Rudolf Allers Information Page




Rudolf Allers (1883 - 1963)


"Truths have to be told and considered,and not only to be felt. As long as these truths are not made fully conscious, as long as they are not made the very rules guiding our life, they are rather useless."

Rudolf Allers



Do you know who Allers is?

He was a disciple of Sigmund Freud. He worked with Alfred Adler for 13 years until he decided to part away. Victor Frankl, the creator of the Logotherapy, was thrown out of Adler’s group because he was a disciple of Allers and shared his ideas.

He wrote and published around 600 books and papers, and had a great influence in his time. Why we know so little about him remains a mystery. Might this be a result of the so called Totschweigetaktik (the silent tactic)? This page tries to make up a little for that ungratefulness or silencing tactic.

Rudolf Allers was a physician, psychologist and philosopher. He was born in Vienna (Austria), in 1883. He received his MD in 1906, from the University of Vienna. After practicing medicine for two years, he studied to be a psychiatrist. He began to get interested in Sigmund Freud’s work, and belonged to his last class. Allers did not agree with what he describes as unscientific ideas of Freud (1). He worked in mental clinics in Munich (Germany). We find him in 1913 as instructor of psychiatry at the University of Munich. In World War I he worked as a surgeon in the Austrian Army. Afterwards he wrote a book about bullet wounds in the head. He also had worked in a biochemistry lab and wrote several papers on his experiments.

From 1918 to 1938 he specialized in psychiatry. He taught and did research in the Medical School in Vienna. He was also Director of the School of Medical Psychology. From 1920 he also worked in private psychotherapeutic consultation. 

In between these occupations he went to the Sacro Cuore University in Milan (Italy), invited by the famous Father Agostino Gemelli, one of the founders of the great Catholic University in northern Italy, where he earned his doctoral degree in Philosophy (1934). Allers was fully convinced that one should understand very well the anthropological and philosophical issues at stake in the views or fundamentals of psychology and psychiatry.

In 1938 he foresaw the peril for him and his family by Hitler’s takeover of Austria, so he decided to accept an invitation to go to USA to teach psychology in The Catholic University of America.

Allers was and remained Catholic all his life. In 1948 he was appointed professor of philosophy in Georgetown University in Washington, DC. In 1960 he received a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. He was President of the Washington Philosophical Club and also of the Metaphysical Society of America. The Catholic Philosophical Association granted him the famous Thomas Aquinas Medal. He also was a Fullbright lecturer in France, Austria and Switzerland in 1955 and 1956.

Even though he became a professor Emeritus in 1957, he taught almost until his last days on earth. Georgetown University sent him students to the nursing home at Carroll Manor Archdiocesan House where the scholar of international reputation gave classes to them in the solarium of the house, specially conditioned for that purpose by the Carmelite sisters who took care of the house. Allers said of them: "These nuns are full of love for God and for the souls and bodies of those under their care. They must be very dear to God".

Father Brian A. McGrath wrote: To his students Professor Allers was a scholar and a gentleman. Quick, erudite, open, he valued the questioning mind, the new insights while he cherished the best of the ancient and medieval traditions; he was also patient but demanding, stirring and encouraging, attentive to both the novice and the candidate. With his colleagues he was generous and cooperative without cant or pretense. He could not be categorized because he was never bound in a narrow system. Plato and Aristotle, Thomas and Kant, Marx, Russell and Whitehead were respected for their contributions. He felt free to agree or disagree with their solutions as he explored the reality in his search for truth". One would have to add the names of Saint Augustine, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Scheler, James, Ortega y Gasset, Sartre, Saint Edith Stein, Jaspers, Fromm, Marcel and the thinkers of the thomist revival in the first part of the 20th century, among an endless list of thinkers of all times whose thought was mastered by Allers.

Rudolf Allers' published works show he was a very proficient psychiatrist philosopher, theologian, linguist and physiologist. His knowledge in all these areas was remarkable, as well as in literature, music, history and other subjects. He read and spoke fluently seven languages. The scope covered by his writings shows how talented and skilled Allers was in so many subjects.

At 80 years of age he passed away in Washington, DC, on December 18, 1963. His wife Lola (and their son Ulrich had died earlier. Ulrich, who had been professor at Georgetown had married with Christel, worked togheter with his father. Requiem Mass was celebrated at Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown, and Rudolf Allers mortal remains were buried in St. Mary´s Cemetery.

(1) If anyone wants to know Allers reasons read: The Successful Error; A Critical Study Of Freudian Psychoanalysis, New York, Sheed & Ward, 1940. GO TO What´s wrong with Freud? A Critical Study of Freudian Psychoanalysis, the new name in the last edition. Return










"There is a great richness in his work and doctrine… Rudolf Allers was an exceptional bridge builder. Let us just look for now his works on the physiology of senses. I myself have had the opportunity to work under his guidance for one year. In that time I was a witness of Allers methods.

For him physiology was more than simple physiology. It was psychology, and even more neology. It was much more than just physiology of the senses. For him his studies went all the way to the heart of the anthropology of meaning and values".

"Today Allers is more actual than ever. His findings and knowledge are not limited by time. He has given us a lot, but he has also taken a lot away from us: in many aspects Allers has anticipated the psychotherapy of the future".


Viktor E. Frankl





"It seems very clear that Rudolf Allers was a great explorer of the person as a unity. His philosophical background and his existential perspective gave solid foundations to psychology as well as psychiatry in the XX Century. Without a metaphysical approach the comprehension of the human being is seriously affected. Such limitation is much more severe than just a subjective view on human beings based on logical fallacies.

Allers once said: `Psychology is, by its very nature, for ever dependent on philosophy; it is indeed a science dealing with facts, but it is on the other hand so close to metaphysics that without clear ideas on the problems of philosophical anthropology it becomes a victim of the worst confusion and gets lost in the most amazing errors´.

Because of the shortcomings of the materialistic or immanent approximation to human beings, humanity is in the serious situation that we all should see.What Allers said so many years ago has proven absolutely right. So I am convinced that to find a way out of the confusion that nowadays overwhelms psychological as well as psychiatrical they must be solidly established in a deep and truthful anthropology. Such is probably the most valuable scientific contribution of Allers.

He did not stop in superficial phenomena nor artificial techniques. Rudolf Allers psychology approaches the individual in a very deep and comprehensive way. He offered a holistic approach based on principles and propositions that make his thorough investigations and personal psychiatric practice a path that should be seriously studied by anyone seeking the truth about human psyche as well an integral human health".

Luis Fernando Figari

An inexplicably forgotten thinker: The reappearance of Dr. Allers CLICK




Rudolf Allers:

the best psychological guide


"One of the main problems that a Christian faces when he begins to deepen in the study of what is commonly denominated neurosis is that of the relation between sin and neurosis, and how this appears in the course of a holy life. To approach this difficult theme (in which even among Christians, a definitive solution is still far from a general agreement), I didn't find a better guide than that of Dr. Rudolf Allers."

Allers in his theory of neurosis "characterizes inauthtenticity as a fundamental trait of neurosis. He begins by distinguishing three types inauthtenticity.

In the first place, the inauthtenticity of the experience that we find when a man lives simultaneously in two or more directions or different spheres, more or less contradictory to each other (for example, when a person cannot concentrate enough on his study because he is thinking of what he will be doing on that weekend).

In second place, we have another inauthenticity type that consists in the discrepancy among the person's being and his behavior, or the idea that he has of himself (there are people that give the impression that they are much richer than what they show in their effective behavior, or on the contrary that their artificial and magnified external behavior doesn't coincide with their real capacities).

Lastly we have the contradiction among the person's effective being and what is demanded from him. This has to do with the non recognition of his unique and concrete conditions, as well as with assuming an elusive position in front of his natural and supernatural responsibilities.

For Allers these last two inauthenticity types are those that more properly have to do with neurosis, and they are in its nucleus."

Martin Federico Echavarría

If you can read Spanish YOU CAN READ SOME OF Dr. Echavarría papers in this site.



Rudolf Aller: Distinguished Catholic Scholar

"A few year ago, the late lamented Holy Father, Pius XII, thus concluded an Allocution to the International Association of Applied Psychology: ´It is Our sincerest wish that you continue to delve more and more into the complexity of human personality, and that your researches help personality to remedy its failings and to correspond more faithfully to the sublime designs which God, its Creator and Redeemer, forms in its regard and proposes to it as an ideal.´

We recall these inspiring words today, because they seem so apposite to the life and work of the distinguished scholar Georgetown happily honors (Rudolf Allers), so appropriate to his half century and more of devoted and fruitfull labor in the field of human psychology. With the unerring instinct and training of a scholar, he carefully avoided the pitfalls of a subjective psychologism by solidly anchoring his researches in a sound and objective methaphysics. With the vision of a scientist he enriched and verified his theoretical findings in extensive practice and application. And with the devotion of a true humanitarian he has selflessly shared the magnificent fruits of his years of study and experience with his fellowmen everywhere, in universally recognizad books, and monographs, in countless lectures, adresess, and conferences, both in this country (USA) and abroad, and not least, in his many years of the professorial rostrum."

Joseph A. Sellinger

Edward B. Bunn

President of Georgetown University


Ignorance of insights of ages past

"Many modern schools of psychology seem to be totally unfamiliar with the insights provided in ages past, and thus handicap themselves unnecessarily in trying to know man in his totality"

Conrad W. Baars.

Allers deserves a special place

"Among the authors whose work will overcome the passing of time, Rudolf Allers deserves a special place. Nevertheless, his ideas are still ignored among us, and not only by the public in general, but even among the "connoisseur". That is not excusable".

Louis Jugnet

A sound ontological view of man

"In the eighty odd years of experimental psychology, the Aristotelian science of man has had no stouter champion to defend it on the very soil of its adversaries than Rudolf Allers. Fortified, through both his formal training and his years of practice, with a first-hand knowledge of medicine, psychology, and psychiatry, he grew to a sound ontological view of man by the same logic of fact that is alleged to turn modern scholarship away from Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas."

Vincent Edward Smith


Allers influenced the famous XX

century theologian

Hans Urs von Balthasar

"Also worth noting, in the context of Balthasar's (Hans Urs von Balthasar) perambulations as a young man im deutschen Sprachraum is the influence upon him of Rudolf Allers, a fellow-citizen and erstwhile pupil of Freud in the Vienna of the 1920s, a convert to Catholicism whose journey from Freudian reductionism, where the self is not much more than a bundle of instinctual drives, to a Christian psychotherapy where primacy is given to interpersonal love as the proper medium of human existence, was assisted by his studies of mediaeval philosophy and theology".

Aidan Nichols, O.P.

"In 1923, while being a student at Vienna, Balthasar met Dr. Rudolf Allers. This learned physician, translator of Saint Anselmus and of Saint Thomas Aquinas, transmitted his love for Theology to the young Balthasar, with whom he shared also a passion for music, among others for Mahler".

L'Encyclopédie de L'Agora

Rudolf Allers: A real learned man

"The author´s (Rudolf Allers) knowledge of existentialism, philosophy, psychology and psychiatry are hinted in the text of his work, but it should also be noted that Dr. Allers is equally proficient as a linguist, physiologist, a theologian and a neuro-surgeon".

Francis J. Braceland

We need an ontological basis for the psychology of man

"Rudolf Allers is one of the few men in modern times that has understood in deepness the underlying metaphysical longing of human soul …

The poles of Rudolf Allers understanding of human being can be summarized in two general principles:

1) Man is an organic being. All his dynamic reality must be studied in the light of his ontological totality.

2) The human being is essentially anchored in a metaphysical foundation. We must understand it to explain him."

"Allers is dedicated to establish that the basic ethical values to which human being is related are essential to his holistic soundness. He considers that the basis for a healthy personality depends of a positive or negative relation to those values. This is, not only in the ethical sense but also in the psychical".

Renzo Titone




Courtesy of GeoBytes



The Unconscious (pdf format)
Puede leer también la traducción castellana
haciendo click aquí

The existencial approach in psychiatry








Artículo de Hans J. Eynseck* :



More ALLERS Links

Rudolf Allers Collection

The Thomist a magazine that has some of Allers Articles and Book Revies

John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation

Psicanálise e religião - Rudolf Allers

Un pensatore inspiegabilmente dimenticato: riappare il Dott. Allers scritto da Luis Fernando Figari


-SELF IMPROVEMENT by Rudolf Allers, M.D., Ph.D.

-Forming Character in Adolescents by Rudolf Allers, M.D., Ph.D.

-Practical Psychology in Character Development by Rudolf Allers, M.D., Ph.D.

-Rudolf Allers ou l’anti-Freud.

- What's Wrong With Freud?: A Critical Study of Freudian Psychoanalysis by Rudolf Allers, M.D., Ph.D.









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