, such as autism and psychosis. In order not to die the “big death,” the death of what you believe to be your own self, you die the “little death”- you get sick. Mental illness thus appears to be the lesser of the two evils because the loss of the strange Self, which he regards as his own Self, appears to be the bigger one. From his subjective point of view P is not wrong. P has never known his own Self, how can he then believe that it is indestructible. So he rather dies a bit to survive at all. Since one cannot live (or dares not to), one only survives, vegetates or only functions. Thanks to the disease the person remains in mental balance: If the punishment by the strange Absolute is followed by the patient’s atonement (here in the form of illness), then everything seems to be well again and the person feels better. However, if the person dares to defy the demands of sA, P feels unbalanced, guilty and bad, or perhaps even sicker. We are thus faced with the paradoxical situation of feeling safe and “good” in the old processes, even if they make us sick, while the liberating path can initially trigger negative emotions and symptoms (!)254Prisoners often feel this way when being released after many years. The patient is in a similar situation: He does not “want” to be healthy although really quite wanting to.

The patient may think, “Now I have paid the price, now I have peace. Wrong! The problem remains unresolved, and this or another price must still be paid (e.g., continuing to take medication that is not really necessary, etc.). Certainly, risking one’s life² and identity is a difficult problem, but many people are more fortunate than others in their lives. Therefore, it is neither a prize to be healthy nor a failure to be sick. It is wise to try again and again to find the real solution – in my opinion it is the best basis for mental health, but it is not an absolute guarantee.

    If one tries to summarize the role of mental illness, one could formulate it as follows:
Mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, express compromises between absolutely internalized alien demands and vital personal interests, between the strange Self and the actual Self. They are the result of unconsciously resolving conflicts at one’s own expense (at the expense of health). They are expensive emergency solutions to protect the Ego from its downfall; alibis so that the Ego does not lose its self-respect. They partly sacrifice the Ego and partly protect it, partly destroy themselves and partly destroy others, partly submit to the idols and partly rebel against them, partly surrender to them and partly take revenge on them, partly adapt to them and partly defy them. They are weapons with which man inflicts wounds on himself and at the same time defends himself; they are the expression of a battle that has been won a little but lost a great deal – a stalemate in which no one is checkmated but all are half checkmated, and in which no new, decisive moves are seen or dared; they are the expression of gilded cages, crutches, of inner conflict situations in which one does not dare to renounce the corresponding advantages despite the enormous disadvantages, for fear of perishing otherwise. They express a lack of self-love and a misunderstood or false love of others; a neglect, even if mostly unconscious, of one’s own ego and of the constant attempts to give the ego value and meaning through some achievement. They express a relative life. The illness and its underlying strange Absolutes have become partly friends, but mostly enemies. The patient is partly free, but more a prisoner and an enemy of himself. The person is in a kind of permanent crisis in which he is under pressure to seek a new Absolute.

Mental illnesses have different forms and courses. These are essentially determined by the underlying Absolutes and their complexes. I have discussed elsewhere why this or that disease arises in certain situations or constellations. However, the disease always has a little life and laws of its own and fulfills certain functions (defense, balance, compensation of guilt, even meaning, etc.). Therefore, the disease does not disappear immediately when the underlying conflicts are resolved, and it is problematic to want to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

That is why we are always faced with attitudes like:
“Better ill and good than healthy and evil.”
“Better sick than … (unsuccessful, fat, aggressive, evil, ungrateful, unpopular etc.)”
“I’d rather die myself than to let die the strange Absolute.”
“I sacrifice my health for … .”
“Better to live on the substance and get sick than to disappoint others, better to become sick than to live on welfare, better to become sick than to be a burden to others/ than to endure the emptiness that might arise if I do less/ than to hurt someone” etc. The list goes on and on. Thus, many times potentially easy solutions are omitted and very unfavorable and expensive ones are preferred instead.
(See also chapter: Sacrificial dynamic and Resistance).

The Emergency Solution by Isolation

This illustration shows another emergency solution at your own expense.

This illustration shows another emergency solution at your own expense. It plays a special role in schizophrenia and autism.
The symbol on the left shows a protected self that is also sensitive to the outside world.
The symbol on the right shows a weak, vulnerable self that protects itself by isolating itself from the outside world. This means that too much protection/isolation on the one hand and too much openness and vulnerability on the other coexist and are mutually dependent..

C) Emergency Solution with More Old or New Absolutizations

                                            I’m scared to live my life. I am even more afraid of dying my death.
                                                   So I live another life and die a foreign death.

• We have assumed that an inhibited, unfree Self can go several ways to save itself from total destruction. In addition to the two previously mentioned emergency solutions, the possibility of defining one’s Self by other persons, things or ideas, like one did in one’s childhood by one’s parents, represents a third one. Again the person identifies himself not with his very own Self/ Absolute – usually unconsciously, the old strange Self/ Absolute is replaced by one or more new strange Selves/ Absolutes.
• But like with drug addicts, the person can also take to the old sA again – but then he must usually increase the `dose’.

Which are these absolutizations?

1. Human as Ideals*

Here, I repeat parts of `Metapsychiatry´, section `Personal system and relationship disorders´.

The typical process is as follows: A child identifies with his parents and their ideals* or later fights against them. In either case, he remains dependent on them (mentally). If he does not resolve this basic problem in one of the above ways, another way is to let other people into his center and become dependent on them. These other people are usually partners or idols to be admired and identified with. They are often people who leave home as early as possible or stay at “Hotel Mom” as long as possible. They can hardly be alone. Their own self gives them too little support. Therefore, they unconsciously prefer a partner who gives them what they do not have and believe they must have, or a fellow sufferer who does not question himself. Dependence on such partners can be one-sided, but more often it is two-sided.
Logically, there are a number of parallels between the dependency on parents and the later partner – one can say that almost the same (or mirrored) basic patterns must occur, unless the person has been able to solve the problems. That is, if he allowed his parents to dictate a certain rule of life (against his own inner self), he will let his partner do the same, because he has no position of his own. It is easy to see that such a partnership looks like salvation at first (and often both partners are really in love with each other) – but the crisis is already predestined. From now on, the same crisis repeats itself, the same disaster as in childhood, only played out with other people – instead of mother, now wife or daughter, instead of father, now husband or boss or son, instead of sister, now friend, or whatever the role distribution may be, or whatever it is called, on which we now depend, just to avoid having to look at our own still weak self. Again and again we are thrown back upon ourselves until we understand the solution.
In short, this tragedy ends like the previous one. What was once a support becomes a burden, what was once a home becomes a prison, what was once a tie becomes a chain, what was once gladly given to the other because he desperately needed it is now denied, turned into a weapon and used as blackmail. The beloved becomes the enemy, what seemed to be love becomes hate. But now it is easier to break up, to separate, to divorce. One believes, as the title of a book says, “Everything will be different with the next man (woman). Tragically: Many (not all!) of these separations, as well as many of these mental illnesses, would not have been necessary if – yes, if…. The people one becomes dependent on may vary, and one may try to lose oneself in the crowd. But again and again one’s own self stands up, wounded, humiliated, denied, like a neglected relative of which one is ashamed.
Perhaps, however, the affected person chooses a detour via a final variant of self-alienation and self-denial, by submitting not to people but to things or ideas.

2. Emergency Solutions with Absolutization of Things or Ideas

The unredeemed Self continues to wander restlessly. It has not found an inner home, inner peace, sufficient support, affirmation, and freedom in its parents, partners, or other people – that is, it has not found itself. The self we are interested in at this point, which has become ill, does not tend to solve its problems in a selfish way. It may, however, temporarily stabilize itself in another way, perhaps the most common of all emergencies, which is to seek the meaning of life in relative things or ideas. Again, there are many combinations with other solutions. We have all been there: tying our hearts to all sorts of things in this world, hoping that this time we will finally be happy now and forever. And everyone probably knows the disappointment when what is finally achieved neither satisfies nor brings inner peace and happiness. We depend on getting or achieving one or the other. Then possession or success determines our being. We should not be surprised if we lack self-esteem when we humiliate ourselves in this way and place possessions, success, work, or anything else higher than ourselves. But we have not been given any other means and see no other way. So we accumulate our money or something else instead of living. I have never met a millionaire who kept his word that once he had a million, he would just enjoy his life. No, he became even hungrier for the next million, and the one after that. He and we “expand,” and we expand the more the emptier our Selves are. An invention of the devil, as they say – a vicious circle, because the more you cram into the self, the poorer it gets.
This is especially true when people believe that an ideology can replace their self. It is just under a different name, and in some ways the most sophisticated of all. I admit, dear reader, that I now have some difficulty in proving the dubiousness of various ideologies, which is more difficult than the millions just mentioned. I do not think that money or certain ideologies are bad in general. But all things and all ideas should serve man, not the other way around. This means that man should not be dependent on them. This violates his true dignity, diminishes his freedom and makes him sick.
All world views, as well as all psychotherapies, should be checked before they are internalized to see if they uphold and promote the freedom, value and dignity, uniqueness and self-determination of the human being, which means nothing else than whether the self can be itself or not. A key criterion for me would be the answer to the question of whether the human being is accepted and feels comfortable in these ideologies without preconditions, or whether such preconditions exist, even if hidden (!). The motto of these cases is: “Only if you have done or become this or that, you have value and dignity”. Almost in parentheses one can add: “And since you do not fulfill this, you cannot claim this for yourself.
Unfortunately, there are some pitfalls built into most worldviews and some religions. They are not entirely bad, no – but they often give a wrong or ambiguous answer to the most important, existential question: e.g. “First you must … then you are”. But man wants to be loved for himself. He wants to be himself first and then do something. But we have been trained by different ideologies. We are insecure: “Can we really feel good and worthwhile without having achieved anything? “Can we be first? Always? All the time? Just like that? Just by being? But don’t we at least have to?” Even if we have hesitantly said yes so far, will we not change sides when they say: “Well, well, you may have the right to exist because you have not yet achieved anything, but you have not done anything bad or even evil.
Just as the great humanist Goethe has his hero Faust say at a crucial point: “Only he deserves his freedom and existence who has to win it every day anew!” Even the language of humanism, which is certainly one of the best world views, does not seem to confirm us enough in the depths of our existence. In humanism I must ultimately be human and useful, in materialism I must believe in the primacy of matter, in idealism in that of ideas, in socialism I must be social, in capitalism effective, and so on.
[It would also be a misunderstanding to interpret this work as if it were the primary goal to relativize the strange Absolutes (as I understand the ‘The Work’ method), without at the same time giving something better (+A). Even a dog will bite you if you take a bone away without giving it a piece of meat.]

I can identify myself partially everywhere, but completely nowhere. All these “isms” are missing the most important thing. It may seem a small thing if only this one thing is missing. But as the most important, the absolute, the central, it affects the last corner of a person and his everyday life. As a strange Absolute, it can – like an occupying power – determine all the essential rules of life, and of course fanatical ideologies are a hundred times worse than the above examples.
But where can I rest my self without immediately encountering signs with big, black letters? FIRST YOU MUST?
And do I look within myself? My conscience? Is this the last instance? Instance yes – but for me personally it is not the last liberating and satisfying thing. My conscience has always plagued and tormented me more than it has uplifted me. Sure, it has given me some good advice, and I would not want to live without it. But as my God? As my purpose in life? No! As my servant or advisor? Yes!
Is it not this special spirit that many of us seek? Is it not this very spirit that we are trying to give to our children or other loved ones, as has been emphasized, when we first say: “I love you as you are. You are good enough without doing anything. Your very existence is reason enough. And even if you have done wrong and bad things, you are the most important of all. And if you become a millionaire or a chancellor or Mother Theresa, please enjoy it – but it does not make you more lovable. And even if you have stolen, whored and drunk, you are still my beloved son or daughter. And if I advise you to stop whoring and drinking, it is not because you would be more valuable and lovable, but because you would get more of their life. Would that not be a good spirit? Personally, I found it most perfectly in the person of Jesus, who I think spoke to people in that way. But this is a very personal statement. And the so-called Holy Spirit not only blows in the Bible, but is probably the strongest and most alive there.
(See also `The Ego as Strange Self´.)

D) Emergency Solution by Anticathexis or Fewer Absolutizations

1. By anticathexis see above `Defense and Anticathexis´.
2. By fewer absolutizations: This emergency solution consists of trying to reduce the number of strange Absolutes (sA) (the “I-absolutely-must-do”) without questioning the strange Absolutes themselves.
This usually means: You reduce the requirements according to the motto: “I organize things differently. I do less, reduce hours of work.” This is not wrong but often brings only temporary relief when the “things” get less but the underlying compulsions of the things remain. The person in question generally overlooks the still existing hazard if he does not want to be liberated from his unconditional must in principle. Why? Even a single sA can ruin our lives if we cannot fulfill it but have to fulfill it.
And even if we do fulfill it again, soon we will get another “must-do” because something has become the meaning of our lives, the inner drug that we cannot do without.
3. A similar remedy is to adopt a relativistic or nihilistic attitude.

E) Emergency Solution with Psychiatric Drugs

“A psychotropic drug [ is a ] … drug that affects the psyche of humans symptomatically … This often leads to the shortening of a phase but not to the cure of chronic mental illnesses.”255From,10/ 2011. (bold written from me).
Guiding principle: “Use them like crutches etc. When your own strength is insufficient, ‘take’ them, then they will help you, but if you take them although you can walk on your own, they will harm you.”


The psychotropic drugs have the same advantages as other Symptomatic Therapies and Emergency Solutions, as I have already described.

They are primarily symptom relievers. They play a very important role as emergency solutions. They can promote causal therapies to some extent. They are very well suited to risk control and the safety needs of all stakeholders. At present, there is a tendency to use their advantages in a one-sided way: diseases should be eliminated as quickly as possible, without suffering and without cost, and ultimately with the aim of adapting to superficial normality and functionality.
On the other hand, there are also exaggerated tendencies of the “anti-psychiatry” community to renounce psychotropic drugs in principle.


               “Some psychiatric theory is often not much more than a collection of justifications
                 for the widespread use of psychotropic drugs.” (According to S. Gelmam)

The use and abuse of psychotropic drugs is enormous. Today, millions of people take psychotropic drugs for their overworked or broken souls. But: The side effects are underestimated and the benefits overestimated, and the treatment can be more harmful than the illness itself. Drug-induced well-being often replaces healing.
For example, the pharmaceutical industry promotes the idea that psychiatric drugs help people become who they really are. The problem is that these people only seem well, but they are not. You cannot tell that they are suffering. Outwardly they are in a good mood and (maybe still) able to cope with everything, but in reality they are already half broken, overloaded and burnt out. In addition, other people are irritated. For example, on the one hand, they see that the person is overburdened or living an unfavorable life, and on the other hand, they see that the person seems to be fine.
The pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on advertising as it does on research! For example, in 2004, U.S. pharmaceutical companies spent $57.5 billion on advertising, while spending a total of $31.5 billion on research and development.256From: › on 14.3.2014.
I suspect that the budget available for psychotherapy research is a fraction of that. And there is no lobby. It’s a matter of billions of dollars of profit or loss for the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to forming theories about whether mental illness is psychogenic or somatic. Therefore, it influences researchers in favor of the theory of primarily somatic mental illness in order to justify psychopharmacological treatment. Taking psychotropic drugs is similar to taking painkillers. Both do not cure, they only have a symptomatic effect. The problem of long-term use of painkillers is well known and rightly considered a stopgap measure. The pharmaceutical industry suggests that this is different from psychopharmacological therapy. I think this is wrong because it interferes with the real solution, the self-healing powers, the natural defenses, and ultimately the healing. Aren’t psychotropic drugs for the soul what cortisone is for the body? Do they not have the tendency: Once drugs, always drugs? Are we not often like those slaves who were content to receive an occasional treat (such as medication) from their master, but were denied freedom? Are we not important players in this game by joining the health craze of the zeitgeist?
[As early as 1932, A. Huxley designed a bleak future in ‘Brave New World’ where all people are made ‘happy’ by psychotropic drugs.]
A lot of people benefit from this: pharmaceutical companies, doctors, insurance companies, and so on. It is a multi-billion dollar business. Under the heading “Unheilige Allianzen” (“Unhealthy Alliances”) P. Sawicki, director of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, points out that “the professional societies and the scientists involved are financially dependent on the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical companies pay for congresses, research, or pay excessive honoraria to physicians and scientific opinion leaders. According to Sawicki, “several thousand euros for a half-hour lecture” are not uncommon. Where to draw the line between bribery and reasonable fees is difficult to determine.
Stefan Weinmann recently addressed this issue in his article “Erfolgsmythos Psychopharmaka”. (“The myth of the success of psychotropic drugs”, ibid))
 He questions the general prescription of antipsychotic drugs and their excessive increase. “A number of studies show the unexplained large increase, or at least the lack of decrease, in mental illness despite the availability of effective therapeutic methods”. (p. 12). He also points to outdated dogmas in psychiatry and criticizes the current psychiatric establishment. He calls for an alternative approach to psychosis, for a holistic and systemic view of psychosis that is not only one-dimensional biological (for the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry), but also psychosocial, and for the involvement of psychiatric-experienced patients in the professional system.

    Stop Taking Psychotropic Drugs?

Due to lack of space, I can only give rough guidelines in this work, because the decision whether and when to stop taking psychotropic drugs has to be made individually.
In general, it can be said that there is a tendency to make the absence of symptoms the most important criterion, and that psychotropic drugs are therefore often prescribed for too long or in too high doses. In general, one can recommend – as mentioned at the beginning:
“Treat psychotropic drugs as a crutch! Do not be too proud to use them, do not fight them wrongly, e.g. ‘Chemistry only harms’ or something like that, take them especially in case of emergency, before you collapse – but remember that they will not heal you, that these crutches can weaken you from a certain point on, and that there are other, very strong healing powers within and outside of you, which I try to illustrate in this work.”

” Recommended, more recent literature: Stefan Weinmann (s.a.); Peter Lehmann: “Psychopharmaka absetzen”; John Virapen and Leo Koehof; P. R. Breggin, F. Frese, L. Mosher et al. 257(See bibliography).

“Paradoxical” Therapy

Paradoxical is what is contrary to the mind.258That is why they are hard to be treated with logic. Paradoxical, crazy situations belong to our world. They play particularly a leading role in mental illnesses. They are difficult to understand and to treat. I started from the hypothesis that paradoxes result from Inversions.
I explained this in the section ‘About the emergence of paradoxes‘ in ‘Metapsychiatry’.
Paradoxical situations (apparently!) require “paradoxical” solutions/ therapies.259I deliberately put the term “paradox” in quotation marks, since it is not really a paradoxical therapy but one that the person concerned experiences as paradoxical but which in reality is only a seemingly paradoxical one. Therefore, I also avoid the term “counter-paradox” as used by the school of Mara Selvini Palazzoli. Why?

For example, if something that is only relatively negative is taken to be absolutely negative, or something that is only relatively positive is taken to be absolutely positive, then we are faced with the seemingly paradoxical task of correcting the too negative in a positive direction and the too positive in a negative direction. Exaggerated said: We should learn to hate what we love too much, we should love what we hate too much. This seems paradoxical, of course. But this is how inversions can be corrected. If we, as therapists, take a one-sided negative view of disease, disorder, or misbehavior, paradoxical situations will arise that cannot be resolved unless we see them as related. This attitude has far-reaching and surprising consequences.
For example, if we take the binge eating of the bulimic, the complaining of the depressed, or the insanity of the psychotic, our primary goal is to eliminate the undesirable behavior. This goal is certainly not a bad one. However, the goal of the patient accepting himself in spite of these disorders is more important. His person is the priority. The question of health or illness is secondary. According to the terminology of this work, a problem in the self-domain (absolute realm) is more important than one in the ego-domain (relative realm). But we take issues such as being healthy or ill, disturbed or undisturbed, right or wrong behavior, etc., very personally-as if it were our own failure, degradation, etc. That is, the symptoms, abnormal behavior, etc. become something unacceptable and hostile to the person. Their occurrence leads to (further) disturbance of the patient’s Self, especially his self-esteem. Normally, the patient tries to suppress or fight the symptoms. However, the more he does this, the more his Self is disturbed and the symptoms intensify. Thus, in addition to the actual relative problem, there is a much larger (absolute) problem, namely the violation of the person’s integrity. This is important for therapy because therapeutic interventions are completely different depending on whether the problem is relative or absolute. In this situation, it is wrong to see the improvement of symptoms or behavior as the most important goal instead of a subordinate therapeutic goal. Otherwise, the therapist tragically adopts the same basic attitude as this patient – to reduce it to a formula: “Change yourself and you will be fine! If, on the other hand, I consider the restoration of the self to be primary and the elimination of the symptom to be secondary, then a “paradoxical” strategy may be helpful, which could be formulated as follows: “Dear patient, if you are not accepting yourself because of your symptoms, but are thereby limiting your freedom, dignity, and integrity – then you should practice doing what you really do not like about yourself, deliberately and repeatedly. For example, I advise bulimics who are ashamed of binge eating to binge on purpose from time to time. Or, as already mentioned, I advise psychotic patients to be crazy on purpose, or depressed people to complain excessively on purpose and be a burden to others if they forbid themselves to do so, or people who stutter to do so on purpose, etc.
One of the most difficult problems arises from making moral good or evil absolute.
The true self should also be beyond (relative) good or evil. If this is not the case, it can be an important exercise to do the relative evil from time to time and to let go of the relative good from time to time. It is better to lose relative good than absolute good. It is often more important to consciously do the unacceptable (relative) negative than to practice positive behavior. It is more important to be able to be weak, incompetent, helpless, immoral… than to try to be positive all the time and have everything under control. Then we are living against our nature.
Such and similar “paradoxical” intentions or interventions have been known for a long time.

Some Examples:

  • Against the absolutizing of human beings: “Love your enemies” / “Hate your relatives”.
  • Against the absolutizing of earthly life: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let go of your life, you will save it.
    “When a grain of wheat dies, it produces many seeds. “Let the dead bury their dead.”
  • Against hubris: “Whoever wants to be the greatest, be the servant of all.” “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled.
  • Against work ideologies and rationalism: “Blessed are the spiritually simple (poor). “Those who have to grow up (and cannot be like children) will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven.
  • Against coercion: “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.260I name this the “Cassandra Therapy”.
  • – Jesus’ crucifixion itself seems paradoxical from the perspective of the intellect.


  • Against absolutizing property: “~Own as if you do not possess!”
  • Against idealizing the partner: “Those who have wives should live as though they had none.”
  • Against overadaption: “Do not lose yourself to this world, even if you live in it.”
  • Against absolutization power: “When I am weak, I am strong.”
  • Against rationalism: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”
  • Against absolutizing earthly life: “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
  • Against dogmatism: “~The letter of the (in principle good) law kills.”

Old Testament:

  • Against achievement-ideologies: “The Lord provides for those he loves while they sleep.” (Psalm 127:2) 261Partly analogous translations (in this order) from: Lk 23:34; Lk 14:26; Mt 5:44; Jn 12:20 ff; Jn 12:24; Mt 8:22; Mt 23:11;
  • 262Mt 19:30; Mt 7:21. To Paulus: 1.Kor 7:30 ff, 2 Kor 12:9, 1 Kor 1:27, Phil. 1:21. 

• Luther: Against moralism: “Sin bravely and believe all the more bravely in God’s forgiveness!”.
• H. Hesse: Against holding on: “Well, my heart, say goodbye and get healthy!”
• Goethe: Against clinging onto the earthly: “This die and be!”

Paradoxical intentions or interventions were rediscovered for psychotherapy especially by Viktor Frankl and Selvini Palazzoli.
Selvini Palazzoli formulated the treatment of paradoxes by counter-paradoxia. 263Selvini Palazzoli, Mara, l. Boscolo, G. Cecchin, G. Prata: Paradoxon und Gegenparadoxon, 9th Ed., Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart, 1996.
In systemic therapy, paradoxical interventions have been used mostly by P. Watzlawick, J.H. Beavin and D. Jackson as a means to  treat paradoxical communications.264Paul Watzlawick, Janet H. Beawin, Don D. Jackson: Menschliche Kommunikation. Formen, Störungen, Paradoxien. 6th edition, Huber Verlag, Bern – Stuttgart – Wien, 1982. Their methods: symptom-prescription, the positive reinterpretation of the symptom (reframing), relapse prediction, the indication of the usefulness of a symptom. One can also consider the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous, which involves a capitulation of one’s own will to the power of alcohol, as a paradoxical step that opens up a new, stronger perspective. But even the most correct paradoxical interventions should only be suggestions of relative importance because at a certain point it does not matter if and what you do: In front of God¹you are always free.
In other words: From a certain point, paradoxes, incompatible opposites and dilemmas can only be solved from a + meta-level (+ spirituality, + A, God¹). This is important for the healing of schizophrenia, because these sufferers are particularly involved in contradictions, paradoxes and dilemmas. (Further more in the unabridged German version.)

Concerning the Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia

             “A man who no longer loves and no longer errs should have himself buried straight away.” Goethe

I also refer to the chapter “Psychoses” in the section ‘Metapsychiatry’.
Knowing this chapter is useful in order to understand the following sections.

Current State of Therapy of Psychoses

My theory is that schizophrenia can in principle be understood and cured.
I present the basic pattern of the development of schizophrenia from a meta-perspective, which shows that most schizophrenias are based on disorders of fundamental dimensions of human existence and that, accordingly, fundamental existential psychotherapy (meta-psychotherapy) has the best prospects for healing. This meta-theory also encompasses the academic theories and therapies of schizophrenia (see later). However, it is more comprehensive than these because it takes into account not only scientific but also existential and spiritual aspects. To ensure this, I use a classification derived from language that captures everything that is psychically relevant, because anything psychic relevant can function as both a cause and a therapeutic agent.

My assessment – a brief outline.

1. The symptomatic treatment of psychosis has made tremendous progress in recent decades. However, it has developed unilaterally: the therapies are too symptom-oriented, too little causal.
2. The somatically oriented research and therapy dominates largely. The psychotherapy of psychoses plays a subordinate role if looking at the rapid success by psychotropic drugs. Psychotherapy is usually seen to be only complementary to drug therapy. However, conversely, drug therapy should be seen as complementary to psychotherapy.

[With regard to literature on the psychotherapy of psychoses, I recommend the work of S. Arieti, G. Benedetti, C. Scharfetter, M. Siirala, W. Daim, Peter Breggin, Ann-Louise Silver, Bertram Karon, Daniel Dorman, Robert Whitaker, or as a documentary movie; Daniel Mackler: „Take These Broken Wings — Recovery from Schizophrenia without Medication.“265  ]

3. The disadvantages of this situation are reflected too little.
a) In particular, the disadvantages and side effects of long-term therapies with antipsychotics.
b) The fact that the antipsychotics do not cure but only cause symptom elimination or improvement.
4. The theory of a primary metabolic disorder as the cause of schizophrenia, which is mainly promoted by the pharmaceutical industry, is largely uncritically accepted.
5. The pharmaceutical industry plays a too large role in this area.
6. Like somatic therapy, the psychotherapy of psychoses is essentially based on a materialistic, positivistic ideology and is therefore limited in its therapeutic power.
See Criticism of Materialism and to ‘Discussion about secular psychotherapies‘.

More details on some points

Problem Antipsychotics

I had also presented pros and cons in “Emergency solution with psychiatric drugs” Here are just some additional keywords regarding the antipsychotics, which are the psychotropic drugs used for schizophrenia treatment.
Their use in the short term is especially beneficial, considering the torture that people have suffered without medication in acute or severe phases in the past. In the long run, however, the question is to what extent a preventive long-term therapy prevents healing at a certain point. It is like having a crutch that, if used wisely, promotes healing up to a certain point, but then prevents it. 266(See below `Criterion relapse?´]

Having worked as a psychiatrist for 20 years, I have the impression that some people who have taken antipsychotics (and psychotropic drugs in general) for many years or decades have inhibited their personality development and thus made real healing impossible. On the other hand, overestimating one’s own powers is also detrimental. Again: “It is not weakness but wisdom to use antipsychotics like a crutch before one completely collapses. I suspect that the positive effects of antipsychotics – like those of Ritalin – are not permanent. G. Hüther says that the positive experiences with Ritalin obviously cannot be anchored in the brain. “If you paralyze the dopamine system in the midst of this ripening process with drugs (Ritalin), you deprive the children of the possibility to … develop complex abilities.”267[Gerald Hüther, neurobiologist from Göttingen, in Geo 11/2009, p. 154 about Ritalin.]
Even with anxiety therapies, the fearlessness produced by anxiolytics scarcely takes advantage of my experience in coping with new anxiety. Own experience: In order to fight my height fears, I jumped three times with the parachute from 600m height – however with plenty of anxiolytics. My height fears became worse afterward.

Assessment of a Former Patient:

D. Buck, herself a psychosis patient in the Third Reich, criticizes the one-sided psychiatry of the past and present, such as the “claim to omnipotence of psychiatry with its definition … that psychoses are primarily caused by a cerebral metabolic disorder, according to the psychiatric doctrine of the time of ‘hereditary and physically induced and therefore incurable endogenous psychoses’, for which we had to pay with our forced sterilizations and the ‘euthanasia’ victims with their lives. Today’s psychosis sufferers have to pay for this ‘medical disease model’ by taking psychotropic drugs, possibly for the rest of their lives, and experiencing their side effects … The psychiatrists know as well as we do that this drug suppression of symptoms cannot cure. So what could be more natural than to ask those who have cured themselves what helped them? Psychiatrists should also be interested in this activation of self-help resourcefulness. But then the `disturbed brain metabolism´ as the primary cause of psychosis would no longer be correct. These psychiatrists do not realize how much of a burden a brain defect that can only be regulated by medication can be for those affected.” One should “take the missing psychiatric research into the mental causes of our psychoses and depressions into one’s own hands. Up to now, 98% of the research funds go to somatic psychiatric research.” 268[Dorothea Buck in:  3/2014.]

Criterion Relapse?

So-called relapse prevention plays a prominent role in the therapeutic recommendations for schizophrenia. The term “relapse” needs to be examined critically. Obviously, it means that a patient has schizophrenic symptoms again. From the point of view of a therapy that is primarily focused on symptom freedom, a relapse is a negative finding from the outset and should be avoided by higher or longer antipsychotic medication.
Of course, this is the primary wish of all involved. However, you would see it differently from a healing perspective.
Why is that?
I have often thought about the relativity of disease or disease symptoms. My hypotheses made there state that all symptoms of illness, including ‘relapses’, should in some cases be viewed positively and treated non-medically. This will be the case, for example, when an otherwise adequately stabilized patient has been subjected to temporary psychical stress or has exposed himself to it – for example, in an attempt to avoid costly defense mechanisms! The appearance of symptoms in such situations would be comparable to the reappearance of anxiety, for example, in the context of anxiety therapy. Just as it would be wrong to advise a patient to avoid all anxiety-provoking situations or to take anxiolytic drugs in advance, it seems to me that an attitude of trying to avoid the recurrence of schizophrenic symptoms at all costs is also wrong. Not only would this be too cautious, and not only would it burden the patient with avoidable drug side effects, but above all it would suppress healing tendencies or prevent healing altogether.

Unfortunately, the official statement of many psychiatric associations is: “Schizophrenia is incurable. This statement is disastrous and one-sided. On the one hand, it contradicts the fact that 10 to 30% of patients have a so-called complete remission after an initial illness. It is also based, as I believe I can prove, on limited psychotherapeutic theories or metabolic theories that are massively propagated by the psychotropic drug lobby. And, as explained above, this statement is also based on exaggerated criteria of symptom freedom. These statements are completely counterproductive from a psychotherapeutic point of view, as are the contrary opinions that all schizophrenia is curable.

It should be added here: “Stop antipsychotics very slowly and flexibly, usually in consultation with your psychiatrist. Keep in mind that stopping the medication will also eliminate some side effects and may make you feel `too good´ and think that you must now make up for all you have missed, instead of slowly building your life as you would without a crutch.” On the question of stopping antipsychotics see also  Emergency solution with psychiatric drugs‘ and `Problem antipsychotics´.

Criterion: Incomprehensibility of the Symptoms

When symptoms are not understood or cannot be explained, there is a tendency to interpret them as biological and to treat them with medication. This is not only a reflection of past psychiatric views.
For many psychiatrists, however, schizophrenic symptoms were or are in principle understandable, explainable, psychotherapeutically treatable, and curable.
I think above all of S. Arieti, G. Benedetti, E. Bleuler, W. Daim, J. Foudraine, R. D. Laing, Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, Marguerite A. Sechehaye, C. Scharfetter, M. Siirala, A. Finzen and others. When attempting to explain “schizophrenia”, I take these authors’ insights into account, too.I consider the schizophrenic symptoms to be principally explainable and curable. 
I see the difficulty in arriving at a comprehensive theory of “schizophrenia” less in the lack of adequate explanations than in the fact that schizophrenogenic factors are so ubiquitous that a common denominator, which I have tried to describe with “inversion,” is difficult to find.
With regard to the question of the incomprehensibility and inexplicability of behavior as a decisive criterion of its pathology, I would like to make the following remarks:
      • Separating the healthy from the sick and the understandable from the incomprehensible is seen as too absolute. I believe that there are smooth transitions or a relativity of these concepts. Without wanting to caricature: How often do I not understand my wife, even after more than 40 years of marriage, and how often do I not understand myself? Or: Are not schizophrenic symptoms just as difficult to explain as an adult’s fear of a spider, a stutterer’s fear of speaking, or an anorexic’s fear of gaining weight?
Is the love of the almost 72-year-old Goethe for the 17-year-old Ulrike von Levetzow not as crazy as “schizophrenic” behavior? And why do we find the one understandable and the other not? And why do we smile indulgently at the one (or even find their behavior admirable because it goes against the norm) and give the other pills according to a norm? Or is it the suffering we want to prevent? But for many, like Goethe, it was foreseeable that their behavior would rather bring suffering.
      • The incomprehensibility and inexplicability frighten us, and we will tend to react fearfully, overlooking the fact that fear is a questionable guide. Therefore, as long as we declare schizophrenic behavior to be incomprehensible and inexplicable, we will consequently treat it with suspicion. Sure, some schizophrenic symptoms seem strange. But when we explain them, they lose their uncanny and frightening effect.

Healing from Schizophrenia without Antipsychotic Drugs?

In principle, yes! See reports of cured patients 269Reports of persons concerned: Renate Klöppel, Arnild Lauveng, J. Greenberg, Partly: ‘Stories – Successful Schizophrenia’ at:, 2009. and of the psychiatrists mentioned above and in the footnote. 270Psychiatrists: Marguerite Sechehaye, Silvano Arieti, P.R. Breggin, M. Eigen, Margaret Little, John G. Gunderson, Loren R. Mosher, Harold F. Searles, Murray Jackson, Bertram P. Karon, Daniel Mackler, Edward M. Podvoll, Robert Whitaker (→ reference list).
Good overview of the most important points: F. Frese et. al. at:, 2009.]
See also the section Emergency solution with psychiatric drugs‘ and `Problem antipsychotics´ and the following section `Primary psychotherapy of schizophrenia´. `

However, the path to healing can be very tough. Why?
1. This stems in particular from the described identification of the person concerned with the strange Absolutes (sA). These have become strange Selves and the attempt to live with the actual Self is normally coupled with an existential crisis.
2. I have described how confusions of fundamental dimensions of our existence give rise to new alien entities with alien structures and dynamics which i have called ‘It‘. These are also characterized by the fact that they materialize themselves – all the more so the longer they persist. This also means that one can assume corresponding biochemical or organic correlates and these can naturally only be dissolved slowly.
(See also chapter `Resistance´.)
As I said, there is no guarantee of healing even with the best method. As with other illnesses, it is always a good idea not to try to force a cure, but rather to accept it initially and, if necessary, permanently. Otherwise you end up in a fight against yourself and overwhelm yourself.
 This withdrawal from what had established itself as a strange Self is quite comparable to the arduous and severe withdrawal from hard drugs. On the one hand, the person usually has to work hard for a while, but on the other hand, I believe that the addition of spiritual means, such as those used in anonymous self-help groups, to the tried and tested psychotherapeutic methods makes the healing forces much stronger than the forces of illness. In my experience, these efforts are almost always doubly and triply worthwhile.

Primary Psychotherapy of Schizophrenia

Guiding Principles and Hypotheses
  1. Primary psychotherapy is also used for patients with chronic course and severe psychotic symptoms.
  2. After years of experience I think  that schizophrenia and other non-organic psychoses are explainable and curable.
  3. I believe that curing schizophrenia is relatively easy in theory, but often difficult and exhausting in practice (→ Resistance).
  4. I think it is very useful to participate in a self-help group. I would prefer a group with a concept similar to Alcoholics Anonymous.
  5. Parallel counseling/treatment of significant others significantly increases the chance of recovery.

To the emergence of schizophrenic symptoms see the corresponding statements in the section ‘Psychiatry. An overview of what is meant can also be found in the `Summary table´.

Primary Psychotherapy is based on +A (Love/God¹). That is, the strongest +meta-level is the positive Absolute (+A), which corresponds to unconditional love or, in religious terms, the unconditionally loving God¹. This love is simple, free, and unconditional. I can be in it no matter how I am.
This spirit integrates all positive forces and relativizes all negative influences – both from the patient and from the therapists with their different psychotherapeutic approaches.
Primary psychotherapy assumes that every person, even the sickest, owns an indestructible, unassailable, quasi-divine Self in their core – in addition to also existing strange personality parts. This Self is the strongest force against pathogenic influences.
By contrast, secular-based psychotherapies are based on a relative or secondary image of humanity that I call the second-rate personal (p²). Its essential characteristics can be found in the `Summary table´ in column L.

The strange Self of P² is not experienced as unbreakable, unassailable, etc. And if both the sufferer and the therapist have this second-rate image of man, then it is likely that such therapy will only be able to achieve partial success.
If love/God¹ is the strongest and simplest therapeutic force against schizophrenia, why is healing usually so difficult and takes so long? As mentioned above, I assume that certain strange Absolutes are transmitted unconsciously, mostly during childhood (or prenatally).

I think the corresponding effects on the embryo are very likely. For example, recent research suggests that predispositions for autism are created before birth.271(FOCUS online 30.3.2014) The same may be true for schizophrenia or other psychoses. However, I would generally interpret these changes not as real changes in the embryonic brain cells, but rather as the result of “inversions” that have already created “second-rate realities” in the embryo that are characteristic of autism and other psychoses. But even if they were predominantly organic, I think they are reversible.

These strange Absolutes are materialized / somatized sooner or later and gain an existential meaning for those concerned. Even if they have certain disadvantages and future risks are thereby pre-programmed, they represent decisive living foundations for the child.
In primary psychotherapy these vital basics are now questioned in their absoluteness. This is accompanied by a deep shock that is difficult to bear. Since the old attitudes mean life and existence for the person concerned, their questioning is experienced as a questioning of his existence and life as a whole, which feels like dying. This hard way of healing is made even harder by the fact that the person usually has to walk alone, because the people or groups around them have similar philosophies of life and are not able or willing to give them up. For they too, like all of us, are more or less dependent on them and are not able or willing to give them up.
Why only some members of such groups become ill and others do not, I discussed in → Emergency solution A.


Remarks for Patients

Note: I wrote the following sections of this chapter for patients some time ago. Therefore they contain sometimes repetitions or overlap with what has been said so far.

Basic Attitudes

This section deals with certain basic attitudes toward life that may be favorable or unfavorable to us. But the question of whether we behave favorably or unfavorably is only of relative importance, for the fact that God loves us is far more important even when we behave unfavorably-and this will always be the case from time to time. Note: The unfavorable attitude may even be temporarily more important than the favorable one!

  Relatively unfavorable BASIC ATTITUDES

  Relatively favorable BASIC ATTITUDES
It is unfavorable if you are eaten up by problems. The affected then lives of the substance. It is unfavorable if one has no personal center or this is occupied by something or dependent on something. It is unfavorable to absolutize Relatives. This unfavorable basic constellation could be symbolized as follows:

 Here the personal center, the core, is occupied by various problem areas. (black: negative, white: positive strange Absolute). These form new centers besides the actual person’s core and cover up the original core. Relative things have now become absolute and existential. The person concerned can no longer take them easy. Mis-absolutizations or mis-centerings took place. Signs for this are: I-really-have to-settings/ -actions. For example: I need to be perfect, be a good person, have to do this or that, etc. In the beginning, the absolutized often gives pleasure (!) (addiction). It is only later when suffering comes . No-way-I-may- attitude.
Either-or-attitudes. Black-and-white-attitude. Everything-or-nothing-attitudes.
Friend-or-enemy-classifications (see below).
To be other-directed, for the core is occupied by something foreign.
He is externally-driven but also externally-based!
Feeling: “I function” or even “I am externally controlled”.
Being into something without being able to stop or, more frequently, being blocked. False absolutizations, for example frequent and misplaced: “never”, “always”, “absolutely”, “at any price”, “impossible”, “unforgivable”, an imperative “must”! I play a role, instead of being myself. I believe, many mental illnesses can be easily or at least partly explained by this model presented here. For example feeling glum (→ depression), splitting (culminating in schizophrenia), lack of freedom and narrowness (anxiety disorders), must (obsessive-compulsive disorders), sucking in relative content by the starving center (addiction), getting devoured (ranging from burnout to the contributing cause of cancer?) and so on are clearly recognizable by the occupation of the core as shown above. The person concerned can also try to suppress, negate, or demonize the problem altogether, kind of counter-reacting. Often, at first, something is idolized (often unconsciously !) later if one suffers from it, demonized. Motto: The spirits that I’ve cited my commands ignore. There have been mis-absolutations which determine and alienate man. Man is in the dichotomy of enmity and hubris towards himself. He has often become the “best friend” for others (more rarely also for himself, compare narcissism) – but the worst enemy for himself.
It is favorable if you do not get eaten up by problems. If you have a center that is independent and unassailable that is strong and free. If you do not subsist on the substance but preserve it. This basic constellation can be symbolized as follows: free, protected Self.   
A core and an exterior area can be distinguished: The Absolute is in the core ; “Outside” are all other mental important areas but these are only relatively important. This could be for example, relationships with people, the environment, also performance, success, morality, conscience, security, health, appearance, possessions, etc. The outside area thus includes the relative. However, the most important thing, the real, the existential, the Absolute, the core Self with the following characteristics are in the core area: Just as I am, I am good enough. I am free. I am allowed to be as I am, whatever it looks like. I am allowed to be ill, imperfect, weak, immoral, selfish, distressing, useless, abnormal or anything, I always remain good enough. There is also written in the core: The existential, the most important runs best all by itself (!), so you can rely on God¹ and have not to rely on yourself or other people. The person concerned has something like an inner island of freedom, basic well-being, esteem, joy and serenity of heaven. He has inner peace. He has inherent substance, a strong, free Self. He has identity. (Motto: I am who I am.) He has a high degree of free will. The focus is on self-determination and faith in God¹. This center exists independently of what happens outside. It is indestructible. The attitude in the “outdoor area” is:
“I want to try to do the right thing voluntarily but I do not have to – I can also relax in the center. But because it is unwise and mostly disadvantageous to only rest, I want to try to do the respective meaningful.” Then this is an additional enrichment of life for me and others but not a compulsion because you can always retire to the base and rest there. This is very useful, especially in emergencies. Keep in mind that you can never give/get completely safe, constantly valid advice in the relative area (outside area) because everything in the relative area has two or more sides to it and this area only contains rules that also include exceptions. Favorable: thinking in fluent transitions, ‘both this and that’-thinking in the relative area. Being-here, being-present feeling: “I am living.” not: “I am functioning.”
It is unfavorable if there is no difference and no distinction between what is most important and what is secondary. There is no or a weak core (base) and secondary matters determine the person concerned. Man becomes thus more or less like a plaything of the secondary area. One’s own ego or Self is stunted, torn, perhaps also compensatory inflated (false pride). One is no longer (or no longer completely) one’s own Self.It is important that the core (the Self) is protected. I do not have to protect the core. God¹ protects it. Therefore, it is indestructible. I do not have to defend this inner being. It is enough if I defend my I. Its right to self-determination, freedom, dignity, integrity, its being loved by God¹ and its being the image of God¹ are inviolable.
The resulting attitudes are unfavorable:
First achieve, then be.
First perform, then live.
First function, then live.
First performance, then well-being.
First change, then self-acceptance.
First the earthly, then the heavenly.
Favorable is:
First be, then achieve. [3] First life, then performance.
First live, then work.
First well-being, then performance.
First self-acceptance, then attempts to change.
First the heavenly, then the earthly.
Disadvantage is: First I have to be in a certain way, then I am OK.Favorable: I am, regardless of my deeds, good enough.
A compulsion as well as a pleasure-and-mood principle is unfavorable.The voluntary principle is most favorable. (Pay attention it is unlike the pleasure-mood principle!)
First I have to earn my right to live, then I can feel comfortable.I can already feel good, always. Only then I want to see whether this or that meaningful thing is to be done.
I must prove and defend myself. Putting demands on oneself and on the world. Standpoint: I have to!I do not have to prove or justify myself. To wish oneself or the world to do something. Attitude: I am, I may – I want to try.

 These people are like swimmers who always have to struggle to survive. They carry an inner yardstick with which they beat themselves to death finally (F. PERLS). Or they kill others with it. Their condition is strongly linked to their respective performance. We undermine our Self, the foundation of our personality, using imperative demands.

These people stand firmly on a rock. They can stay where and as they are. They can go backward, too. They do not drown whatever they do. The basis is named: “I am good enough.”, religious: “God¹ always loves me.”.
It is unfavorable to have the wrong life strategy. This is mainly the case if putting secondary and less important things first. So, if I live according to the scheme: first B, then A, it is as if I took the second step before the first one in order to stumble through life. The compulsory principle B ranks before love principle A. It is advantageous to set priorities in life correctly: “First A, then B” could be the motto. More precisely: “First and always A – then try B”. A = freedom, self-determination, inner peace and well-being (sunbathing in the love of God¹.) B = endeavor for meaningful achievement, etc. This means that more important than the question of whether I am right or wrong, is, I can act wrongly and live with it while not making this question the basis of my life.
It is unfavorable to focus on the optima in life, which is to live perfectionist. Traveling through life is like traveling by car: you drive badly when following no traffic rules as well as following all of them. It seems bad to see life primarily as a succession of performances of one’s duty.Freedom is more important than perfection. Living is like driving. You drive best when being joyful and loose as compared to totally correct. Also: First refuel, then drive. The joy of life should be a priority before discipline. Motto: Everything is allowed but not everything is good.
The person concerned lacks the first and most important answer (listed in the right column, under 1.) when confronted with problems. He is directly dependent on the solution of the problems. They determine him, take him captive. He is not above the problems. In the case of faults, he reacts self-accusing or self-destructive. One can solve problems worse, reach life goals worse when one submits to them. Then one is not master of the situation. It is unfavorable to recognize no fault as one’s own but it is perhaps even more unfavorable to bear the blame for a long time.People with a favorable basic strategy have two answers when problems occur:
1. and most important answer: I am free – in God¹. This makes me stand above the earthly problems. I am and remain good enough whether I solve the problem or not. I do not have to solve the problem. That means. First one should remember this basis, then only, secondarily give oneself the following
2. answer: try to solve the problem from a free position. Fault (guilt) is treated relatively, secondary. It is favorable to give your own guilt to God¹.
It is an unfavorable and also unnecessarily strenuous faith if one believes in earning one’s own worth. Work first, then only self-worth and feeling good, is a questionable life maxim. However, work or workability often has the status of an idol in our society. But there could be written on such people’s gravestone: “His life was only work and the fulfillment of duties.” Such a gravestone can be thrown away. Someone once said it was a tombstone for a horse but not for a human being.From a religious point of view, man can feel like God’s image in every situation of life. What would be higher? You can even read about human beings in the psalms: “You are gods.” Man can say that he is always good enough before God¹, without preconditions, that he has an invariable basic value without having to give something in advance. Man is thus entitled to “basic well-being” and deeper, existential joy. Motto: A holy joy and serenity shall not leave me.
It is unfavorable for us if our core definition includes only the adult role.In my opinion, the strongest core definition is to be the child of God¹ and to subordinate the adult role with all its responsibilities. (See more details later.)
It is unfavorable to believe that oneself or the world is quite good or quite bad. In the first case one is naive and sooner or later will be confronted with reality. In the second one you will quickly give up. This also spoils the joy of life.It would be good if man, so you, too, dear reader, would not only think that he himself but also the other people, the world and just the entire life is good enough. Motto: It’s good enough. (I deliberately write “good enough” because of course a man or life is not only good.)
It is unfavorable to believe that one is ultimately subjected to fate or matter or nothing. Of course, God’s existence cannot be proved. However, neither his non-existence. In this case, it is rather stupid, or at least unfavorable not to believe in anything.It would still be beneficial if one had deep down a primal trust, an existential feeling of security and safety. This should extend beyond the current condition, physical well-being and death.
Any strange Absolute (sA) comes first and the Self second. Man is dependent and outside himself-determined by sA. He is ultimately its slave but believes to be its master. Conscience, morality, earthly responsibilities, achievements, opinions of others, ideals, security, health, success, recognition, guilt, fixed goals, roles, norms, etc. determine the Self.
A permanent effort is required in order to achieve the absolute positives, to repel the negatives and to fill the emptiness – an ultimately unnecessary waste of energy.
The Self comes first and (almost) everything else second: conscience, morality, earthly responsibilities, achievements, opinions of others, ideals, security, health, success, recognition, guilt, fixed goals, roles, norms, etc. The I-self is free here, self-determined and self-responsible and master in his own home. (Religiously and in my opinion stronger: trusting primarily the loving God¹ with only secondary responsibilities, thereby relieving!).
It is unfavorable to regard the Relative as self-evident, just as it is unwise to question the real self-evident – namely the promises to the Self (see above).It is wise to take the Relative only relatively and to place the +Absolute (God¹ and his promises) absolutely.
Many of the mentally ill are in an (often unconscious) role or attitude of a victim. Thus the (former) offender has still got power over them! The own role of sacrificing is similar. Here we make ourselves a victim of our own or foreign goals, ideals, successes, of the conscience, etc.It would be good to drop the victim’s role and if possible, not to get involved in an (even if understandable) offender’s role. Religious: I-want-to-trust-in-God-standpoint and as a victim: I am God’s child and if I am a victim, maybe He will pay back. (“The vengeance is mine,” says God. (Dt 32:35)

It is unfavorable to take the life height more important than the life width.
The life width is more important than the life height. Because the wider your life, the more secure and the higher you can build your life.
It is widespread, unfortunately in Christian circles, too, to believe that one necessarily has to be good and morally. Morality without freedom (grace) is deadly, even the Bible says so. That is it. Always having to be only moral is a torture on which the repressed immorality flourishes. Karen Horney, a psychoanalyst, calls such people ~`pressure angels´.
It is unfavorable to love one’s neighbor more than oneself.
More → `Christian one-sidednesses…
Disadvantageous mindsets are:
⦁ Parents only love us if we are good.
⦁ Other people only if we are really great.
⦁ Our partner only loves us if we love her, too.
⦁ Our conscience only loves if we do not act against it.
⦁ Morality loves us only if we are moral.
⦁ Success loves us only if we are successful.
The easiest way to be good is with the freedom to be allowed also to be immoral or bad, too. I think you also try intuitively to communicate to your children: “First you are accepted and loved, then only you should try to be moral and good. One oneself benefits the most by living a moral life. It is not to please the dear Lord or someone else.”

In other words, commandments or the like are made to serve man and not vice versa. Likewise, church should be there for man and not man for the church. It is therefore wise to try voluntarily to be moral, unwise, to believe one has to be.
It is unfavorable to take care only of the body or the new car or the apartment and not to do something for the psyche. Unfortunately, we did not learn this very important lesson at school.In order to land more on the “favorable side”, it is useful to regularly practice “soul care”. The old forces, which offer only a temporary substitute for real success (happiness) but exploit in the long run, are deeply anchored. But they can be overthrown, at least weakened, by patient practice. Concretely: Just as one takes time to eat, one should also take time to nourish the soul.
In short: It is favorable for us:
• First basis, then try to jump.
• Set the bar at zero, then jump.
• First freedom, then optimum trials.
• First (free) absolute, then relative.
• First take absolute, then give relative
• First heavenly, then earthly.
• First Self, then I-activities.
• First width of life, then way.
•  First freedom, then duty
• First width of life, then height.
• First life, then role.
• No demands but wishes to oneself and the world.
   I repeat because important: the question of whether we behave favorably or unfavorably has only a relative importance, for the fact that God¹ loves us is even more important, even if we behave unfavorably – and this is going to and is allowed to be happening again and again.

Unfavorable and Favorable Attitudes in Relationships

Unfavorable attitudes

Favorable attitudes

It is unfavorable if one or both partners have no core or only a weak and strangely occupied one: one is the core of the other. This can be true for one or, more often, for both. This creates dependencies, but also mutual unconscious manipulation and blackmail (jealousy!). Each is both master and slave to the other. The relationship is either too symbiotic or falls apart quickly. Typical are “love”-hate relationships. This is the same as dividing people into either good or evil – also friend-enemy thinking; or: “He who is not with me is against me.”

relationships can be symbolized as follows: Both have a strong, free core that they protect. They are also not dependent on the most beloved partner. Ultimately, he plays only a relative role, even though he occupies a lot of space in life. This means that no partner or other person belongs in the core/self realm. When one relativizes the importance of the other, the prospect of getting happiness and security from them seems to diminish. On the other hand, the benefits are much greater and more realistic: I do not need to be your savior, to bring you happiness and to be the only one responsible for you. If one stays with the other, it is because one wants to, not because of dependence.

The figure shows the position of other people in the self-area of the person concerned. These occupy more or less his center so that this person lives partly foreign directed. He can, on the one hand, rely on the others but on the other hand, he will be exploited by them.       

The figure shows a favorable position of other persons to the Self. The others are not in the center (Self-domain) but have a relative importance for the person concerned. The person is thus not alien- but self-determined. The favorable order of the persons in the outer area is: 1. partner 2. children 3. parents and siblings.
It stimulates mental illnesses tremendously when one thinks one must love the other more than himself. This principle, too, usually not so directly mentioned, seems to be ecclesiastical common property. Lack of self-love, however, is one of the main sources for mental illnesses and partner conflicts.
At the same time, it is unfavorable to expect others to compensate for one’s lack of self-love
“Love your neighbor as yourself” – is one of the most central biblical statements. In order to make it clear, one should love oneself and love the other. Self-love = love to others.
Important: Bring love into the system!
It is favorable if I do not expect of others to compensate for my lack of self-love.
The more demands/ expectations for oneself, the others and life have to be fulfilled, the more the relationship becomes difficult.The relationship is going even better if people express their desires (of themselves, others and life) clearly, without being focused on their fulfillment.
All tricks and techniques are of little use when love is lacking (not only love for each other but also self-love).
The more love exists (self-love and love to others), the less important the differences become which seemed to be insurmountable previously.

    © by T. Oettinger, 2003/2024
Further favorable:
⦁ Preserve self-determination also in partnership.
⦁ I give and do what I want (principle of voluntariness) and I will try to make it not a pleasure and mood principle. I only give as much as I can.
⦁ I can take without a guilty conscience, without giving.
⦁ I do not have to be useful, I can only try.
⦁ I can also be a burden to others. I should even be a burden to others when it is necessary. (Accept help!)
⦁ I can say no.
⦁ I want to test others’ opinions but my opinion is crucial to my life.
⦁ If the others are better than me, I want to be happy with them.
⦁ I do not necessarily have to make up for mistakes if so, then I do it voluntarily.
⦁ I want to defend myself against wrongdoing but I do not want to engage in a personal fight.
⦁ I do not set preconditions for the others and myself but clearly express my wishes.

[1]: The unfavorable basic attitudes are sometimes favorable and not forbidden (!). This means we may or should also sometimes resort to unfavorable emergency solutions or such defense mechanisms. The favorable basic attitudes are mostly but not always favorable or then unfavorable. They are therefore not a must.
[2] The core self is not an earthly Self to be produced but a more or less heavenly, divine Self, which one simply accepts for himself, and which comprises the relative earthly Self. It is most strongly constituted by a power that the person loves for his own sake, which I personally see in God¹.
[3] What is meant is not: First be, and then do nothing, etc.

Note: The following examples are similar. Here the more favorable or important is also relative to the actual Absolute (God¹).

Self-Strength and Ego-Strength

“I am weak but my God is strong!” (Anonymous)

    Self-strength is more important than I-strength.
    The stronger the Self, the stronger the I.
    The I is strongest when it is absolutely loved.

I believe that we are most loved by God¹ and from him we get the strongest Self and I.
An important characteristic of this Self is that it lives by itself, that it is without conditions and that it also supports our mental and physical spheres. Therefore one could even interpret the self-running body functions as Self-effects since they act independently. However, these body functions do not run completely by themselves, only in principle. This means we can help the body to work well but we must not permanently control the body.

This is even more true for the mental-spiritual functions. In this way man is liberated. This is even more true for mental-spiritual functions. This relieves man. He does not have to worry about himself and his existence primarily, but only secondarily. A major problem, however, is that due to a predominantly atheistic-materialistic psychology, we no longer believe in such a God-given and self-sustaining self. Instead, we replace it with the responsible self. The consequences are far-reaching: we have no basic trust, only trust in the relative. But this will not give us enough support and strength, and we will be overwhelmed in the long run.
Trusting the true Self is objectively very easy, but subjectively sometimes difficult. It can cause fear of death, because old, beloved absolutes, with which we have identified ourselves and which have become our very own Self, must be abandoned. Above all, it is difficult to give up their benefits. Even if they no longer provide any benefit, we have become accustomed to them and feel threatened by an unbearable emptiness when we relativize them (withdraw). It is normal to revert to old, foreign ways of thinking before the new, the simple, the relieving and the redeeming become more natural.
So, dear patient, be patient and dare to allow yourself to be yourself. This means remembering one’s own dignity and freedom instead of constantly striving for it. It means letting go, or better, letting go into God. According to the motto: God is doing the most important thing and He loves me absolutely – I do not have to prove anything to myself or to others. It is as if you are constantly remembering your first love. Mind! It does not go against the I-power.
On the contrary, self-strength is the best foundation for I-strength.
What are the characteristics of our true Self? It speaks the language of love, freedom, self-determination, and the unconditional value of one’s own person (while keeping a critical eye on one’s own actions). This Self ultimately feels safe and unconditionally loved. Is this not selfishness or narcissism? some might ask.
I do not think so. I believe that human beings have the right to self-determination, and that they can and should protect themselves from heteronomy, because it is too expensive in the long run.

I guess you could call it “the moment of the birth of self-confidence. Bruno Bettelheim wrote a book called “The Empty Fortress – Infantile Autism and the Birth of the Self,” in which he argued that the Self must be born and educated throughout life. I think you can say that about self-awareness, but not about the Self. I also believe that the Self is already there at birth. For example, when we were given our children, I would say that they were immediately themselves, even if they were not aware of it.

Conscience, morality, earthly responsibilities, achievements, security, other people’s opinions, ideals, health, well-being, success, recognition, roles, norms; But also: misfortunes, traumatization, guilt, etc.


Conscience, morality, earthly responsibilities, achievements, security, other people’s opinions, ideals, health, well-being, success, recognition, roles, norms; But also: misfortunes, traumatization, guilt, etc.
The left illustration shows different strange Absolutes dominating a person’s Self and cause heteronomy.
The right illustration shows a Self relativizing these strange Absolutes

Dear reader, I am aware of the difficulties with this issue. They lead to central questions:
What is man’s essence? What is man’s worth? What is his sense, his happiness? Does he not have to do something before he can claim the Absolute? Is there not the danger of ethical relativism, where the end justifies the means – positions that some leaders repeatedly adopt and misuse for their own ends? 272Morality (the “law”) has only a relative importance compared with love/ God¹. It is embedded in it and thus “also-absolute”. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
In the context of this work, I can only briefly address these questions. First of all, I would like to point out that mental illness almost always develops on the basis of an alienated, undervalued, weak or self-destructive (felt) Self, and that it is our most urgent task to give people back their true self, their dignity, their right to self-determination, their inner freedom, and to restore a fundamental joy in life and in being themselves. We will be able to do this more easily if we start from an appropriate image of the human being in theory and therapy. Imagine, for example, a therapist thinking about his patient: “This is a schizophrenic,” or something like that. And further, quite professionally, technocratically, and perhaps quite as described in a textbook: “Now it is important to find out whether it is a hebephrenic, catatonic, paranoid-hallucinatory schizophrenia or a simple one, or a neurosis, and which drug to use against it.” This therapist may be professionally extremely competent, but in the end he turns the sick person (and himself, by the way) into a thing – and the tragic thing is: mentally ill people mostly see themselves this way.
Does not psychotherapy mobilize the strongest forces that hold man in the highest esteem?
Many, however, see man as too low, too weak, and too unfree. I am in favor of the view that man is created in the image of God, that he is free and can feel valuable and loved without preconditions: an unsurpassable basis – at least I have not found a stronger and more valuable one. 273God¹ is thus also the strongest liberator and intensifier of the Self. How do I get to myself? Or: How do I get the strongest self? The spirit that loves me the most will still best help me! He loves me more than I love myself. [Hint: I partly write Godto indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.] 
What makes me so sure?
1. It’s the way I see my children: “They are precious, free, loved and valuable, without preconditions and without performance, just as they are, and they can feel good before they lift a finger!” Only after this assurance is it advisable to point out the tasks of life.
(→`First A then B‘).This is not to make the good God¹ feel good, but because you will go through life better and others will benefit from it! Unfortunately, the reverse principle of “first achievements – then life” is still widespread and in some places propagated by the Church.
2. What we know about the life and teachings of Jesus is that he was first and foremost a savior and only secondarily a preacher, and that he proclaimed first and foremost a liberating and joyful message. This message is also extremely human and does not expect any preconditions. 274For example, the first miracle of Jesus was not a good humane act but the transformation of water into wine. Jesus has sins forgiven without demanding any amends or the like. To ask for forgiveness was enough. 

In both cases, the language is that of love. This means that man must first be taken seriously, given his freedom, self-determination and dignity before he can give anything. Man must first be clothed before he can give half of his coat. Even a dog is fed before he is sent to guard. “Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you believe that you must love your neighbor above all, even more than yourself, it would be a vain and even unchristian attempt.
Usually there is a typical series of unfortunate circumstances like this: the parents had too little love and could give too little love – and the person cannot love himself enough, but he tries in vain to get love through certain achievements. But the lack of love, appreciation, and freedom cannot be permanently compensated by anything else. Only temporarily, only as a substitute, only when necessary – but then the soul wants what really saturates it: a strong, redeeming Absolute with true unconditional love.
 In addition, some key words:
Redemption is a gift, solutions must be worked out. Redemption is more important than solutions. Redeemed one finds most easily solutions. If no solution is possible, the more important and simpler redemption is still possible: earthly lack of freedom is compensated by spiritual freedom, earthly contradictions are dissolved by spiritual redemption, etc. Paul Watzlawick argues similarly, “He locates many disturbances of everyday human communication (especially as regards couples) on the relationship level and sees meta-communication as a solution to dissolve them.” 275  4/2014.
Or Socrates: Keep in mind that this earthly life is not the last one and that it does not matter much how you achieve here, then you will not be manic in happiness and will not be depressed in misery. 276In reference to Socrates: “Always keep in mind that everything is transient, then you will not be too happy in happy times and not too sad in sad times.”  For what else reason could people experience liberation despite of existential threat-situations?
How do I recognize a strange Self? Above all, by its wrong absolutizations and by its permanent imperative “must”.

Adult-Ego and Child-I

One may symbolize those two lifestyles just mentioned like this:

On the left is the adult ego, which is trying very hard to cope with life and to get a grip on life. It never really has peace. It can never let go completely. It always has to be alert. It is very serious, usually overworked, burnt out quickly. They must see many people as rivals or even enemies. They are never satisfied with themselves. He is always responsible.

On the right is the ego, which trusts God like a child. It lets itself be loved, does not have to do anything. It is playful, much lighter and yet more realistic, because it does not demand anything (from itself) that it cannot offer anyway. However, the person has not turned off his or her active adult self! On the contrary, he will be all the stronger for being able to rest and make mistakes at the same time.277I postulate a so-called `The absolute attitude´ at the center of the person Self, which exists beyond the child or adult role and relativizes them. The person concerned has not turned off his active adult-I! It will not turn into its own enemy. But: the I, that idealizes itself, becomes its own enemy. As it is not ideal as a matter of fact, its shadow must become its opponent automatically. It idealizes and fights against itself at the same time – or falls back on other emergency solutions. Do we not all bear the longing in us to be like a child, just to let us fall, to bear no responsibility? Christians have such a thing when defining themselves primarily as God’s children. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  (Mt 18:3).

It is problematic, even dangerous, if the child-I is centered in itself, as is sometimes recommended, without a strong foundation (preferably an almighty Absolute, God1), because then it is too vulnerable and weak. That’s my problem with Janov’s Primal Therapy. Furthermore, the left picture shows us that this person is not “running smoothly” and is not resting in himself. He is wobbling. The reason for this, as described elsewhere, is an absolutizing of something relative, which creates a strange self with two or more centers around which the ego wobbles.
[Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God¹, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.] © T. Oettinger 2003/2024

First A then B

Many people live according to an unfavorable strategy, which is: “First B, then A.” What does this mean? Most of us have been raised to believe that certain conditions (B) must be met before an individual person’s acceptance or absolute feeling (A) can occur. (“A” could also be called acceptance by God¹.) Before the person (P) can feel comfortable in his skin, even before P can feel that P has the right to exist at all, P must have done something from a primary position B. Fulfilling any preconditions is then the first and most important thing – the person himself is secondary, less important.

This can be represented symbolically as follows:                                                                            
The left symbol shows how the first and most important step (A) is in second, less important place, and its very place is taken by the secondary (B).

The person in question is trying to do the second step before the first. No wonder he stumbles? He is more or less always chasing after acceptance.

We are smart when we live according to the motto “first A, then B”, when we always assume that we are valuable, unique, lovable and (in the core) free and that we are allowed to always feel good enough. All this comes first – even before we have lifted a finger. We are wise when we see that these fundamental rights are not extinguished even if we make the most serious mistakes.

AB’ can also stand for farewell and liberation. The B* before A should not “die” in vain, but in order to be truly alive as B itself. It can only live properly after A or on the basis of A. It is not only about being against B (our desires, our achievements, etc.), but also about being for B. We will have the earthly things twice and more if we do not let ourselves be swallowed up by them. As the saying goes: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and he will give you everything you need.” (Lk 12:31, New Living Translation).
We will have the heavenly (A) and the earthly (B) if we give priority to heaven. 

This applies not only to major life attitudes, but also to simple everyday situations. For example: If I, as a man, must necessarily be strong, I cause impotence. If I am trained to say everything correctly and fluently, I will cause stuttering. If I try desperately to remember something that is very important to me, I will not remember it, and so on. But it is only when we relax and relativize, which in our case means being able to be impotent, to say something wrong, to be allowed to forget, and so on, that we are more likely to achieve the desired goal.

But we will be weaker if we get our inner strength only from ourselves or from other people. It is the old, morbid pattern to be subject to the fulfillment of this or that condition. We are then the servants of these things or people. As long as we meet the requirements, they allow us, in their “grace”, as it were, to be proud, to feel comfortable, or to get a thrill, usually only briefly. But when we fail to meet their demands, the punishment comes automatically and relentlessly. They will bleed us dry because, from their point of view, we should be working for them, not them for us. If we could let them go, rather hand them over to God¹, we would be more relaxed.


High Jump with or without a yardstick

In the left picture, the man is jumping over a fixed bar. He decides which height he wants to reach. If he reaches this height, he has a strong positive feeling, if not, he has a strong negative feeling (black and white pattern).
In the right picture the jumper keeps the bar at zero. He also tries to jump as high as he can, but he is not fixated on a certain height. He is not experiencing thrill or frustration, and therefore he holds all the cards to achieve the desired performance in the long run. In other words: Without a yardstick above us, the sky opens up above us, and at the same time we are more grounded because our heart does not have to aim high.

Releasing the Fixation

We are wise when we let our fixations, our false gods, die rather than ourselves. Our fixations are, for example, always being perfect and good, our fixed thinking about security and order, our indispensable demands for health and well-being, for external happiness and success, and finally our fixed expectations of how we and the world should be. Only then would we be free to live life without (pathological) fear.
It would be best for us if we could die all these meaningful “deaths” of our fixations before we perish because of them.
It is about “dying and becoming” (Goethe), the gain of such a “dying” (Paul), that “capitulation”, as the anonymous alcoholics call it, which offers us a more real, freer life, the farewell of a dogged life, which Hermann Hesse described as follows: “Go, my heart, say goodbye and get well!” or Jesus: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.” But we do not want to let these foreign Absolutes die because we consider them to be our Self. When I identify myself with a foreign Absolute, I become it, and then I feel that if I let it die, I will die. From this point of view, it is logical that some people, in extreme cases, would rather kill themselves than let go of their foreign Absolutes. We are in a dilemma: if we continue the life of the substitute, we will die. If we want to live freely, we have to let something “die”. We have a choice between two kinds of death and life. Substitute life is usually slowly self-destructive. It is like living on drugs. We may be quite high for a while, but in the long run we are living a substitute life and dying a substitute death. But the Christian solution goes further and is even simpler: Let Jesus die for you (which does not exclude that you also try to relativize the strange Absolutes). © T. Oettinger 2003/ 2024

Choosing the Self and God – a Plea

I believe that man can freely choose between the Absolutes. (See `The absolute attitude´)
Elsewhere, a person’s freedom of choice is only relative. More precisely, I believe that every person is faced with a free, existential and absolute choice, even if he or she is not aware of it. It is a kind of principled stand for or against the good. I know that I am entering a realm that concerns only faith. But as I am trying to show, it is not a purely theoretical or speculative subject, but something that plays a decisive role in our lives. For it is connected with the question: “Am I or am I not able, on the basis of such a basic attitude, to claim for myself and for others the above-mentioned characteristics of the Self?”
I found the answer to this question most impressively in my relationship with my children and, in parallel, in the Christian religion. Since the birth of my children, I have automatically and instinctively given each of them the characteristics of the Self I mentioned earlier: Each child is unique to me, something very special (God’s image), absolutely lovable, etc. – Just to be, without doing anything. And all human beings have an inherent right to such a life. Just by being. These characteristics of the Self give man not only an inestimable dignity, but also absolute freedom of choice. More precisely, while the usual decisions for or against this or that, for or against this or that action, and even for or against the usual morally good or bad are only relative, there is, in my opinion, an extremely important basic decision or orientation towards the positive or the negative. Concrete example: If one of my children (or I, or any other person) glorifies evil, destruction, and inhumanity in a fundamental and irrevocable way, then from my point of view that person has gone too far to possibly be forgiven. In fact, forgiveness would be pointless. 278Perhaps S. Freud meant by “death drive” something similar to the Bible’s “mortal sin”. In his late years S. Freud postulated the “life- and death-drives” as the two main drives.

However, if he discovers in his heart a principled orientation toward the good, he could, in my opinion, claim further vows for himself (see below), even if he acts viciously and does evil in everyday life. For this reason, one can distinguish between a self that chooses to be basically positive or negative. [I have also called this “positive absolute orientation” or the corresponding will the actual primary virtue.] Of course, no outsider can attribute one or the other to a person. It is not a matter of speculative theory, but I want to encourage people to raise their heads and live their own lives, even if they have made many mistakes. From a Christian point of view, such a person can in principle feel free and saved. The real, existential question of life or death, of to be or not to be, is in principle answered with the answer for the good. All other questions, however important, can be regarded as relative, secondary, and tranquil. The same applies to related questions of responsibility, guilt and conscience, etc. The same applies to related questions of responsibility, guilt and conscience, etc.
When I refer to my Self, I am ultimately also referring to God¹. When the I approves of the Self, I become a unity, I become the I-Self. Such a self seems to me to be divine in the truest sense. According to my knowledge and experience, all other world views fall far behind it. Especially in mentally ill people, unconscious self-destructive mechanisms start very early. To forgive and be generous to others is not difficult for many mentally ill people. But to be generous to oneself and to see oneself as free from failures, sins and mistakes, and to see oneself as untouchable by them, is something that most mentally ill people are not able to do. They are determined by negatives that have attained absolute and existential significance with correspondingly devastating effects in their absolute and self-realm. The Self I mean is sovereign and inviolable like love and God¹. It speaks for itself. It cannot be questioned. It does not need to be proven. It is a gift. You do not have to get it because you already have it. It embraces other selves because it is stronger than them. When a person rejects the self and makes a strange Self the absolute, the true self is still present in the depths. Many people long for a good feeling of self-worth, but they think they have to do something about it. When H. Schröder – representative of many others – thinks: “Self-esteem is determined by the relationship between the level of one’s aspirations and the successes achieved., 279The quotation is literally (in the German version, here it is freely translated into English) but I cannot find the source any more. then it is a widespread fallacy because this is a sort of `achievement self-esteem´ but no actual self-esteem. This is precisely the one of a person who defines himself only by what P has achieved and not of a person whose value comes from his own Self. This feeling is in the minus range for many people.
What are the implications for therapy and for the patient’s self-esteem? It seems obvious: Whatever a person’s image of himself will be, it will be decisive for his self-esteem. Likewise: Whatever image the therapist has of the person will be essential to the success of the therapy. How can a patient develop a strong, good sense of self if even his therapist may underestimate the Self? If it is true that each of us wants to be loved for our own sake, then it is good for the therapist to do the same. In one of the next chapters, I will present a corresponding concept for schizophrenia therapy.

The Circle Closes

I have the idea that we humans, in the symbolic forms of Adam and Eve, have distanced ourselves from God¹ and thereby lost paradise. Following Janov’s choice of words (though not with the same meaning), this experience represents our “primordial pain” and perhaps we were born with a “primordial scream” because this world, like us, is full of suffering and death and needs redemption. Mental illness is part of that suffering. We try to redeem ourselves by establishing various “saviors” in the form of strange +Absolutes (+sA) – which are only substitute solutions that have some advantages but even more disadvantages. In the terminology of this work: We confuse God and the Relative. In my opinion, man made the decisive step towards the actual solution (the “revision of the inversion”) by a basic attitude towards the good. One can also say that God will redeem man if he wants salvation. This closes the circle that begins with “original sin” and ends with Jesus or the “original love” of God.

Systematized Primary Psychotherapy

In the following section, I try to give some hints regarding some single aspects in the sense of ‘primary psychotherapy’. They are more or less systematized and intended for patients. The division follows the one described in the section ‘Metapsychology’, whereby individual aspects overlap and repeat and therefore only present accentuations. I treat some therapeutic aspects only in notes, others in more detail and some I want to elaborate on later. I also refer to the above remarks in the part ‘Psychiatry’, to the meditations I have published (in German), to the explanations in the chapters First-Rate Solutions and ‘Causal Therapies‘ as well as to the `Anonymous self-help groups‘ principles, which pursue similar intentions.
Like them I believe that the best basis for the solution of all life problems is God¹ (love) – because he affirms and liberates people most strongly and corresponds to all other requirements for a `positive Absolute´ (+A).
There are a few sentences in quotes that I would say to a concerned person in a corresponding situation using these or similar words.

I am specifically talking to a “psychotic” here. I only mentioned some interesting symptoms here, described impressively f. e. about Marguerite Sechehaye’s patient, called ‘Renée’ (see also bibliography). They are the same symptoms listed in the Summary table below schizophrenic symptoms.

Concerning the Dimensions

a1 Absolute and Relative or: Redemption and Solutions

This aspect is specifically about the positive Absolute. The result of the positive Absolute is redemption, the positive Relatives are only solutions. About both I have already written in the section `Solutions´.
“You are basically redeemed by God.” Redemption comes before solution. Redemption also comes before self-redemption because self-redemption also means self-destruction and external destruction.
Redemption begins with freedom, with “I am allowed to”. It would not be redemption if it begins with a must, a duty. Redemption is the basis of all solutions. The second step would be to try to solve the specific problem. Especially since I do not necessarily have to solve the problem , the resulting serenity will additionally increase the likelihood of solving the problem! Just thinking about God/ Jesus brings redemption and relativizes all strange Absolutes.

a2 Identity and Otherness

In terms of identity, I distinguish between an absolute identity and many relative identities.
[Compare also the explanations about  Identity and Identity changes ]
I do not consider the identities that we give to ourselves, such as the identity of the “good person” or the identity of our profession or status, to be absolute identities. These are attributive or relative identities. But, as I said, we need an indestructible identity. It cannot be earthly because everything earthly is destructible. I believe that the absolute or the strongest identity is the one attributed to us by God, the image of God, which is never lost. “If you feel alienated from yourself or your environment, it is not abnormal because we all live in more or less alienated realities (second-rate realities). You just feel this alienation very clearly. Even if it tortures you, do not be afraid: your true self, which you possess but perhaps have not yet found, will always let you be yourself, like love/God, because it loves you for your own sake, unlike the alien forces (alien absolutes). A beloved child does not lose its identity even if its identity has been changed or hurt or the child is evil. You have an indestructible identity. You are unique and inimitable.”

a3 Reality and Unreality

 “The reality is nothing for me!” (a patient)

“Do not be afraid of strange and unknown realities. They are not bad – but the first-rate reality is better and ultimately stronger. All of us, even the so-called normal ones, live in second-rate realities and suffer from them, though probably less than you. If you experience the world, your environment, your fellow human beings as particularly unreal, artificial, shiny or dead, unlimited or narrow, and you experience things as if they were alive, as if they were speaking to you, do not be afraid. If you experience your fellow human beings or yourself as robots, as puppets, or if connections get lost and other things that do not belong together seem to be welded together – if you experience these and other bad things, then do not be afraid, but try to trust that the love/God¹, from which the primary redeeming reality comes, will also become strong in you, so that you will also get well. Love/God¹ redeems us in principle, but not completely, from the disadvantages of the second-rate realities on this earth.”
(See also `Disorder of Personal Reality´)

a4 Unity and Diversity

Love/ God¹ and the first-rate reality arising from it are unified and diverse at the same time.
In the second-rate realities, one often finds fusion instead of unity, and division instead of diversity. But love, like God¹, is indivisible and diverse. Through both, splits, fusions, and even autism can become diverse unity again. “If you feel split, dissociated, or if you feel as if you are one with other persons or objects and feel no boundaries or insurmountable limits, do not be afraid, for your very self is an unbreakable diverse unity.“ “God heals the brokenhearted.”280(Ps 147: 3)

a5 Freedom and Safety

Safety and freedom complement each other in love/ God¹. (This is the way to fly and take root at the same time!) Neither exists at the expense of the other. As I said, I distinguish between an absolute freedom that includes all earthly unfreedoms, and an absolute safety, which compensates for all earthly uncertainties. I believe the love/ God gives this absolute freedom and safety free of charge. A beloved child will feel safe and free. Absolute freedom and safety are not identical with total freedom and total safety. They are primarily spiritual but also have a strong impact on the psychical and physical areas.

  Freedom and Responsibility
Optimal relief will occur (begins) if you assume only an absolute, individual ‘responsibility’ (absolute basic attitude) and otherwise only relative responsibilities. That means all the normal responsibilities will overburden us if they are seen to be absolute, like Freud’s “never-ending search for truth”, C. G. Jung’s individuation requests or the dogmatic formulated responsibilities of a misunderstood Christianity or of other religions.
(See also Disorder of the Person’s Safety and Freedom; Examples can be found in the German unabridged version in the meditation `Orientation and Freedom’.)

a6 Center and Periphery

The Christian religion is both theocentric and anthropocentric. This means that God also placed man in the center of the world/cosmos. According to the religious understanding, man left the center (paradise) through the original sin, but he returns there through Jesus Christ (if he wants to). Like beloved children, we can always feel that we are in the center, even if we have been pushed to the edge. This spiritual center prevents us from feeling spiritually isolated and marginalized. This center is not a point, it is really wide. This width, which includes all negative spheres, is more advantageous than trying to reach and maintain a certain (worldly) center of one’s life. (Of course, this does not exclude earthly goals, but it does not make one dependent on them.) “God¹ is with you even in the most distant (thought) universe, even if you think you have already lost yourself and your center.” 281(See e.g., the book: Elyn R. Saks: “The center cannot hold!” and Disorder of Personal Bases and Levels)

a7 Bond and Autonomy

Bond comes before autonomy. Even as an adult, like a beloved child, you can feel bonded, free, and autonomous in love/God. But autonomy and connectedness, like the other absolute dimensions, are only in principle, not in totality. They also affect all other aspects of human life.
            The Therapeutic Goal of Autonomy? Autonomy is an Absolute only when we think of self-determination in relation to the Absolute – not when it comes to self-determination in the earthly realm. Motto: The one who is as free as allowing himself to also be dependent owns the greater autonomy.282(For more information, see section: `The absolute attitude´ and Disorder of the Person’s Independence and Ties)

Concerning the Differentiations

Main Differentiations

I. Being

Spiritual being is stronger and more important than material being. Similarly: the inner is more important than the outer. “You can be whatever you are.” You have the unconditional right to exist.”

II. Life

                                                                  Mottos: First life, then work.
                                                                               Life is more important than functioning.
                                                                               Heavenly life has more essence than earthly life.

“You have an unconditional right to live, even if you are aggressive, crazy, irrational, evil, lazy, paranoid, neurotic, dirty, or anything else. You should try to behave well, but if you do not, you do not.”
“I strongly advise you to consciously and playfully practice what you absolutely do not allow yourself to do, then you are the master of it – that is, negative behavior does not have to enslave you. Practice both: functioning and dysfunctioning.”

III. Qualities

“You are more important than all earthly values, more important than all ideals.”
“No one is worth more (but also no less) than you.” “You are God’s image.”
“Try to rise above the zeitgeist, who wants to persuade you that we have to optimize ourselves.”

IV. Subject / Object and Relations

Things should serve people and not vice versa.
“You are (as a ‘subject’) more important than all objects.”
The love/ God¹ connects without welding and solves without splitting.
“You are not the slave of another slave.”

Individual Aspects

1. Everything (All) , Individual and Nothing

Everything is allowed but not everything is good.
Everything will be fine. Therefore: “I have nothing to lose – I’m free!”

2. God and the World (Transcendence, Immanence)

      ”Do not become a slave to the earthly.” according to Genesis 1:28.

Man and the world need redemption. Earthly existence, immanence, is often very good – but good transcendence is even better and goes much further. God¹ is omnipotent, but man is only partially omnipotent. Man is wise when he relies not only on himself but more on God. I have not come to know any stronger and better “power” in my life than God, and I do not believe that there is anything greater and more loving.
“If you do not know how to go on, you can turn to God¹ or to Jesus. If you do not believe in them, you can try. In the simplest case, you just say/think ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’ and ‘I want to try to believe that I am absolutely loved and safe! Something like that, depending on how you feel. In my experience, it is best for us to be affirmed by Him, not when we think we have to give Him something or be a good person – because He created us to be free, not to be His slaves or anyone else’s. If you want to know more about God¹/ Jesus, you can read in the New Testament what he is like and what he advises you.”

3. People and Things

People are more important than things.

4. Me and Others

  `Love your neighbor as yourself!´
– But do not become the slave of another slave!.

Just being yourself is more important than Individuation  or other changes. (Goethe, C.G. Jung and others, on the other hand, considered individuation to be the highest goal.) Man’s striving to become completely himself is an illusion and overtaxes him. The Self is a gift of Love/God that everyone has. The stronger self is not the one that has to be strong or authentic or true, but the one that can also be weak or a strange Self that does not lose itself when it becomes inappropriate, inauthentic or untrue, but can integrate these parts. In this way, the self does not get lost, but integrates all the foreign parts, which also become the Self.
All people are of equal value.
“Love thy neighbor as thyself” is a recognition of humanity that has been formulated at all times by all great religions and philosophers. As a basic ethical formula, this statement is the last criterion for humanism, for a Christian it is only the penultimate criterion. The ultimate criterion is God and His love for us, which does not allow His guidelines to become dogma.  This means that even if I hate others or myself, I remain loved by God.
“If you feel lost, absolutely alone, cold, strange, unreal, tormented, numb, or full of fear or anger, meaningless, worthless, and hopeless, in contrast to what seems normal. If you feel responsible and guilty for everything and dictated by commanding voices, if you fight with your last ounce of strength against something that wants to overwhelm you, impose its will on you, or seduce you that you want and yet do not want at the same time, perhaps tearing you apart inside – whatever your suffering is, try to endure it, because your Self, Love, God are ultimately stronger than those forces that are doing this to you! It will only be a matter of time until you are free, in principle, even if not completely (more is not possible on this earth). If your parents or other people are actually or supposedly to blame for your illness, then choose with God another better father and mother. And other people (not moralists!) who also believe in God (maybe even angels?) can also be better siblings and fellow human beings.”

5. Spirit, Soul and Body

Spirit is stronger than matter – both in a positive and in a negative sense.
About the relations between spirit, soul and body s. Ibid.
The spirit of an unconditional love/ the + A, the spirit of God¹ or the Holy Spirit, whatever you call it, is – in my view, the strongest and best power in our lives – as far as we allow it.
Health and well-being do not just depend on God¹. But free, good, given and not expensively bought health and wellbeing are best reached with God¹. But they are also not necessarily necessary, they do not have to be maintained all the time and their loss has only relative importance.

6. Love and Sexuality

Love / God¹ are the best basis for good sex.

7. Peace of Mind and Well-being

                                                  Mottos: `Peace of mind is even more important than well-being.´
                                                                 Your pain today is your freedom of tomorrow ‘.

“Do what is good for you!” is a frequently heard motto in therapies. Normally the person concerned understands ‘good’ to be ‘well-being’. But I can also create well-being through a +sA (for example through drugs or alcohol or other) but then have to pay a price.
Like Nietzsche’s “Rapture peaks” and their consequences: “peak and abyss”.
“You may have all the feelings that exist, especially the ‘crazy’ and ‘evil’ ones such as hatred, envy, jealousy, revenge, etc. Do not fight them, try not to suppress them – they are mostly relatively unfavorable and therefore try to put them aside or give them to God¹. If not, then not. But sometimes they can also have a positive function. If you taboo feelings, that you experience negatively, I advise you to practice them on purpose. Test playing the jealous, vengeful, madman’s role, etc.”
Why are there people who seemingly have no feelings, f. e. autistics? I think many of them carry in themselves the prohibition from the childhood of not being allowed to have bad or irrational feelings and thoughts.
Why are there people who seemingly have no feelings, f. e. autistics? I think many of them carry in themselves the prohibition from childhood of not being allowed to have bad or irrational feelings and thoughts.

Pieces of Advice for Patients

“Try to accept your illness and try to do something about it but do not make the disease an enemy, which must be defeated.
Do not hide, do not be ashamed and get help at the right time.
Do not taboo your illness but do not hawk it around either.
Believe that life goes on, even if you die on earth.
Try to believe that God¹is stronger than all negative forces.
If your present “God” forbids you something imperatively, then find a God¹ who gives you freedom.
If your “devils” are strong or even stronger than your present God¹, then look for a stronger God¹.
If you do not get along with father or mother, take God¹ as father / mother who will always love you.
If you feel worthless, then look for a God¹ who will lift you up.
If you are always guilty, try to find a merciful God¹who forgives you all that you regret.”

8. Absolute and Relative Will

Morality is good but the  “primary virtue”  is more important and easier.

I. Kant: “It is impossible to think of anything at all in the world, or indeed even beyond it, that could be considered good without limitation except a good will. Mind, mind, judgment, and the like, whatever such mental powers may be called, or courage, determination, and perseverance in one’s plans, as qualities of temperament, are undoubtedly good and desirable for many purposes but they can also be extremely evil and harmful if the will … is not good.283 
Like Kant, I see the primary virtue also in goodwill but more precisely in a fundamental will to the good. See also `The absolute attitude´ and `Right and wrong´.
“Call on your Self /God¹.” “Remember your ‘primary will’ (‘primary virtue’), which says: `I want God¹´ – that´s all.” It is not mortal sin if you, like every human being, in part want and do evil.

9. Being and Having

To have is good, to be is better. More favorable than greed is modesty. But greed is not a deadly sin. To take heavenly things is more important than giving earthly things.
“You are always more than you own or have achieved.” 284See also: Erich Fromm: “To Have or to Be”.

10. Strength and Weakness

Mottos: ‘I-strength is good, the strength of the actual Self even better!’.
Or: ‘self-strength is more important than Ego-strength.’

“Try to be strong – but you can also be weak because the most important goes by itself.
Let God¹ (or others) do what you cannot do yourself.”
Further see in Self-strength and Ego-strength.

11. Order and Necessity

People say that the way to hell is paved with good intentions.
Even more: the way to hell is especially paved with many musts.
It is therefore favorable: no must, no compulsion – even the favorable does not have to be.

12. Primary Virtue and Morality

Morality is good but primary virtue is more important and easier.
See also `The absolute attitude´, `Right and wrong´ and `Absolute and relative will´ above.

13. Freedom and Control

We were born to be free. Control and discipline are good but freedom is better.
You may be, however that is! 285See Meditation: `Orientation and Freedom’ in the German unabridged version.

14. New and Old

Seen from this angle, I discussed Hallucinations – an important symptom of schizophrenia – as new, strange ‘creations’.
The hypothesis regarding their genesis was: Inversions in all aspects can promote or cause hallucinations, in particular inversions in aspect 14 (“main impact direction”).
Conversely, it is hypothesized that all revisions that ultimately strengthen the self must help against hallucinations, especially those that can be categorized under aspect 14, such as “You are a unique creature – the so-called normal reality is subordinate. Or, “Everything that comes from you, all your ‘creations’ are allowed to be, even if they are bad.
In addition, other interventions or meditations may be useful because other aspects (especially Asp. 3 and 4) play a major role. In these cases, I have found it useful to reflect with the patient on the content and possible origin of the acoustic hallucinations. For example, to explore the following important questions Who might be the source of these voices? What do these people mean to the patient? What might be the function of the hallucinations?
In my experience, it is very fruitful if the person does not suppress or even fight the voices he hears, but has a conversation with these voices in the presence of the therapist. I advise agreeing “a little” with the voices, so as not to fight them, and taking into account that these voices sometimes have positive functions, that there is usually “something true” in them. As a result, the person does not come into conflict with himself, because the original, mostly external causes of the hallucinations have finally become his own strange Self.
However, in the next step, after the voices have been partially proven right, I advise to present one’s own position, which corresponds to the actual self – e.g. “Voice, you’re not completely wrong here, and somehow I can understand where you’re coming from – but basically I see it differently (now), namely so and so, etc.”.
For example, if the voice is insulting the person, which is often the case when it says something like, “You are a pig,” the optimal response would not be, “I have never been a pig,” but, “Yes, sometimes I am a pig,” or something like, “Because we are all pigs sometimes. This last and strongest answer would be based on Love/God¹ saying, “You can be a pig or whatever. You can be whatever you are, you have always been loved and created in My image – and everything else is less important!

15. Let and Do

In my experience, most mentally ill people are fixed to function – that is, they function according to some strange Absolute or “system”. This is how they miss out on life. How many people realize, “I’m only functioning!” – but they cannot change it because change is very slow (because it has been done that way since childhood). “Do not fight it, first try to accept it and then, if possible, put it aside easily.
Practice loving and especially being loved – especially in those situations when you think you do not deserve it. “First be, then achieve” is not a bad motto. Or, “The Lord provides for those he loves in their sleep. 286(Ps.127,1) – at least he gives the most important things. Or, according to Augustine: “Love – and do what you want!
“A lot of people think they have to be good. That is fine if you can do it and have the strength to do it. But it is also normal to do bad things or nothing at all. If you forbid yourself to do that, you can practice it playfully. You can also tell your friends and family members that you should practice the negative behavior – it is for their benefit as well, because this way no aggressiveness builds up. You can also apologize afterwards. Or just let God¹ forgive your sins.”

16. Trust and Knowledge

Knowledge and understanding are good, but trust in God¹ is even better.
Rationality without irrationality becomes sterile – so “do not suppress your irrationality and your ignorance. Both God¹ and your ignorance will protect you from being flooded with too much information, for all earthly information is of relative importance.
See also: Belief and knowledge.

17. Openness and Reticence

“Try to be open – but you can also be closed and hide.
“You are the light of the world,” and “Do not put your light under a bushel basket,” says Jesus.
But we can also sit in the dark, hide and betray ourselves – without losing ourselves.

18. Values

Under this aspect, I called delusion, an important symptom of schizophrenia, primarily the result of judgment and thinking disorder. These, in turn, according to the hypothesis, may have been due to Inversions in every aspect but mainly due to inversions in aspect 18 ‘Values and meanings’ – as I show in the corresponding section of Delusion in the part ‘Psychiatry’.
Analogous to this, a revision of this inversion in aspect 18 should be focused on – but just as a ‘therapeutic spreading’, revisions will also have a therapeutically beneficial effect on all other inverted aspects, so especially on the self-esteem of the person concerned, which can be strengthened by appropriate meditations. For example: “You have/are already the most important thing (your self, God’s love, created in His image) – everything else is less important”. As I said, this also applies to all other aspects. This means that any meditation or attitude change that affirms the person’s true self will be therapeutically beneficial. They all find their common denominator in unconditional love for the person, or the +A, or God’s promises – whatever you want to call it. In short, I believe that nothing is as effective against delusion and all other schizophrenic symptoms as this unconditional love.
A question often arises in therapy: Should one correct the patient’s delusions directly?
In my experience, it is best to acknowledge the subjective truth that the delusional thoughts have for the patient and try to show their positive function (e.g., as a defense mechanism). Then, depending on the stability of the person, one can encourage them to loosen or give up this protective function and trust their true Self/God¹. At the same time, I would like to point out that it can make sense to consciously use the old defense mechanisms (as well as antipsychotics) again in case of greater stress. Of course, this requires an intensive examination of the content and background of the delusions.
About thinking: “You may have all kinds of thoughts, even the evil and crazy ones – killing thoughts, revenge thoughts, sadistic, masochistic, sodomitic thoughts or behaviors – you may curse God¹ in your thoughts or aloud (He will bear it) or curse your fellow human beings, even if they cannot bear it. Try to accept these or similar thoughts or behaviors and thus yourself in your totality. But do not let them go to seed, because they usually have a negative effect, but they become even more negative if you taboo them. Yes, sometimes they can be very important and have a positive function, then it would be wrong to suppress them. Anyway, “You can be whatever you are, whatever you think and do. Try to be wise (but you do not have to be wise). Where appropriate, actively practice the evil, crazy thoughts by consciously thinking them if you tend to taboo them.”

19. Past

I think that most people who have had psychosis have been burdened by certain strange Absolutes from birth or prenatally. They live with the feeling, “I am only allowed to be under certain conditions. If they meet these preconditions, they are relatively stable, although always at risk. This is more or less true for all of us, but especially for some. In my opinion, psychosis occurs when someone cannot or will not fulfill certain strange absolutes! We then regress and return to a point in childhood where we were overwhelmed by certain sAs. We’re then helpless, powerless and at the mercy of someone like an embryo or a child.287Already in the 1920s, Harry Stuck Sullivan discovered that patients who were seriously ill returned to the forms of early childhood communication. Compare: , 2014.
Even as adults, we retain childish parts of ourselves, even though we are mature and wise in other areas of life. Now the dark sides of the then established sA become clear. In order not to stop their demands through sickness, they should be relativized. How should this be done?
“Simply” by daring, under the protection of the +A, to take the position that we were not allowed to take in our childhood. So, if we dare to trust like a child of God¹ and feel secure in “Abraham’s bosom”, without being forced to bring anything, and I mean anything, in order to be entitled to life, then the most important sA will be disempowered and we will be basically (but not completely – which is not possible here) safe and free – and will have the best basis to be healed. We will also experience that despite this helpless, stuck situation, nothing has happened to us and we will feel like a new person. Quite a few psychiatrists thought and acted similarly and fruitfully, like S. Freud in a certain way and A. Janov in his special way (“Urschreitherapie”). Other therapists, such as John Rosen, Marguerite Sechehaye and Jacqui Lee Schiff, were also successful in responding to the regression of their schizophrenic clients and nourishing them like infants and children. While Rosen and Schiff fed their patients with bottles, Sechehaye met their needs on a “symbolic level. 288But: I find it problematic as already noted in the confrontation with the psychotherapy of Janov if the affected person regresses on a child level but he should feel safe, loved and invulnerable – which is only partly possible in the presence of the therapist – an additional + `meta-area’ (God¹) is best.
[Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God¹, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
 They all agreed that they should not demand any preconditions or achievements from their patients, and that they should offer security and esteem in the form of an “auxiliary ego” or something similar. But this way seems easier than it is. For it is a great risk for the person concerned to entrust him/herself, like a baby or a toddler, to someone who may, as in the past, fail to satisfy basic needs and thus repeat the old story. But even for therapists it is not easy to find a common way with the patient, because they, like all of us, are inhibited by some of their own sA. Therefore, I think it is advantageous for all involved to bring the +A/ the love/ God¹ into play, in order not to overburden the persons involved or to develop a symbiotic relationship, because +A is the self-evident and the independent, which lives by itself and prevents this. See the story `Adult-Ego and child-I´.

20. Present

The present is good – eternity is better.
One advises: “Carpe diem! (Seize the day!) – but I believe that the day, the present, is only an attribute of eternity, which itself is the most important thing. So sometimes you can sleep through the day without feeling guilty.
Some say, “The way is the goal.
But “He who does not know the goal cannot have the way.” (Chr. Morgenstern).

21. Future

“Try not to have fixed expectations, but only wishes from yourself and the world.
The earthly future can be good – the best future is in heaven.
We are already inscribed and sealed in the book of eternal life in all our first-class uniqueness.
Therefore, we no longer need to have existential fear.
“Trust that death is not the last, but that good eternal life continues with God. Arise and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near.”

22. Right and Wrong

 `The LORD said, “They now know the difference between right and wrong, just as we do.”289(Genesis 3:22, Contemporary English Version, 2006.)

“The guilt gnaws with blind fury
At the weak foundation of our souls …
Can we stifle the old anxious agony of conscience,
Which lives in us and clings to us …
Tell it beautiful sorceress, O! tell it, if you know! 290Loosely based on Charles Baudelaire’s `L ‘irréparable´.

To the question of guilt:
In my experience, permanent feelings of guilt significantly increase the development of mental illnesses, especially psychosis. Above all, responsible and perfectionistic people are affected. “Because I have done this or that wrong, I have to be punished – otherwise my soul will not rest.” Not a gracious God but our superego demands this self-punishment. Franz Kafka, for example, painstakingly described these tortures in “Der Prozess” (“The Trial”).
At present, there is a tendency to deny guilt or to exclude questions of guilt.291 I read that in the entire work of S. Freud the word ‘guilt’ is mentioned only once.
One should certainly avoid accusations of guilt. On the other hand, I see neither ignoring guilt nor accepting responsibility as the solution to avoiding guilt questions. But why should I make my guilt, my mistakes, and my dark sides taboo? Why not just apologize if it is true? In addition, one could be absolved by Jesus. You do not have to but it is easier. But one has largely said goodbye to Jesus. The church is not innocent of that. Consider the abuse of penance in earlier times when it was a must. Scharfenberg to that: “A Christian theology and ecclesiastical practice … which must first awaken and nurture feelings of guilt and then redeem them with the word of forgiveness perverts to a pure end in itself of an ideology hostile to life.”292 Scharfenberg quoted at H. Wahl ibid. p. 288. Similar H. Wahl: “The dialectic of the eternal conflict, man’s division with himself and God and the rediscovered unity and reconciliation with God and the world in Christ, between the ‘penultimate’ and the ‘last’ also assign the phenomenon of the ethical and thus the Ethics its place and value in the whole of reality: as knowledge of good and evil, all ethics belong to the structure of the penultimate … Instead of masochistic self-torture according to the mechanism of ‘guilt and atonement’ …., this also includes the “willingness to assume guilt responsibly (Bonhoeffer; Ricoeur)” 293H. Wahl ibid. p  288f. and, in my opinion, the even more important, liberating ‘surrender of guilt’ to God (which is neglected here by H. Wahl).
Thielicke points out the problem of simply talking people out of their feelings of guilt: “The unconscious background of guilt is illuminated by various analyses. This itself is presented to the patient as the product (let’s say: as the causally deducible product) of various childhood traumas or similar causes and thus removed from the sphere of freedom in which all real guilt and all real knowledge of guilt is based. It is the result of a process to which the patient relates purely as an object … my deeds, my conscience, my feelings, my entire subjective existence in general are seen as products of supra-personal contexts that are detached from my responsibility, my freedom is denied and thus the genuine guilt294 One ought to say, “… A perhaps real guilt will then be denied”, because of course, other people can also be guilty of my depression! character of my depression background is also denied.”295H. Thielicke , In: Läpple, Volker & Joachim Scharfenberg (Hrsg.): „Psychotherapie und Seelsorge“; Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 1977, p.126f..
In short, the patient is then treated like an innocent object and not like a normal person who sometimes also becomes guilty. This attitude will weaken the therapy. Important: guilt is not the last thing! Those who do so are reminded once again of Luther’s sentence: “Sin bravely and believe all the more bravely in God’s forgiveness.” Or: “You don’t have to justify yourself – you are already justified!” I used to be just sad about my sins in the past. Now I am still saddened about them, too, but also happy because God1 takes them away from me – and this joy is greater than my sadness. (See also `Absolute and relative will´and `The absolute attitude´).

The flip side of the guilt complex is the revenge complex, when other people are guilty of something against us. Guilt complex and revenge complex are often linked because we are sometimes victims and sometimes perpetrators. The situation is particularly difficult if victims of abuse later become perpetrators, which is the case more often than average. I believe that the problem cannot be solved properly without an overriding absolute perspective. This perspective (from my point of view, God) promises the perpetrator forgiveness if he repents. And if we have become victims, we receive the promise of justice, possibly even revenge. We are wise to leave both forgiveness and justice/revenge to God and not to burden ourselves with them. I think the widespread opinion in some Christian circles that as a victim you must always forgive the offender is fatal, especially if people have been so badly hurt that they cannot forgive their offender.

23. Protection and Defense

“Try to trust: your Self is indestructible! What is destructible is our strange Self. But our strange Selves are not only bad, they also protect us, but only like heavy tanks. They are good in an emergency, but generally too heavy and too expensive. Try not to fight your enemies but to let them be, maybe even to ‘love’ them (not what they do!), then it will be easier for you to admit or even love your own inner enemies. This is not a must! You can also hate your enemies, in an emergency this is even beneficial, but in general it is too exhausting and makes you dependent. We often defend our foreign Selves because we consider them to be our own Selves, and we fight against our own selves because we consider them to be foreign. But we do not have to defend our Self. It defends itself. Stronger: God defends it. It is enough for you to defend your I. If you do not have the strength, do not be afraid, God¹ will still protect the most important thing, your Self. God will also avenge you. Your offenders will be treated fairly by Him, that is, if they repent, He will forgive them, if not, then they have judged themselves or themselves: “Vengeance is mine,” says God, but He is even more merciful. You do not have to burden yourself with this exhausting judgment – He will do it.”
See also `Aspect 23: Protection, Defense´.

Fictitious letter to a schizophrenic person

“Believe me, nothing can tear up your person’s very base, your very Self because it is indestructible as it rests in God¹ (even if you do not believe in God¹). What can break is a strange Self, the strange center, the strange Absolute in your soul – that which you may think of as your Self but that is not.
Not giving absolute meaning to this strange Absolute can be like coming off a hard drug, because we have become addicted to the strange Absolutes. You will need a lot of patience. But you have time. When the strange Self dies, it will feel terrible because you think it is your own Self. But believe me, there is the real, indestructible Self that you cannot see or have not yet experienced. It is underneath the strange Self. That is, underneath your sickness is the real health-not the permanent well-being.
How do you know the strange Self? First of all, it demands something from you before you can be yourself.
How do you know the true Self (God¹)? That there is something within you that loves you for your own sake – without preconditions, without demands (only with orientations).
Try to believe that you are loved for your own sake, whatever you are!
Believe me, the Spirit of God¹, who is also called the Holy Spirit, will always love you and accompany you. God¹ will take away all your guilt, you will be like a newborn and you will live forever.”

Successes of ‘Primary Psychotherapy’

Regarding the successes of psychotherapies that consider religiosity or spirituality, there is little German-language literature. In addition, the differences between the different religions and spiritualities are sometimes immense, so it will be difficult to make general statements about their successes. In Anglo-American literature, there are many reports of healings based on similar experiences. (See, for example `Healing of schizophrenia´.)
I have had the experience that, with the inclusion of what I called the positive Absolute (the love / God¹), which is at the center of this ‘primary psychotherapy’, the serious mental disorders, the psychoses, as described above, have good chances of healing. On the other hand, the successes of such “love-based” therapy cannot be objectified any more than one could prove that the love of parents for their children or love at all is meaningful and useful. As far as I know,  the anonymous self-help groups, whose concepts are very similar to mine, have had very good successes. And if even S. Freud praised the advantages of `religious beliefs’ towards psychoanalysis, this should encourage every concerned to benefit from such beliefs.296Sigmund Freud – Oskar Pfister: Briefwechsel 1909-1939, Frankfurt: Fischer, 1963, p. 12f.  [For details, see `Content and goals´ of ‘Christian psychotherapy’.]
I hope to have shown that a theory and practice that conveys the most love is also the most effective. When I find this greatest love in God / Jesus, this is my (but also other) personal experience, which, however, is less based on religious formulas than on corresponding contents as they are more or less found in all good psychotherapies as well. 

Some Mini-Stories

    • Redemption
    • The umbilical cord
    • The child in us
    • Neurotics
    • Story of the slide part
    • To me is not to be helped – I am doing everything wrong.
    • Sadomasochism
    • How do I get from the seesaw?
    • Story of the crash
    • The two high jumpers
    • The “Roll Story”
    • The story of the great trap
    • The plus 30 or minus 70 percent
    • The story of the wrong suitcase
    • The story of missing thanks
    • Rail or gravel
    • The story of the conflicting interpretation
    • The story of original sin
    • The story of the prostitutes
    • A story between myself and my wife


A few years ago, my wife and I went to the Taizé Community in France because I was going through a personal crisis. At that time, the prior, Father Roger, was still alive. During the summer months, thousands of young people from many countries gather in Taizé to celebrate, sing and pray together. But I was depressed, anxious and full of self-doubt.
In my distress, I asked one of the brothers for a blessing, which was unusual for me.
The brother just asked my name, nothing else – and I told him my name.
Then something wonderful happened: He put a cross on my forehead like a seal and said, “God will always love you!”
That hit me like a bolt of lightning. I had to cry – they were liberating tears – I felt liberated.
The blessing set me free and lifted me up – but it did not allow me to lift myself up. I don’t know if it was the President of the United States or a tramp who wanted the blessing after me. Either way, they got the same blessing..

The Umbilical Cord

Interdependent people are connected to each other like umbilical cords.
It often involves multiple people at the same time. It involves different generations. Even if our parents or grandparents are no longer alive, we can still be dependent on them. We think that as long as we have what makes us dependent, not much will happen. But we overlook how much we have to sacrifice and how much we lack, and that our fears and illnesses are related to this situation.
What can you do? First, I suggest two exercises:
First, The participants should do “separation exercises”: they should work on the points where they are dependent on other people (driving alone, shopping, visiting, traveling, expressing their own opinion, their own wishes clearly and not pretending the other’s wishes, etc.). I recommend that at least once in the partnership – to have a fictitious separation talk. What if we are separated by fate or divorce? (The conversation should be in the details, otherwise it makes little sense!) – Occasionally have a conversation with the roles reversed. I am you and you are me – and what we say then!
Second, But it also makes sense for dependent partners to do rapprochement exercises, because even dependent partners cannot separate and approach each other enough.
In both cases they have to fear the loss of their mental stability. If they are completely separated, they fear the loss of something that seems absolutely important to them (e.g., their partner); in the case of a more intense approach, they must fear being “sucked in” by the other.
In other words, because they fear their own loss in separation and the loss of the other in intense approach, the partners remain in a fixed middle or stalemate position. What freedom they still have is determined by the degree of their dependency.
A possible deeper solution is to revise the definition of what love is. (Possibly also what God is.) A big field! In short, the most important misunderstandings here are: lack of self-love, excessive mutual consideration, the feeling of having to prove oneself and the other, dogmatic principles and ideologies, false gods, etc.

The Small Child in Us

The figure shows a child who was blocked in his development at the age of three years. 297As stated above, I believe that in people with psychoses, the “blockages” caused by “sA” probably arose much earlier, perhaps even prenatally.
If this blockage has not been lifted, the blocked child will still be within us, even if we are 25, 35, 40 years or older.

We humans seem to be one whole person. But inside we have many, contradictory spheres. In these spheres we are differently secure, differently congruent, differently mature, etc. In some spheres we can have a lot of experience and competence and be much more “advanced” than people of the same age. On other levels, however, it can be quite different: there we are afraid, insecure and helpless like little children – maybe even like a newborn. While we present the image of an adult to the outside world, there is actually another, different image, which, as I said, can range from a newborn to a wise old man.
Thus, outward appearances and inner states are often in extreme contradiction. Maturity is welcome to us – the helpless childish or evil parts are not. They are usually created in childhood because we were blocked at certain stages of development. The main blockages, as shown in this publication, are fixed ideals, prohibitions, strange absolutizations (sA).
In most cases, these come from parents who are blocked or fixed in similar places. Mostly unconsciously, out of fear or other reasons, the parents or one of the parents didn’t dare to develop freely and self-confidently at these points and therefore blocked the development of the child. When the child dares to go new ways, it is met with fear or even rejection by the parents. Normal development in this area is blocked and can remain blocked unnoticed for decades. But when the person comes to a life stage or situation where he is confronted with a problem on this blocked level, he will behave according to the “mental age” in which he was blocked – like a small, helpless child. Now comes a crucial point: We can accept this situation or we cannot. We usually do the latter. We do not accept our unloved childlike behaviors, we repress them, or worse, we fight them and try to eradicate them, but they are part of us. We want to kill the little child in us. We have often blamed our parents for not loving us enough – not realizing the tragedy that we may be even worse at loving ourselves. What can we do?
We should do what we can do with our own children, but have never learned to do with ourselves: We should try to accept and love the frightened, helpless, evil child within us. We should take it by the hand and lead it slowly and patiently into this frightening world.
This means that in situations where we have “failed”, we should try to be with ourselves. In these cases, the “paradoxical” attempt to consciously play the role of failure, disgust, pig, etc. is quite effective. Consciously and sincerely (!).
One difficulty in removing the block is that the block is not only an obstacle, but also a protection of the helpless child from the threat. Try to take the risk! It will help a religious person to feel completely accepted as a child of God in these situations¹. God does not require that we always react as adults.
Important: Sometimes it makes sense to go back and to regress!


• Too much noise in the house due to quarrels → Everyone closes their ears instead of resolving the conflicts.
• Unemployed people are to blame for unemployment. If they did not exist, there would be no unemployment.
• The big child still can’t walk – so the mother has to carry the child or it will fall.
• If I bury my head in the sand, I will not see the danger.
• Because I’m too fat, I can’t move, so I can’t lose weight
• You are to blame for my bad behavior. Or: I am to blame for your bad behavior.
• I take painkillers because my feet burn instead of buying better shoes.
• I left my husband because of you!
• How can I put away the gun, but then the enemy shoots me. But he argues as well as I do.
• When the end sanctifies the means.
• She: “I love you!” He: “Thank you.”
• Things are more important than people.

Nobody can Help me – I’m Doing Everything Wrong

Patient: “I’m so desperate because I’m doing everything wrong.”
First therapist: “It’s not that bad. Accept your mistakes.”
P. “I can’t accept it, even this is wrong, you can’t help me.”
Therapist probably more effective with paradoxical intervention: “You can do everything wrong.” Or like Luther: “Sin boldly, but believe and rejoice even more boldly in Christ.”


Neurotic game of sadomasochism: He submits to the dominatrix and becomes dependent on her. At the same time she is dependent on his payment. Each is the dependent master and the dependent object of the other.
→ Neurotic happiness and satisfaction, neurotic balance and neurotic stability. Also: shorter happiness and longer unhappiness.

Story of the Slipping

The strange Self (sS) gives a person a certain base of varying width: from a narrow burr to a greater width, but never reaching the width and stability of the true self. As long as this person is on the base of the sS and does not leave it, he is safe. Yes, he can say with pride that he has created this higher position compared to other people. But if the person leaves that base – and that is the point where he no longer fulfills the demands of the other Selves – then he will slip into the negative sphere. It begins a slipping or falling to which the person is more or less delivered and which, moreover, has no relation to the defectiveness of his behavior. It becomes self-perpetuating. Most mental disorders are found in such autodynamic and mostly self-destructive processes.
When a person stands on the true Self with both feet, he can figuratively go down, but it is a descent in which the person does not lose his footing, but always has solid ground under his feet.
People who climb the “strange self-summit” live under a permanent compulsion: “You have to climb higher, you have to achieve this, you have to become better”-everywhere “you have to”. When the summit is reached under self-abandonment, the exaltation soon turns to fear – but the descent is forbidden. It seems like a loss of self-esteem. The summit must be held – despite the fear, despite the immense effort, despite the increasing cold and loneliness. Besides, it would be much easier for us to trust our true Self (God¹), but then the kick is missing.

How Do I Come from the Seesaw?

Two or more people are sitting on a seesaw. They want to stop the seesaw.
Problem: The person at the bottom could go down the easiest, but he would endanger the person at the top, who would fall.
Solution: The person at the top must go down first, with some risk. A seemingly paradoxical solution, because the riskier solution is the better one.
That is, not every simple solution is the best. Similarly, the story of the family holding an expensive scale in a boat. If one of them moves, the boat can capsize, even though one solution is blocked.  See also ‘Relationship disorders.

Two High-Level Jumpers

There were two high jumpers: Peter and Paul. Peter trained very hard. He sacrificed almost all the leisure time for the sport. Paul was a bit lazy. He trained moderately, often went dancing, had a girl. On the day of the competition everyone was looking for a place from which he jumped. Paul jumped from the solid ground. Peter, however, from a soft place. It won the `lazy’ Paul because he chose the right ground. 

The bread roll story

Or: Too much consideration and love.
At the end of their lives, a couple is astonished that, in spite of the greatest consideration, both of them were given the part of the role that they did not want. How did this happen?
The husband always wanted the top part of the role. But because he loved his wife very much and thought that she also wanted the top part, he preferred the bottom part.
She always wanted the lower part, but because she wanted to give him the better part, she said she wanted the upper part. Thus, out of false consideration, each gave the other what he really wanted, with the result that both got what they did not want, or both did not get what they really wanted. But it would have been much simpler.

The Story of the Big Trap

In normal psychic development, we go through the stages of adaptation, resistance, and finally detachment. We are all more or less blocked and timid in this development. There are many obstacles, seductions and traps on the way to dissolving these blockages.
One of the greatest traps is this: We think that we have finally separated from our parents. Finally, we no longer follow their love and approval. Finally, we have seen through them and are shocked at how weak, timid, flawed, and even evil they are. We now know what mistakes we cannot make with our children.
But one day we look in the mirror and are horrified to see how similar we have remained to our parents. We are, as in the case of the reflection, exactly different, reflected, but still dependent.
But the really big trap is not this realization, but when we condemn ourselves. I wish my readers would not do that. If they do not, it also means that they stop judging their parents.

Plus 30 or Minus 70 Percent

At the points where we are fixated, where we have absolutized something, the story of plus 30 and minus 70 percent will come up.
You can be fixated on anything. For example, sex or success – which is the case with many men.
The inner, often unconscious motto is: I must have sex or success. Only then will I be happy. It is not wrong for men to want sex and success, but it is wrong when they become dependent on them. What happens then?
If he is fixated on 1oo% success and only reaches 30, he also loses the 3o% satisfaction, but unfortunately he experiences 7o% minus.
But if nothing else is possible, it can also make sense to fixate on yourself and see the situation as worse than it is!

The Story of the False Suitcase

A patient had a dream: He was walking through a strange city with a heavy suitcase, looking for a place to stay. Suddenly he stumbled, the suitcase fell, and its contents spilled onto the street. He was surprised to find that the things on the street did not belong to him, but to his parents. He left everything behind and continued on his way. He had understood that the suitcase was not his “thing” at all.

The Story of Missing Thanks

Our grandchildren have special requests. Although my wife sometimes cuts her own ribs, she fulfills almost all of them. The result: The grandchildren take it for granted and rarely thank her. They may even think, “Grandma needs it because it is her thing, so she should thank us for giving it to her. Sometimes I try to follow the motto: “Better a healthy and bad grandpa than a good and dead one. Result: I get the most thanks.

Rail or Gravel

When we are programmed on the positive foreign Absolutes and have to fulfill their demands, we get speed like on a rail. If we do not fulfill the demands because we cannot or do not want to anymore, we come off the track onto the gravel.
Rail or gravel, everything or nothing, black or knows, right or wrong and nothing in between, these are the formulas. Then it will be difficult to find or create normal paths or meadows in this area.
But if nothing else works, it can also make sense to stay on the gravel or to go on the rail, even if it doesn’t make sense most of the time!

The Pit

People begin to live from very different positions. The first is far in the plus, the second is far in the minus. The second one often falls into a pit, even though he has done more than the first one.
Why is that?
When he compares himself with the first one after a few years, he is still behind him. He takes it badly and falls into the “pit” (depression…).
His mistake: he does not consider that he had a much worse start and could be proud of himself.
Findings: Comparing is crap.

The Story of the Conflicting Interpretation

My wife has a new book and instead of going to bed with me, she reads all night. Is this a sign of lack of love or great love?
Lack of love, perhaps, because she prefers the book to me.
But it is great love, perhaps because she thinks I am so generous that she can do anything.

The Story of the Lost Paradise

We have lost paradise because of our sins. We try to take the place of God¹ and eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That is, we have tied ourselves to the leg that is too hard for us. Instead of relativizing the question of good and evil, we have submitted to it and are now condemned to do the good and leave the evil. We should not have taken on this burden. (See also `theodicy´!)
We should live in the center of our lives paradise again – (in the core) beyond good and evil. (It is easiest with Jesus, I believe).

The Story of the Prostitutes

One prostitute to another: Men are all pigs. They only want one thing: sex.
One john to another: Prostitutes are all pigs. They only want one thing: money.

A Neurotic Story between Myself and my Wife

Since my last two patients had been canceled, I arrived home an hour early. Instead of joy, I saw a slight horror on my wife’s face because, as I learned later, she had not yet prepared dinner. But I did not expect this at all – on the contrary, it does not matter to me.
I am now offended because she was not pleased to see me, and even more because she seems to have the impression that I am a despot who demands immediate and punctual food.
She feels hurt because I told her that she wasn’t happy about my coming, and even more because it seems that I don’t care when the food comes to the table and I don’t appreciate her efforts.
One neurotic solution that has gone through my mind is that I will never come home early so that this conflict does not arise in the first place. And I often take such neurotic solutions because they provide greater relief in the short term.

© by T. Oettinger, 2003-2024, German edition/2017


Abbreviations of all Parts

+ = positive
 − = negative
¹ = first-rate or primary
² = second-rate (or secondary) not to be confused with coordinate
→ = ‘see or `result is´.
* = Sign for absolutizing and / or dominance. (Often used to point to an absolutizing.)
| = a sign that the German original version has been shortened at this point.
# = contradiction
A = the Absolute (+A = positive Absolute, −A = negative Absolute)
All (∀) = here strange everything, which stands in opposition to the nothing(ness).
asp. = aspect
BLQC = being, life, qualities, connections
C = general abbreviation for complexes that dominate personal and other areas of reality.
D = Dynamism D¹ = first-rate D., D² = second-rate D.
DM = Dimensions
DM = Defense-mechanisms
e.g. = exempli gratia (for example)
etc. = et cetera
God¹ = I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. → `Christian one-sidednesses… .
I = I in general ( I¹ = first-rate I, I² = strange I = Ego)
i.e. = id est (that is)
It = dominating entity/instance, consisting of 2 or 3 cores:
    2 parts: all and nothing (∀/ 0) = `dyad’ or
    3 parts: pro-sA or + sA, contra-sA or -sA and 0 = `triad’
It/sA resp. It/sS: if I want to emphasize the absolute role of an It-part.
KW = keyword = headword
ns = new-strange/ new-second-rate (new secondary)
No. = Number
P = Person; P¹ = first-rate personality; P² = second-rate personality (often only P labeled)
pr = psychically relevant
r = relative
R = the Relative (represents everything that is not A or 0.)
R* = Relativistic
resp. = respectively
s = strange = second-rate (²)[1]
sA = strange resp. second-rate Absolute
             pro-sA and contra-sA = opposing sA.
             asA = absolutistic strange Absolute
             rsA= relativistic strange Absolute
s0 (or 0) = strange, determining nothing(ness) = nihilistic
sS = strange Self
syn. = synonym
W = World, reality
WPI = world, person, I.


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[Further references are also given in corresponding footnotes].


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