Georg Ivanovas From Autism to Humanism - systems theory in medicine

home -- content


This thesis is a work of many limitations. Only two shall be mentioned. Firstly, I wrote it in a foreign language. For me it had a positive effect. It made me aware of inconsistencies in my reasoning which I usually cover with a figure of speech using my mother language. This is a common tendency. We all conceal our logical gaps with certain locutions believing that thereby things are sufficiently explained and/or proved. But often, too often, this is not the case. This might be one of the reasons why Beckett, who aimed for an absolute precision in his works, did not write in his mother language.

Whereas it had been of some benefit for me to use a foreign language, I am well aware that this is no longer true for an eventual reader.

A second limitation is the amount of subjects dealt with. As it is already difficult to be an expert in only a sub-category of any of them, it would be presumptuous to make valid statements about all of them. The scale of issues necessary to create a picture of the systems view in medicine is beyond the possibilities of a single person not affiliated to a university. Hence, a lot is only superficially touched and many conclusions are but provisional. Moreover, mistakes are unavoidable. But, as said in the introduction, the aim of this paper is not to provide a definite content. Its aim is to reflect on the strategies we use to come to conclusions. Anyhow, I hope the text might be of some use for a reader, especially as controversial statements are often more helpful to specify the own view than well-balanced considerations.

I came across the subject during an advanced training in systemic psychotherapy by Prof. Nikolaos Paritsis at the University of Crete (Greece). The theories and strategies of the early proponents of systemic psychotherapy changed my understanding of the world within a few months. All of a sudden, everything in the realm of medicine became meaningful to me. Consequently, I proposed Prof. Paritsis this thesis about the application of systemic principles to the subjects of general medicine. This was in the year 2000.

Many people supported this work during all these years. First of all, Prof. Paritsis who provided me with a totally new view of the world and went with me through all the sections of this thesis. Secondly, Prof. Vlassis Tomaras, the second appointed professor for this thesis. He helped me in many publications and was really concerned to get this thesis defended. Thirdly, Prof. Vassiliki Papadioti had been incredibly supportive and caring. She helped me to overcome several major obstacles. For some time I had a lot of fertile, although controversy discussions with Prof. Fritz B. Simon. He had been assigned as the third professor, at first. But a new law prohibits non-Greek scientists to be in charge of a Greek PhD.

I thank all the persons who reacted to my emails, provided me with articles, answered my questions, or just listened to me. This concerned especially my guests who had a hard time. They had to endure endless discussions. This is particularly true for Haik Petrossian who accompanied the project and inspired me in many ways. Rebecca Erlewein (former Ewert) taught me some basics of Chinese medicine and the related chapter is mainly hers (1). Thanks to those persons who made some attempt to correct my English.

I am especially grateful to Gisela and Gerhard Beckmann. Without their support this work would not have been possible.

My children grew up during this decade and often, too often, my time and my creativity for them had been restricted. It was a typical value decision. I still do not know, whether it was the right one.

Milatos, Crete, July 2010

(1) Ewert R, Ivanovas G (2005): Systemic thinking and Chinese medicine – a relational exercise, 3rd Panhellenic Conference on Systemic Therapy, Heraklion, Crete 21.-23.10.2005

home -- content