150 Years of Freud-Kraepelin Dualism
Katharina Trede, M.D.
Published online: 30 March 2007
Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007
Abstract The year 2006 marked the 150th Birthday of Emil Kraepelin and Sigmund
Freud. Kraepelin and Freud were two very different yet very similar men. The comparison
between their biographies shows many parallels in their lives and personalities. They were,
in their time, the two most inﬂuential individuals in psychiatry. They wrote and thought
about similar topics in the ﬁeld yet came to quite different conclusions. Both did not show
public respect for each other but wrote about the importance of integrating their respective
approaches into the study of the mind/brain problem. Psychiatry today continues to
struggle with the integration of the biological and psychodynamic approach.
Keywords Biographies Á Contemporaries Á Dualism Á Freud Á Kraepelin
The year 2006 marked the 150th Birthday of Emil Kraepelin (15 February 1856) and
Sigmund Freud (6 May 1856). While they were in their time the two most inﬂuential
individuals in psychiatry, Freud and Kraepelin never met. Could their non-existent rela-
tionship be a seen as a metaphor for the difﬁculties psychiatry encounters when it attempts
to integrate the mind and brain?
Kraepelin and Freud were prodigy sons from families with no academic tradition.
Kraepelin started out by focusing on experimental psychology while Freud was pursuing
studies in neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurology. What if Kraepelin had not been
so deeply in love and so anxious to get married? His passion was experimental psychology
and philosophy and he wanted to pursue an academic career in those two ﬁelds. But he
needed a job in order to be able to support his future wife and children. So he took a
clinical position and accepted an invitation to write a textbook. This textbook became
Kraepelin’s life work. What if Freud had not been so deeply in love and so anxious to get
K. Trede, M.D. (&)
Valley Mental Health Center, 1020 South Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101, USA
Psychiatr Q (2007) 78:237–240