Helmut Thomä M.D. and Horst Kächele M.D., Ph.D.

Ulm, Germany

Award Year: 2004

This is a joint award recognizing the joint contribution of “senior” (Thomä) and “junior” (Kächele) to the field of psychoanalysis. Both have made very important contributions. They are perhaps best known for the erudite 1985 three volume textbook, Lehrbuch der Psychoanalytischen Therapeie they co-wrote, two of which volumes have been translated to English. In addition they have numerous other joint and individual publications. The work of either could have warranted separate recognition, but the importance of their joint contributions made a joint award appropriate. Their work, which has been the subject of controversy inside and outside of Germany, has inspired much debate and scholarly discussion in which they have actively participated.

thoma-helmut_300Helmut Thomä was one of the two leading German post war psychoanalysts who, together with A. Mitscherlich, established psychoanalysis within German academic circles, shaping the Heidelberg Psychosomatic Clinic in the 50’s and 60;’s. He was deeply influenced by his one year stay at the Yale Psychiatric Institute where he formed close lifelong relationships with John Kafka and Theodor Lidz. His first academic achievement was a monograph on anorexia nervosa in German in 1961. In 1967 it became the first German psychoanalytic work translated into English. His role as President of the German Psychoanalytic Association from 1968-1972 was critical for the growth of the German Psychoanalytic Association (DPV) Another year of training in London with Michael Balint stimulated his interests in psychoanalytic process research which became his major research focus when he became Director of the Ulm Department of Psychotherapy in 1967, where he served until 1989. Together with Horst Kaechele they established the Ulm Psychoanalytic Process Research Program that, among other academic achievements, led to the Ulm Textbook of Psychoanalytic Therapy, which has been translated, into 15 languages. It is available in German, English, Spanish, Italian and Russian on the web.

kchele_horst

Listen to Horst Kächele’s introduction to Navigare Necesse Est and click here to read the whole piece.)

Horst Kächele was born in 1944 and grew up in Stuttgart in Swabia which he considers a formative environment for him because it was at the confluence of art, psychotherapy and Christianity. At the age of 16 he went to a conference at which Werner Kemper (a former Berlin psychoanalyst) from Rio de Janeiro spoke. He divided his medical studies between Marburg, Leeds (England) and Munich 1963-1969. He wrote his doctoral dissertation on the concept of psychogenic deaths as a conceptual paper and it became his first publication in 1970. The following years (1970-1975) he trained in psychotherapy at the Department of Psychotherapy, Ulm University, and in psychoanalysis at the Ulm Institute of Psychoanalysis (IPA). He completed his Habilitation in 1976 on the then quite new technique of computer-based content analysis in psychoanalytic process research.

In 1977 he became Associate professor at Ulm University, then was appointed Chief of Section for Psychoanalytic Methodology at Ulm University 1978-1989, and subsequently became the Chair, of Department Psychotherapy at the Faculty of Medicine Ulm University 1990, as well as Chair of Department Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the Faculty of Medicine Ulm University 1997 – 2009.

Dr. Kächele was also Chief of the Center for Psychotherapy Research, Stuttgart 1988-2004, Visiting professor at University College London, Psychoanalysis Unit 1995-2000, Honorary Professor of the Faculty for Psychoanalytic Medicine, University St. Petersburg 1996 and Profesor visitande permanente der Universidad de Chile 2005.
He is known for his decades-long commitment to research, his constant efforts to create a methodology for the evaluation of psychoanalytic progress, the co-development of the Ulm Text Bank, his amazing scientific productivity, and his vigor in the word-wide promotion of empirical investigation in psychoanalysis.

The subjects of his publications include psychoanalytic process and outcome research, somato-psychic topics in Bone Marrow Transplantation and eating disorders, and clinical attachment research. Dr. Kächele is the co-author (with Helmut Thomä) of the Ulm textbook on psychoanalytic therapy that has been translated into 15 languages and is available in English, German, Italian, Persian, Russian and Spanish on www.horstkaechele.de. [Note: you must sign his guestbook to access his writings.]