On This Day … 19 December [2022]

People (Births)

  • 1925 – William Schutz, American psychologist and academic (d. 2002).

People (Deaths)

  • 1915 – Alois Alzheimer, German psychiatrist and neuropathologist (b. 1864).

William Schutz

Schutz was born in Chicago, Illinois. He practiced at the Esalen Institute in the 1960s. He later became the president of BConWSA International. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA. In the 1950s, he was part of the peer-group at the University of Chicago’s Counseling Center that included Carl Rogers, Thomas Gordon, Abraham Maslow and Elias Porter. He taught at Tufts University, Harvard University, University of California, Berkeley and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and was chairman of the holistic studies department at Antioch University until 1983.

In 1958, Schutz introduced a theory of interpersonal relations he called Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation (FIRO). According to the theory three dimensions of interpersonal relations were deemed to be necessary and sufficient to explain most human interaction: Inclusion, Control and Affection. These dimensions have been used to assess group dynamics.

Schutz also created FIRO-B, a measurement instrument with scales that assess the behavioural aspects of the three dimensions. His advancement of FIRO Theory beyond the FIRO-B tool was most obvious in the change of the “Affection” scale to the “Openness” scale in the “FIRO Element-B”. This change highlighted his newer theory that behaviour comes from feelings (“FIRO Element-F”) and the self-concept (“FIRO Element-S”). “Underlying the behaviour of openness is the feeling of being likable or unlikeable, lovable or unlovable. I find you likable if I like myself in your presence, if you create an atmosphere within which I like myself.”

W. Schutz authored more than ten books and many articles. His work was influenced by Alexander Lowen, Ida Pauline Rolf and Moshe Feldenkrais. As a body therapist he led encounter group workshops focussing on the underlying causes of illnesses and developing alternative body-centered cures. His books, “Profound Simplicity” and “The Truth Option,” address this theme. He brought new approaches to body therapy that integrated truth, choice (freedom), (self) responsibility, self-esteem, self-regard and honesty into his approach.

In his books one encounters the concept of energy cycles (e.g. Schutz 1979) which a person goes through or call for completion. The single steps of the energy cycles are: motivation – prepare – act – feel.

Schutz died at his home in Muir Beach, California in 2002.

Alois Alzheimer

Alois Alzheimer (14 June 1864 to 19 December 1915) was a German psychiatrist and neuropathologist and a colleague of Emil Kraepelin. Alzheimer is credited with identifying the first published case of “presenile dementia”, which Kraepelin would later identify as Alzheimer’s disease.

In 1887, Alois Alzheimer graduated from Würzburg as Doctor of Medicine. The following year, he spent five months assisting mentally ill women before he took an office in the city mental asylum in Frankfurt, the Städtische Anstalt für Irre und Epileptische (Asylum for Lunatics and Epileptics). Emil Sioli, a noted psychiatrist, was the dean of the asylum. Another neurologist, Franz Nissl, began to work in the same asylum with Alzheimer. Together, they conducted research on the pathology of the nervous system, specifically the normal and pathological anatomy of the cerebral cortex. Alzheimer was the co-founder and co-publisher of the journal Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie, though he never wrote a book that he could call his own.

While at the Frankfurt asylum, Alzheimer also met Emil Kraepelin, one of the best-known German psychiatrists of the time. Kraepelin became a mentor to Alzheimer, and the two worked very closely for the next several years. When Kraepelin moved to Munich to work at the Royal Psychiatric Hospital in 1903, he invited Alzheimer to join him.

At the time, Kraepelin was doing clinical research on psychosis in senile patients; Alzheimer, on the other hand, was more interested in the lab work of senile illnesses. The two men would face many challenges involving the politics of the psychiatric community. For example, both formal and informal arrangements would be made among psychiatrists at asylums and universities to receive cadavers.

In 1904, Alzheimer completed his habilitation at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he was appointed as a professor in 1908. Afterwards, he left Munich for the Silesian Friedrich Wilhelm University in Breslau in 1912, where he accepted a post as professor of psychiatry and director of the Neurologic and Psychiatric Institute. His health deteriorated shortly after his arrival so that he was hospitalised. Alzheimer died three years later.

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