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Obituary for Klaus Grawe
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Obituary for Klaus Grawe

Klaus Grawe, In Memoriam

Klaus Grawe died on July 10, 2005, at the age of 62. After a Sunday morning swimming, his heart stopped beating. It was a shock for everyone.

Klaus Grawe was Professor of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at the Department of Psychology at the University of Berne, Switzerland. He also directed the outpatient clinic for psychotherapy the University of Berne (Psychotherapeutische Praxisstelle) as well the post-graduate training program in psychotherapy for clinical psychologists and medical doctors at the Institute for Psychological Therapy in Zürich and Bern.

Klaus Grawe served SPR in many ways. From 1988 to 1992 he was President of the European Regional Chapter. From 1991 to 1996 he was co-founding editor of Psychotherapy Research. From 1994 to 1995 he was International President of the Society.

Born in Wilster/ Schleswig Holstein, Germany, in 1943 as the second of four children to Ludwig, a lawyer, and Charlotte, working youth welfare, he grew up in post-war Hamburg with a love of literature, chess, and swimming. He went to the humanistic track of a Jesuit high school and decided to study history and philology at the University of Hamburg. However, he soon discovered that he had different interests. A soccer accident left him blind for a couple of weeks. He then changed his plans and started to study psychology. He began his studies at the University of Hamburg and focused on experimental psychology. For a short time, he studied at the University of Freiburg, where his broad interests included parapsychology. Back in Hamburg, he earned his master (Diplom) in 1968 and his Ph.D. in 1976.
From 1969 to 1979, he was clinical and research associate at the Psychiatric Hospital at the University of Hamburg. During this period, he also trained in client-centered and behavior therapy.
In 1971, he cofounded the first inpatient psychotherapy ward at the same hospital, and started his first comparative treatment study. He also started to teach, supervise and train graduate and postgraduate students in clinical psychology and behavior therapy.
In 1979 he also finished his habilitation at the University of Hamburg and – even before finishing it – received an appointment as Full Professor at the University of Berne in Switzerland. He not only drafted the new curriculum in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, but also founded the outpatient center as well as an outstanding post-graduate training program. His research interests spanned a wide range of major topics in Psychotherapy Research, including outcome and process research, assessment, quality management, large-scale meta-analyses, and theoretical integration.

Klaus Grawe received substantial grants for psychotherapy research projects from the Swiss National Science Foundation. His achievements include more than 150 journal articles and book chapters, mostly in German. He was the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 12 books. The three most recent have had a large influence on clinical psychology and psychology, especially in Europe and German-speaking countries.

He was member of the executive committee of the German Psychological Society (DGPs), co-editor of the German Journal of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy (Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie) from 1984-1993, co-editor of the book series "Progress in Psychotherapy" (Fortschritte der Psychotherapie), and board member of several scientific journals including Psychotherapy Research. He received various prestigious awards, including the lifetime award for his contribution to applied psychology from the Association of German Professional Psychologists (Berufsverband Deutscher Psychologinnen und Psychologen, BDP).
His 1994 meta-analysis on the outcome of psychotherapy was the most comprehensive and ambitious in German, and triggered a heated debate in academic circles as well as in the larger community about the efficacy and effectiveness of psychotherapy in general and various approaches. He also contributed to the German psychotherapy legislation as a scientific advisor. Although he viewed a sober analysis of the effects of psychotherapy as a necessity, his scientific heart belonged to more fundamental questions such as: How does the therapeutic process develop? Which ingredients make a good psychotherapy beyond the limits of schools of psychotherapy? How can we best train psychotherapists for their demanding tasks? His most recent contributions focused on the integration of the new emerging fields of neurobiology and brain sciences with clinical psychology and psychotherapy. His challenging book “Neuropsychotherapie” sold out a few months after its publication.

Klaus Grawe was a loving and cheerful father and husband. He was married to Mariann Grawe-Gerber with whom he raised five children, the youngest being thirteen. Many of you know Mariann as an SPR member and conference attendee. She will continue to chair the postgraduate training program at the Institute for Psychological Therapy in Zürich. Mariann has also initiated the Klaus Grawe Foundation to promote psychotherapy research.

Klaus Grawe will be sorely missed by the Society. He impressed not only his colleagues and friends at SPR by his straightforward manner, his wide-spanning theoretical, conceptual and empirical view, but also by his sense of humor, his warm interest in friendships, and his outstanding loyalty. His impact on psychotherapy in Europe and the world will last well beyond his recorded accomplishments.

Klaus Grawe’s current and old team in Bern.

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