Psychotherapeuten entdecken das Gehirn wieder

Als ich in den 80er Jahren auf einer angesehenen amerikanischen Universität klinische Psychologie studierte, war nicht viel von Neurologie die Rede. Angesichts der zentralen Rolle, die das Gehirn in der menschlichen Erfahrungswelt spielt, fand ich diese Tatsache beunruhigend. Nach einigen Jahren in der Praxis fing ich an, den vermeintlich leeren wissenschaftlichen Raum zwischen dem Gehirn und der Psychotherapie zu erforschen.

Ich entdeckte, dass Sigmund Freud sehr an der Neurologie interessiert war, bevor er die Psychoanalyse begründete. In einer Schrift mit dem Titel "Projekt einer wissenschaftlichen Psychologie" schlug er vor, die Rolle der Nervenzellenstruktur als Grundlage der menschlichen Erfahrung zu untersuchen. Er fügte der Untersuchung einige einfache Diagramme von vernetzten Nervenzellen hinzu, die unsere inneren Erfahrungen, Abwehrmechanismen und einige mögliche Ursachen für Geisteskrankheiten darstellten.

Anfeindungen von seinen Kollegen brachten Freud jedoch dazu, die Schrift nicht zu veröffentlichen, die dann schließlich erst nach seinem Tod, fünfzig Jahre später, publiziert wurde. Im 20. Jahrhundert trennten sich die Psychoanalyse und andere Zweige der Psychotherapie von der Neurologie und entwickelten eine eigene, metaphernreiche Sprache für die Vorgänge im menschlichen Geist, die dem Gehirn und dem Nervensystem wenig Aufmerksamkeit zollte. Gleichzeitig baut die Neurologie einen großen Wissensschatz über die Beziehung des Gehirns zum beobachtbarem Verhalten auf.

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