Ludwig Binswanger (born April 13, 1881 ) was a Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of Existential psychology. Biswanger is an Existentialist or Existential Psychologist who have written and studied about


the role of the environment on human develepment.

His Model consists of four (4) interacting dimensions of the environment;

  1. The "Umwelt" or the Physical World ;
  2. The Mitwelt or the interpersonal world;
  3. The Eigenwelt or the personal world;
  4. The Überwelt or the Spiritual world.


His grandfather who was also named Ludwig Binswanger was the founder of the "Bellevue Sanatorium" in Kreuzlingen, and his uncle Otto Binswanger was a professor of psychiatry at the University of Jena. In 1907 Binswanger received his medical degree from the University of Zurich and as a young man worked and studied with some of the greatest psychologists of the era, such as Carl Jung, Eugen Bleuler and Sigmund Freud. Although he had fundamental differences with Freud regarding psychiatric theory, Binswanger and Freud remained friends until the latter's death in 1939. Might be related to Julia Binswanger. From 1911 to 1956, Binswanger was medical director of the sanatorium in Kreuzlingen. He was influenced by existential philosophy and the works of Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl, and Martin Buber.



Binswanger is considered the first physician to combine psychotherapy with existential ideas, a concept he expounds in his 1942 book; Grundformen und Erkenntnis menschlichen Daseins (Basic Forms and the Realization of Human "Being-in-the-World"). In this work he explains existential analysis as an empirical science that involves an anthropological approach to the individual essential character of being human.

In his study of existentialism, his most famous subject was Ellen West, a deeply troubled anorexia nervosa patient. Binswanger's Dream and Existence was translated from German into French by Michel Foucault, who added a substantial essay-introduction. Umwelt is Binswanger's term for the physical world. Relating to the environment, the objects and living beings within it; attending to the biological and physical aspects of the world.


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