Widely regarded as the father of analytical psychology, Carl Jung is one of the most important contributors to symbolization and dream analysis. The concepts of socionics and a popular psychometric instrument called Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) were developed from Jung's theory. Apart from working as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung was also an artist, craftsman, builder, and prolific writer.
Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl founded logotherapy. He also authored several books, most notably his bestselling autobiographical depiction of his ordeal at various Nazi concentration camps, Man's Search for Meaning. He had lost his parents, brother, and wife in the Holocaust. He later won honors such as the Oskar Pfister Award.
Psychiatrist R. D. Laing was known for his different perspective on mental illnesses, particularly psychosis. Known as anti-psychiatry, his theory of resolving mental ailments opposed the age-old shock therapy. His written works include The Divided Self. He was also a talented poet and had fathered 10 children by four women.
Frantz Fanon was a French-West Indian born in Martinique, a former French colony. A skilled psychiatrist and physician, he realized the impact of colonialism on the human mind while treating French soldiers and Algerians. The author of books such as The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon supported the Algerian independence movement.
Sabina Spielrein was a Russian physician who also worked as a psychoanalyst, psychiatrist, and teacher during an illustrious professional career that spanned 30 years. A pioneer of psychoanalysis, Spielrein was the first person to bring in and popularize the concept of the death instinct. Sabina Spielrein was also one of the earliest psychoanalysts to study schizophrenia in detail.
Remembered for her pioneering work on feminist psychology, Karen Horney studied medicine at a time when women weren’t allowed in universities. Going against Sigmund Freud’s concept of penis envy, she suggested the idea of womb envy. She believed psychological differences weren’t rooted in gender but rather depended on the socio-cultural influences.
German psychiatrist and neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer is noted for identifying the first published case of presenile dementia, which his colleague and German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin later identified as Alzheimer's disease. Alois publicly discussed his findings on brain pathology and symptoms of presenile dementia in late-1906 and penned a larger paper giving details of the disease and his findings in 1907.
Andrea Dotti was an Italian psychiatrist. He specialized in treating women with depression and was the assistant director of Rome University's psychiatric department. He was also a skier, tennis player, dancer, and art collector. He was married to famous actress Audrey Hepburn from 1969 to 1982, and the couple had one son. Dotti had several affairs during their marriage.
British clinical-psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen is noted for making significant contributions in fields like autism-neuroimaging, autism-genetics, and synaesthesia, and his services to autistic people, for which he was knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours. He formulated mind-blindness theory and fetal-sex-steroid theory of autism and presently serves as a professor at the University of Cambridge and director of the university's Autism Research Centre.
John Money was a New Zealand sexologist, psychologist, and author. He is best remembered for his research into biology of gender and sexual identity. He is credited with coining the terms sexual orientation, gender role, and gender identity. John Money was also criticized for endorsing conversion therapy among other unethical practices. His books have been translated into numerous languages.
Hungarian-American psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who spent most of life teaching at the State University of New York Health Science Center, was known for his controversial claim that mental illnesses aren’t illnesses at all. Part of the anti-psychiatry movement, he penned books such as The Myth of Mental Illness.
Nobel Prize-winning neurobiologist Eric Kandel is known for his research on the role of synapses in memory and learning. An Austrian Jew, he left his country with his family and moved to the U.S. in the wake of anti-Semitism. A doctor, specializing in psychiatry, he later taught at Columbia University.
Best known for her pathbreaking bestseller On Death and Dying, Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross also made pioneering research in areas such as near-death studies. Her five stages of grief, or the Kübler-Ross model, has been adopted by corporates to help employees deal with loss and change.
Remembered for inventing the inkblot test to uncover the hidden traits of a subject’s personality, known as the Rorschach test, Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach was born to an art teacher in Zürich and had thus wished to be an artist initially. His Rorschach test was later criticized for its subjectivity.
Immanuel Velikovsky is remembered for his concepts such as cosmogony. He initially studied medicine and psychology, and later devoted his life to his research on ancient myths and legends, attempting to establish their historical authenticity. In spite of facing the hostility of scientists, his Worlds in Collision became a bestseller.
Twentieth-century Existentialist Karl Jaspers had initially followed in his father’s footsteps to study law, but had then switched to medicine. One of the pioneers of clinical psychiatry, he applied phenomenology to study mental illnesses and also developed psychopathological research. He was highly influenced by Immanuel Kant’s ideas.
The son of a musician, Emil Kraepelin, remembered as the founder of psychiatry, was the first to differentiate between dementia praecox, now known as schizophrenia, and manic-depressive psychosis. His classification of mental illnesses influenced much of the research on the subject in the 20th century.
Anthony Malcolm Daniels, better known by his pseudonym, Theodore Dalrymple, has worked as a physician in many African countries, such as Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The retired consultant psychiatrist and prison doctor is now known for his social and culture critiques in City Journal and other publications.
Fritz Perls initially fought in World War I, following which he treated brain injuries of soldiers. He was later drawn to Freudian psychoanalysis. During World War II, he was the psychiatrist for the South African military. His Gestalt therapy, which he co-created with his wife, Laura, redefined psychology.
Canadian-American psychiatrist and University of Virginia School of Medicine professor Ian Stevenson believed he had developed his love for the paranormal from his mother, who maintained a well-stocked library on theosophy. His studies included unearthing children’s past life memories. He also penned books such as Reincarnation and Biology.
Psychoanalyst and physician Josef Breuer inspired what later came to be known as Sigmund Freud’s cathartic method to treat mental ailments. His experiments with his patient Anna O. proved the therapeutic effect of the talking cure. He had also conducted research on the respiratory cycle and discovered the Hering-Breuer reflex.
Known for his ground-breaking research on sexual psychopathology, German psychologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing worked on varied subjects such as sexual aberration and hypnosis. His Psychopathia Sexualis was one of the first written works that discussed LGBT sex and also spoke about taboo topics such as sadism, necrophilia, and masochism.
Born in British India, Wilfred Bion grew up to be a prominent psychoanalyst. He had fought during World War I. He is best remembered for his work on group dynamics and the object relations theory. He was also part of the Tavistock group of psychologists who founded the Tavistock Institute.
Though a qualified psychiatrist and a lecturer of hypnosis, Bertrand Piccard is better known as an aviator. The son of oceanographer Jacques Piccard and the grandson of explorer Auguste Piccard, Bertrand completed the first solar-powered flight and the first non-stop balloon trip around the world.
British doctor John Langdon Down was pushed to assist at his father’s shop at 14. He gained an interest in medicine after apprenticing with a London surgeon. A pioneer in the treatment of mentally challenged patients, he is remembered for his study of what is now known as Down syndrome.
Best known for leading the mass killing of Jews at the Treblinka extermination camp, psychiatrist Irmfried Eberl was eventually dismissed from his post because of his inefficiency in disposing of the bodies and thus causing a cremation backlog. Following the war, he hanged himself before being tried for his crimes.
Mexican-born Nora Volkow studied medicine in her country, before moving to New York University, where she became a Laughlin Fellow. Now the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, she was the first to prove that drug abuse is a brain disease. She was featured at TEDMED 2014.
After fleeing to Chile with his family during the Nazi regime, Otto F. Kernberg studied medicine and then psychiatry. He eventually moved to the U.S. on a Rockefeller fellowship and grew up to be one of the finest psychoanalysts of the country. He now teaches at the Weill Cornell Medicine.
Suzanne Mallouk ran away from her Canada home and moved to New York, where she took up odd jobs to finance her art career. She supported a penniless Jean-Michel Basquiat grow into a wealthy artist and became a muse for his paintings. She later became a practicing psychiatrist.
Chiefly known for his works on the diagnosis and understanding of schizophrenia, German psychiatrist Kurt Schneider published many papers on the subject, creating a list of the psychotic symptoms, today known as Schneiderian First-Rank Symptoms, to differentiate it from other forms of mental disorder. He also made significant contributions to personality disorders, coining term like endogenous depression and reactive depression.