The Search for the Whole Human

Psychosomatic Medicine in the 20th Century

The ideas of psychosomatics have become widely disseminated and accepted, both in society and in medicine. Psychosomatics’ particular appeal in Germany certainly has something to do with its self-portrayal as a more humane alternative to the cold, detached world of modern medicine with all its political baggage. Yet despite this “success story,” a comprehensive history of the field remains to be written.

A collaborative project led together with Dr. Alexa Geisthövel of the Institute for the History of Medicine and Ethics in Medicine, Charité Berlin, seeks to study and write this history. More than 20 researchers from German, Swiss, British, Canadian, American and Israeli universities will make contributions to a comprehensive study of the history of psychosomatics in the 20th century.


  • Hitzer, B. & Geisthövel, A. (2019), Auf der Suche nach einer anderen Medizin - Psychosomatik im 20. Jahrhundert, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.
  • Hitzer, B. & León-Sanz, Pilar (2016), The Feeling Body and Its Diseases: How Cancer Went Psychosomatic in Twentieth-Century Germany. In Osiris 31, S. 67-93.
  • Hitzer, B. (2011), Gefühle heilen. In U. Frevert et al., Gefühlswissen. Eine lexikalische Spurensuche in der Moderne, Frankfurt : Campus, S. 121-151.

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