On This Day … 24 September

People (Births)

  • 1901 – Alexandra Adler, Austrian neurologist and psychologist (d.2001).

People (Deaths)

  • 2013 – Boris Karvasarsky, Ukrainian-Russian psychiatrist and author (b. 1931).

Alexandra Adler

Alexandra Adler (24 September 1901 to 04 January 2001) was an Austrian neurologist and the daughter of psychoanalyst Alfred Adler.

She has been described as one of the “leading systematizers and interpreters” of Adlerian psychology. Her sister was Socialist activist Valentine Adler. Alexandra Adler’s husband was Halfdan Gregersen.

In 1943, Adler studied survivors of the Coconut Grove nightclub fire of 1942. The study found that 50% of the survivors still experienced trauma and disturbances a year after the accident. These symptoms included changes in personality such as lack of sleep, anxiety, guilt and fears of the event. It was also studied that survivors were only recognising parts of what happened. It would theorized that it was due to the stress or a possible lesion in the brain due to carbon monoxide exposure. Adler became one of the first neurologists to create a detailed documentation of what is known as post traumatic stress disorder.

In the 1950s and throughout the 60’s, Adler continued her father’s work of Adlerian psychology for possible treatments for schizophrenia, neuroses, and personality disorders. She believed this could be done through modern drug treatment, group therapy, and the existentialist and religious psychotherapies.

Boris Karvasarsky

Boris Dmitrievich Karvasarsky (Russian: Борис Дмитриевич Карвасарский; 03 February 1931 to 24 September 2013) was a Russian psychiatrist, a disciple of V. N. Myasishchev.

Education

Karvasarsky was born in Derazhnia, Ukraine, on 03 February 1931. In 1954 he graduated from S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy. Then he completed postgraduate courses in the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute and was awarded the Degree of Candidate of Science in 1961. He attained his M.D. degree at the age of 37 (in 1968).

Scientific Work

Karvasarsky headed the Department of Neuroses and Psychotherapy in the Bekhterev Research Institute from 1961 until his death. During the period of 1982 until 1993 he also held the chair of Child-Adolescent Psychotherapy in Leningrad Institute for Postgraduate Medical Education. In 1986, he became Head of the Republican Centre for Scientific and Methodic Coordination in Psychotherapy.

The objectives of the centre include annual analysis of the state of psychotherapeutic services in Russia and ongoing education of the specialists rendering psychotherapeutic treatment to the population.

He worked as editorial board member of several journals including The Bekhterev Review of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology and the Bulletin of Psychotherapy. He was president of the Russian Psychotherapeutic Association until his death. He has also been chief psychotherapist of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation for about 20 years.

Proceeding from V. Myasishchev’s ideas and his conception of pathogenetic psychotherapy, Karvasarsky elaborated personality-oriented (reconstructive) psychotherapy. After making a special study of this psychotherapeutic approach, some research workers concluded it to be nothing but “Soviet psychoanalysis.” Its proponents, however, challenge such a characterisation. When treating neuroses, associates of the Bekhterev Psychoneurological Institute mainly make use of personality-oriented (reconstructive) psychotherapy. The method has not been extensively used in other regions of today’s Russia, but has been shown capable of yielding satisfactory results in patients with different mental disorders related to borderline psychiatry.

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