views updated


In stages, Harald Schultz-Hencke developed a psychological theory that in 1945 became known as neopsychoanalysis. His idea was to create a successful, more scientific amalgamation of the three "historical trends" in research (Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, and Carl Gustav Jung).

In Einführung in die Psychoanalyse (Introduction to psychoanalysis; 1927) Schultz-Hencke posited that psychoanalysis could be conceived in terms of descriptive psychology. Between 1928 and 1931 he attempted, in accordance with his empirical positions, to dissociate the supposed "facts" of psychoanalytic discovery from the "theoretical scaffolding," in order to reject the most important theoretical concepts one by one (in particular, metapsychology, libidinal theory, the Oedipus complex, and the unconscious). In addition, beginning in 1929 he tried to integrate into his "amalgamation" those empirical elements of the theories of Adler, Jung, and Freud that seemed certain to him. In this he was influenced by the then-dominant currents within the Allgemeine Ärtzliche Gesellschaft für Psychotherapie (General society of psychotherapeutic medicine): "eclectic psychoanalysis" (Wilhelm Stekel, Walter Schindler) and by attempts to establish a unified medical psychoanalysis (cf. Johannes Heinrich-Schultz).

In Der gehemmte Mensch (Inhibited man; 1940) he conceptualized his theory of the neuroses as Desmolyse (from desmos, meaning "chain"), in accordance with his belief that the inhibition of expansivity constituted the essence of all neurotic development. In 1945 he named his conception Neopsychoanalyse, and from that year until 1952 he made various attempts to present it as "modern psychoanalysis," "psychosomatics" (Franz Alexander), or as a specialty within psychiatry.

The psychoanalytic theory of the instincts was replaced, in Schultz-Hencke's model, by a more conventional doctrine of psychological impulses (Antrieblehre ), in which independent impulses are distinguished: autochthonous; intentional lived impulses, such as the grasping (oral), retentive (anal), aggressive, self-esteem, and urethral impulses; and finally, the lived impulse of love (sexual impulse). The nodal process of the formation of neuroses is similar to inhibition; neurotic symptomatology does not result from an old intrapsychic conflict, but instead functions like an embedded "piece of shrapnel" from a former integral life experience, and the corresponding etiological factors stem from an upbringing that has been either overly rigorous or overly lax. In this regard the implicit theoretical model of neopsychoanalysis is similar to behaviorist theory, making it superior, in the view of some of Schultz-Hencke's followers, to classical psychoanalysis.

In terms of technique, the goal is to stress amamnesis (recollection), leading to different treatment indications depending on the depth of the neurosis: Short-term therapy may be recommended. Emphasis is placed on current reality: evaluating the work of therapy, skepticism with regard to interpretations, and giving up the transference and countertransference. In many respects it is a conventional medical model that involves applying a treatment method according to prescribed rules with the aim of curing an illness. Schultz-Hencke's essentially descriptive theory of the neuroses was propagated and vulgarized by Fritz Riemann in Grundformen der Angst (Primitive forms of anxiety; 1966). Neopsychoanalytic treatment technique was developed by Annemarie Dührssen and Helmut Bach, among others. Werner Schwidder used and further developed Schultz-Hencke's psychosomatic theory.

In 1960 German neopsychoanalysts (of the Deutsche Psychoanalytische Gesellschaft [DPG, German Psychoanalytic Society]) became affiliated with the International Federation of Psychoanalytic Societies; founding members of this international forum included Walter Schindler, René Laforgue, Erick Fromm, Karen Horney, and Franz Alexander. Setting aside internal theoretical divergences, this movement was originally intended to be a "progressive" alternative to the International Psychoanalytical Association and aimed to take positions distinct from those of "orthodox" psychoanalysis. But international intellectual exchanges, above all in the area of ego psychology, produced a shift that ended up making Schultz-Hencke's neopsychoanalysis superfluous, because within the spectrum of internationally recognized trends, a number of elements of neopsychoanalysis gradually emerged and were reworked, without needing to be identified with Schultz-Hencke's name to lend them weight.

Irma Gleiss

See also: Germany; Deutsches Institut für Psychologische Forschung und Psychotherapie (Institut Göring); Psyche. Zeitschrift für Psychanalyse und ihre Anwendungen ; Schultz-Hencke, Harald Julius Alfred Carl-Ludwig; Splits in psychoanalysis.


Bach, Helmut. (1970). Die Behandlungstechnik in den neopsychoanaystischen Richtungen. In Lerbuch der Klinischen Psychologie (W. J. Schraml, Ed.). Bern: Hans Huber.

Heigl, Franz, and Axel, Triebel. (1977). Lernvorgänge in psychoanalytisher therapie. Bern: Hans Huber.

Riemann, Fritz. (1966). Grundformen der Angst. Munich and Basel: Ernst Reinhardt.

Schulz-Hencke, Harald. (1972). Einführung in die psycho-analyse. Jena-Göttinger: Fischer-Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht. (Original work published 1927)

. (1982). Der gehemmte mensch. Leipzig and Stuttgart: Thieme. (Original work published 1940)