Klaus Grawe

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Schema analysis
Complementary relationship design
Consistency theory
Five factors of influence in psychotherapy

Klaus Detlev Grawe (born April 29, 1943 in Wilster , † July 10, 2005 in Zurich ) was a German psychological psychotherapist and university professor specializing in psychotherapy research .


Grawe grew up in Hamburg , graduated from the Sankt-Ansgar-Schule in 1962 and completed his psychology degree at the University of Hamburg in 1968 . From 1969 to 1979 he worked at the Psychiatric University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf . In 1976 he received his doctorate from the University of Hamburg with a thesis on the indication and specific effects of behavioral therapy and conversation psychotherapy . In 1979 he completed his habilitation in Hamburg and was appointed to the University of Bern , where he took over the chair for clinical psychology and psychotherapy. In 1995/1996 he was President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research . He lived in Zurich, was married to the psychotherapist Marianne Grawe-Gerber and had five children.


As an expert on questions relating to the German Psychotherapists Act of June 16, 1998, Grawe argued unsuccessfully for a cross-school model. In collaboration with Franz Caspar , he developed schema analysis as a further development of plan analysis , a form of vertical behavior analysis that took its cognitive elements more into account. In 1986 he presented his schematic theory, on the basis of which he further developed behavioral analysis into schema analysis. In this context, he postulated four basic human needs , the fulfillment of which or the fear of non-fulfillment lead to approaches and avoidance schemes that should be taken into account when planning a successful therapy. For this he developed the schematic theoretical case concept.

He became known internationally through numerous researches on the effectiveness of the various directions of psychotherapy. In 1994 he published Psychotherapy in Transition . This almost 900-page publication contained a meta-analysis of 897 effectiveness studies carried out according to scientific criteria . Grawe took the view that psychotherapy should be based solely on academic research. Since his research results suggested that behavior therapy most closely met this criterion and was particularly effective, he was henceforth criticized by representatives of the non-behavioral psychotherapeutic directions (even by those whose effectiveness he also confirmed). In the report he submitted to a commission of the German Ministry of Health on the effectiveness of psychotherapy, he stated that behavioral therapy should play a prominent role. Critics accused him of unilaterally coordinating the meta-analysis he carried out with a positive result of behavior therapy and of including many studies in his analysis that deviated from the reality of care and were often methodologically questionable.

The so-called Grawe report received differentiated criticism, for example in the anthology edited by Volker Tschuschke and others with the title Between Confusion and Maculature or in the response to Klaus Grawe's meta-analysis by the psychoanalyst Wolfgang Mertens . The team led by the psychotherapy researcher Falk Leichsenring dealt with the fundamental difficulties of comparing effectiveness in therapy studies using the example of the Grawe report and came to a critical assessment because “most studies were not consistently planned as comparative evaluations and also afterwards could not be interpreted in this sense ”. In reference to the subtitle Grawe chose for his meta-analysis, the psychoanalyst Horst Kächele chose the title Klaus Grawe's Denomination and the Psychoanalytic Profession for his answer . Kächele confronted Grawe's communications with other studies on psychotherapy research and came to the conclusion that he was "not doing justice to the reality of psychoanalytic treatment".

From his research results, Grawe developed the goal of overcoming the school dispute and developing the basics of general psychotherapy. That is why, in the last ten years of his life, he worked intensively on the development and empirical examination of the fundamentals of psychological psychotherapy, for which he worked out the peculiarities of depth psychological or behavioral approaches (keyword clarification or coping-oriented therapy), extracted their common factors and as developed his consistency theory on a common basis , which also included his schema theory and schema-analytical case conception.

Most recently, Klaus Grawe worked, among other things, in the field of research into the neural processes that underlie a disturbed experience and behavior, and on the merging of approaches based on this for psychotherapeutic change processes with the theoretical approaches he had developed up to then. In his last work, published in 2004, he merged his theories with the results of neuroscience and further developed so-called neuropsychotherapy , a trend-setting approach based on neuroscientific psychotherapy that contains efficient new perspectives and possibilities.

Until shortly before his death, Grawe worked on the validation of five impact factors , which are necessary prerequisites for the success of psychotherapy across all therapy schools . He was absolutely certain to have found these factors empirically verifiable. On the one hand, he was amused by the fact that the costs for psychotherapy in Germany are now completely covered by health insurances, on the other hand, shortly before his death in an interview in report psychotherapie, he bitterly remarked that if he was already in his grave, he would turn around there he knew that, as a result of health insurance contracts, psychotherapists in Germany were no longer allowed to give therapy freely based on current empirical findings. In Switzerland, where the costs of psychotherapy are only covered to a small extent, this freedom is still given.

The connection of theory and practice ( psychotherapy ) with the primary goal of making practical work independent of therapeutic schools has always been in the foreground for him.


  • Differential psychotherapy I: indication and specific effects of behavioral therapy and counseling psychotherapy - a study on phobic patients. Huber, Bern 1976, ISBN 3-456-80262-5 (dissertation, University of Hamburg, 1976).
  • With Ruth Donati, Friederike Bernauer: Psychotherapy in transition - from denomination to profession. Hogrefe, Göttingen 1994; 5th, unchanged edition 2001, ISBN 3-8017-0481-5 .
  • Psychological therapy. Hogrefe, Göttingen 1998, ISBN 3-8017-0978-7 ; 2nd, corrected edition 2000, ISBN 3-8017-1369-5 .
  • Neuropsychotherapy. Hogrefe, Göttingen 2004, ISBN 3-8017-1804-2 .
  • Behavioral therapy in groups. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-541-09181-9 .
  • With Rita Ullrich de Muynck, Rüdiger Ullrich: Social Competence II: Clinical Effectiveness and Factors. Pfeiffer, Munich 1980, ISBN 3-7904-0294-X .
  • With Rolf Hänni, Norbert Semmer, Franziska Tschan: About the right way to do psychology: Klaus Foppa and Mario von Cranach on their 60th birthday. Hogrefe, Göttingen 1991, ISBN 3-8017-0415-7 .
  • With Otto F. Kernberg : remembering and designing in psychotherapeutic action. 45th Lindau Psychotherapy Weeks 1995. 9 audio cassettes. Carl Auer Systems Verlag, Heidelberg 1995, ISBN 3-931574-91-1 .


  • Wolfgang Mertens : Psychoanalysis put to the test? A reply to the meta-analysis by Klaus Grawe. Quintessenz, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-86128-288-7 .
  • Hilarion G. Petzold : On the way to “General Psychotherapy” and “Neuropsychotherapy”. In memory of Klaus Grawe. In: Integrative Therapy. Vol. 31 (2005), No. 4, pp. 419-431.
  • Hilarion G. Petzold: On the way to “General Psychotherapy” and “Neuropsychotherapy”. On the 1st anniversary of Klaus Grawe's death. In: Psychological Medicine. Vol. 17 (2006), No. 2, pp. 37-45 ( PDF; 255 KiB ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Past Presidents of the SPR , Society for Psychotherapy Research website, accessed April 10, 2013.
  2. Claudia Heckrath, Paul Dohmen: History repeats itself also in psychotherapy research? In: Volker Tschuschke , Claudia Heckrath, Wolfgang Tress: Between confusion and waste. On the value of the Bern psychotherapy study by Grawe, Bernauer and Donati. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1997, pp. 25-39 ( RTF; 123 KiB ( Memento from May 6, 2003 in the Internet Archive )).
  3. Volker Tschuschke , Claudia Heckrath, Wolfgang Tress: Between confusion and waste. On the value of the Bern psychotherapy study by Grawe, Bernauer and Donati . Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 1997, ISBN 3-525-45801-0 ( d-nb.info [PDF; 19 kB ; accessed on October 3, 2019] Table of Contents).
  4. Wolfgang Mertens : Psychoanalysis on the test bench? A reply to the meta-analysis by Klaus Grawe . Quintessenz, Berlin, Munich 1994, ISBN 3-86128-288-7 .
  5. Willi Hager, Falk Leichsenring , Angelina Schiffler: When does a therapy study enable direct comparisons of effectiveness between different forms of therapy? In: Journal for Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy . tape 50 , no. 2 . Georg Thieme Verlag, 2000, ISSN  1438-3608 , p. 51–62 (quotation from the abstract published by the publisher).
  6. Horst Kächele : Klaus Grawes denomination and the psychoanalytic profession . In: Psyche . tape 49 , no. 5 , 1995, p. 481-492 .