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Anna A. Terruwe, M.D.





Anna Alberdina Antoinette Terruwe


A. A. A. Terruwe


The noted Catholic psychiatrists from Nimega, Holland, was baptized as Anna Alberdina Antoinette. She earned her M.D. at the University of Utrecht and her Ph.D. at the University of Leiden. Along her life she tried to overcome the death point into which psychotherapeutic treatment had arrived. She had a deep knowledge of European explorers and trends in mental health, especially psychoanalysis. Anna believed that they were dry wells.

So she got into the philosophers, convinced that the right path towards an answer was to be found in the classical Christian notions of man and the human psyche. Without a correct anthropology, no real answer was to be found. She deepened her studies on Saint Thomas Aquinas, and discovered that many notions attributed to "modern discoveries" were already part of the Christian tradition.

So taking elements from her therapeutic experience, as well as from modern clinical findings, and reaching into the rich wells of the philosophia perrennis in Saint Thomas systematization, she came with a new blend of psychological proposals. Her vision tried to cover the whole of mans reality. She arrived at the conclusion that to try to ignore or separate man's psyche from his spirit was an act of mutilation of the human being. "Psychic wholeness" came as an answer to that holistic perspective.

Francis Braceland, 85th president of the American Psychiatric Association, wrote about Terruwe´s ideas: "Any psychiatric theory which takes into account the spiritual nature of man will be particularly welcome in many areas".

As Catholic she had understood what Pope John Paul II has stressed so intensely for our times in his encyclical Fides et ratio. Faith and reason must go together, because they are two complementary ways to the truth about man´s identity and destiny. Any fragmentation of man runs the risk of his dissolution and bring many ailments upon him.

She made an effort to understand the whole man. In her efforts she had the light of philosophical anthropology, as well as a phenomenological perspective. Many people misunderstood her ideas. Criticism aroused very strongly against Terruwe.

The meeting with another psychiatrist from Holland, who after suffering under Nazism and incarcerated in a concentration camp had immigrated to USA, was of the utmost importance for the divulgation of Anna's points of view. Conrad W. Baars, became a friend and a partner to Terruwe. They both wrote together very crucial books and he introduced her to the American intelligentsia. There work together went against the totalitarian vision of freudism, and scientifically explained the nature of the so called "repression mechanisms", discovering the symptoms of energy and depravation neuroses, today baptized under names more distant from psychoanalytic nomenclature, as emotional deprivation disorder.

Terruwe and Baars made an approach towards a more human psychology, stressing the importance of the affection in the family, as well as an assertive perspective called by them "affirmation". As well the whole concept of "narcissism" was reformulated into more basic elements related with the appetites of antique natural psychologists, and worded in such a way as to be understood by people that did not have the historical knowledge. Their therapy involves the healing of the whole person -- body, mind and spirit. Recognizing emotional deprivation disorder is the first step in correcting, through affirmation, many grave individual and more general ills.

Both psychiatrists are convinced of the necessity for people that are to work in mental health area to be familiar with the classics in philosophy, theology, history and even literature. Without that background is not easy to help people in distress.

Conrad Baars says about Terruwe: "Speaking for myself, as a man, married, father, physician, psychiatrist, author and lecturer, I owe much to her. Without her revolutionary ideas and the benefit of her personal teachings I would have abandoned my specialty long ago, disenchanted as I was with its secular humanistic, scientific view of man, a view that in its failure to understand and integrate the spiritual dimension of man, is clinically sterile in terms oh healing emotionally ill people".

Terruwe has been called in all justice: "the pioneer". She has cling on to the concept of the ' frustratieneurose ', as an anti Freudian concept, in relation to the wound consequence of deprivation of affection in infancy all the way to adulthood, and the consequent emotional disorder that sprite from that situation. For her the patient or client is not just one among many others. Each individual is special and as such he should be treated.

Pope Paul VI once said that the work of Anna A. Terruwe was a "gift for the Church". Obviously that does not be understood as endorsement of all her thesis, but a recognition of the proposal she has made to help man in his mental health without fractioning his reality, nor abandoning his unity and strive for plenitude in the after terrestrial pilgrimage.




"In the affirmative perspective, the other one can be entirely such as he is, being in construction he just can not show himself as he is, but he is able to be which he has not yet can became; and he can became himself, in his own reality and in due time".

Anna A. Terruwe



Anna A. Terruwe Bibliograpphy



-Psychopathie en neurose (ten gerieve van zielzorgers), J. J. Romen & Zonen, Roermond 1955.

-Psychopathic Personality and Neurosis. Trans. Conrad W. Bars. NewYork: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1958.

-Anna A. Terruwe, Trans. Jordan Aumann, O.P. & Conrad W. Baars, Psychopathie en neurose; The priest and the sick in mind (London Burns & Oates, English edition, 1959)

-The Neurosis in the Light of Rational Psychology (De Neurose in het Licht van der Rationale Psychologie). Trans. Conrad W. Baars, edited by Jordan Aumann, O.P. New York: P.J. Kenedy & Sons, 1960.

-Aopening van zaken. In Usum privatum. Nymegen, 1964.

-Emotional Growth in Marriage (Onvolkomenheid van het goede huwelijk), Glen Rock, NJ, Paulist Press, 1968.

-Geloven zonder angst en vrees,J.J. Romen & Zonen, Roermond, 1969.

- Amour et équilibre (De liefde bouwt een woning), Apostolat des Editions, Paris 1969.

-The Abode of Love. St. Meinrad, IN, Abbey Press, 1970.

-Essere cristiani senza paura e senza angoscia (Geloven zonder angst en vrees) Trad. di Emma Masci Kiesler, Roma, Edizioni Paoline, Punti scottanti di teologia, 1970.

-Anna A.A. Terruwe & Conrad W. Baars, Loving and Curing the Neurotic: A New Look at Emotional Illness. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1972.

-Giive Me Your Hand. Trans. Martin Van Buuren. Croydon, Victoria, Spectrum Publications, 1973.

-Grondbeginselen van levenskunst, België, Romen, Bussum, 1974.

-Ouders en kinderen op weg naar de toekomst, Lochem, De Tijdstroom, 1976.

-Frustratieneurose, 1976.

-De liefde bouwt een woning. , Romen, Bussum,1978.

- Anna A.A. Terruwe & Conrad W. Baars, Psychic Wholeness and Healing. Staten Island, NY, Alba House, 1981.

- Anna A.A. Terruwe & Conrad W. Baars, Trans. Sandro Spinsanti, Amare e curare i neurotici, terapia delle neurosi per carenza affettiva. Assisi, Cittadella Editrice, 1984.

-De toename van agressie, suïcide en druggebruik binnen de consumptiemaatschappij, Lochem - Gent, De Tijdstroom, 1986.

-Affectiviteit, effectiviteit: breekpunt van menselijk leven: over waarde- overdracht in het onderwijs, Lochem, De Tijdstroorn, 1988.

- Anna A.A. Terruwe & A.L. Kroft, De stap over de drempel: moderne visies op hulpverlening bij menswording van mentaal gehandicapte mensen,. Baarn, Arbor, 1993.

- Anna A.A. Terruwe & H.P. Van Cranenburgh, Hooglied van de nieuwe liefde: antropologie van de weerhoudende liefde, Baarn, Gooi el Sticht, 1996.

-De frustratie neurose, Amsterdam, Anthos, 1998.

-Conrad W. Baars & Anna A. Terruwe, Revised and Updated by Suzanne M. Baars & Bonnie N. Shayne, Healing the Unaffirmed. Recognizing Emotional Deprivation Disorder, St. Pauls, Staten Island, NY, 2002.


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