Graf-Nold, A: Medard Boss, and his institution of Heideggerian Daseins-analysis or: C.G. Jung's uncomfortable role within Swiss psychotherapeutic training after WWII


Media is loading



Due to his numerous organizational activities between the foundation of the Psychological Club in 1916 and the foundation of the C.G. Jung-Institute in 1948 Jung played a major role in the professionalization and institutionalization of psychotherpapy in Switzerland. His dominant position always stood in the tension of an admired mentor and an alleged preacher of his own doctrine, - a position he often decisively denied.

During the time of WWII (1939-45) Jung invited a group of medical colleagues to discuss their cases every fortnight in his house in Küsnacht. When Medard Boss (1903-1990), a longtime member of this circle, showed him his long thesis (habilitation) for his position as lecturer at the University Zurich (Sinn und Gehalt der sexuellen Perversionen), the conflict broke out. Boss had built his theoretical argumentation on Heideggerian philosophy without mentioning the well known Jungian terms and concepts. Jung complained that he had replaced psychoanalytic concepts with “philosophical phantasies,” by constantly having prevented and escaped a fruitful discussion within the group.

A new similar version of the controversy took place some years later, and became known as the Boss-Mitscherlich controversy. Mitscherlich the leading figure of post war psychoanalysis in Germany, critized in a review a (transgender) case study which Boss had presented at a Congress. Since Boss felt insulted and misunderstood Mitscherlich collected the statements of more than 20 of Boss’colleagues (C.G. Jung, Ludwig Binswanger e..a. ) about the adequacy of Boss’ treatment. Jung again complained about Boss “philosophical bombast“ which would not be of relevance for the decided measures.

In his judgement Jung obviously felt confirmed by an article , which Anna Tumarkin (1875-1951), the (native Russian) renowned female professor of philosophy at the university of Bern, “Heidegger’s Existenzphilosophy,” had published (1944) in the Schweizer Zeitschrift für Psychologie on request of himself and the other editors (J. Piaget and W. Morgenthaler). Tumarkin cautiously and thoroughly analyzed the characteristics of Heidegger’s philosophy and finally denied the relevance for psychotherapeutic purposes.

Boss, however, moved forward making Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) his personal mentor, and establishing specific institutionalized psychoanalytic school of “Daseinsanalysis.” After his death the School declined and closed in 2000. In a reorganized form the school again exists (GAD/DaS) as one a 5 licensed psychoanalytic institutions for psychotherapeutic education in Switzerland.

Presenter Bio:

Angela Graf-Nold, PhD, is historian of psychology and psychotherapy and psychotherapist in private practice in Zurich. She held several research positions at various departments at the University of Zurich, including the Department for Child Psychiatry (on the history of psychotherapy of children), and the Psychiatric Clinic of the University (Burghölzli) on epidemiology and archival studies and published in these fields. From 2004 – 2010 she worked as research fellow and Philemon senior scholar at the Institute for Medical History on the edition of C.G. Jung‘s lectures at the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute) Zurich.

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

This document is currently not available here.