Andreas Heinz (psychotherapist)

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Andreas Heinz
Andreas Heinz
Andreas Heinz
Born 1960-02-04 (1960-02-04) (age 58)
Stuttgart, Germany
Occupation Psychotherapist

Andreas Heinz (born February 4, 1960 in Stuttgart) is a German psychiatrist and psychotherapist.


Andreas Heinz studied medicine, philosophy and anthropology in Bochum at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, in Berlin at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the Howard University of Washington D.C. Dissertation (MD) 1988 at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum Anthropological and Evolutionary Models in Schizophrenia Research. Afterwards he worked as a post-doc at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD. He qualified for professorship (Habilitation) in psychiatry and psychotherapy in 1998 The Dopaminergic Reward System.[1] PhD 2013 in philosophy The Concept of Mental Health [2] at the faculty of philosophy of the Universität Potsdam.

Since 2002 Heinz has been the director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Campus Charité Mitte Berlin.[3] Since 2012, he has been the vice chair of an organization for Psychiatric Reform and Humanization, the Aktion für Psychisch Kranke.[4] From 2010 to 2014, he was the president of the German Society for Biological Psychiatry (DGBP). From 2008 to 2011, he was the speaker of the Conference of University Chairs of Psychiatry in Germany. Since 2009, he has been a member of the board of the German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology.[5] He is the leader of several research projects including the international research project “Mental Health and Migration”.[6] He is a proponent of a person centered approach and open wards in psychiatry.[7]

In 2011 he was elected as a Leibnitz chair at the Leibnitz-Institute for Neurobiology in Magdeburg, in recognition of outstanding research in Neuroscience.[8] For fall semester 2014/2015 he was nominated as Karl-Jaspers guest professor at the University of Oldenburg.[9]

Heinz is the editor of several books including the Practice of Intercultural Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Migration and Mental Health and the author of more than 400 scientific publications including studies focussing on psychiatry in national socialism, critical neuroscience and the neurobiology of psychotic and addictive disorders. Andreas Heinz is the grandson of the former president of the employment office of the state of Baden-Württemberg, Eugen Heinz.


In his review of psychiatric theories that tried to explain the manifestation of schizophrenia in the 20th century, Heinz criticized the use of Eurocentric developmental models. Such models suggest that cultural development is unilinear and reflects brain development, with Europeans representing the allegedly most developed stage and other populations across the world reflecting more “primitive” stages of cultural as well as brain development.[10][11] In such developmental models, schizophrenia is seen as a loss of higher cognitive functions and an evolutionary “dissolution” or “regression” to a more “primitive” functional level, which is supposed to cause alleged similarities between psychotic experience and magic or “prelogic” ideation among non-European populations. Heinz shows that such theories are internally inconsistent, project an oversimplified model of brain development onto social interactions and fail to recognize that allegedly “primitive” populations, at the beginning of the 20th century, were subjected to European imperialism and colonialism. Heinz criticizes that such unilinear models do not only fail to acknowledge the diversity of human development but also project structurally oversimplified models of top-down control and bottom-up subjection onto brain areas, thus failing to adequately reflect complex interactions in the human central nervous system.[10]

In his empirical work, Heinz focused on bottom-up information processing in reward learning and the associated neurotransmitter systems such as the dopamine and serotonin system.[12][13] Transferring ideas on dopamine function from addiction research to schizophrenia, he suggested that in psychosis, chaotic or stress-associated phasic increases in striatal dopamine release attribute salience to otherwise irrelevant stimuli and thus contribute to delusional mood, a hypothesis later also supported by Shitij Kapur.[12][14] Further empirical studies of Heinz and coworkers falsified simple top-down models of cerebral dysfunction in psychotic disorders; instead, his findings confirmed complex interactions between brain areas computating reward-related prediction errors, processing appetitive and threatening stimuli as well as contributing to fluid intelligence.[13][15]

With respect to cognitive capacity and intelligence, Heinz emphasized stress-related alterations in dopaminergic neurotransmission and their impact on the neurobiological correlates of fluid intelligence.[16] He suggested that social isolation stress and discrimination are key factors interacting with basic cognitive functions as well as general mental health.[17][18] Based on studies emphasizing the role of social exclusion, Heinz promotes community care and the orientation of regional psychiatric hospitals towards settings with open doors and inclusion of subjects with mental health care problems in all aspects of society.[7][18]

With respect to concepts of mental health and disease, Heinz criticized the view that mental disorders can be understood referring to a concept of “normality”; he argues that the frequency in which mental disorders are present (e.g. rising rates of Alzheimer’s Dementia in old age) does not offer a valid criterion to decide whether a certain state can be understood as a disease or not. Instead, Heinz[19] suggests that discussions about mental maladies should distinguish between the medical (“disease”) aspects of any disorder, the subjective illness experience (centered about individual suffering) and impairments in social participation (the “sickness” aspect of a mental malady). Heinz suggests that a clinically relevant mental malady should only be diagnosed, if the disease criterion and either the illness or sickness criterion are fulfilled. With respect to the medical aspect, Heinz claims that the disease criterion of a mental malady is only fulfilled if an impaired mental function is generally relevant for survival or at least the ability of the afflicted person to live with other human beings in a common world (“Mitwelt”). With respect to clinical practice, Heinz suggests that medically relevant symptoms of mental disorders such as a delirium or dementia are directly life-threatening, while key symptoms of psychosis and major affective disorders can impair the ability of an afflicted person to live with others, e.g. because own intentions and acts are attributed to outside forces such as “imperative acoustic hallucinations” or “inserted thoughts”. Heinz emphasizes that such impairments at the symptom or disease level of a mental disorder are not sufficient to diagnose a clinically relevant mental malady, because some subjects experience acoustic hallucinations (thus fulfilling the disease criterion) but neither suffer from them nor are impaired in social participation. He claims that in such cases, no clinically relevant mental malady should be diagnosed. Heinz suggests focusing the mental health care system on subjects with clinically relevant mental maladies in order to promote inclusion in the community and on the work place.[20]


  • Wilhelm-Feuerlein-Forschungspreis 2000; Division Fundamental Research; Topic: Die Rolle der serotonergen Funktionsstörung in der Entstehung und Aufrechterhaltung der Alkoholabhängigkeit
  • June 2011: Granting of the „Leibniz Chairs“ by the Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology (LIN) Magdeburg for excellent research in the field of neurosciences
  • November 2011 (together with Dr. Anne Beck) and 2014 (together with Dr. Lorenz Deserno): Granting of the Hans-Heimann-Prize by the German Society of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Psychosomatic Medicine and Neurology (Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Nervenheilkunde)
  • Since 2013: Member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur Mainz[21]
  • Since 2015: Member of the Leopoldina – National Academy of Sciences[22]


Profession Organisations[edit]

  • Deputy Chairman of Aktion Psychisch Kranke e.V. (APK), since 2012
  • Member of the Council of the German Society of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology (DGPPN), since 2009
  • Board member of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), 2013-2016
  • President of the German Society of Biological Psychiatry (DGBP), 2010-2014
  • Speaker of the German Conference of Chairs of Psychiatric University Departments, 2008–2011


  • Andreas Heinz (1998), "Das dopaminerge Verstärkungssystem: Funktion, Interaktion mit anderen Neurotransmittersystemen und psychopathologische Korrelate", Monographien aus dem Gesamtgebiete der Psychiatrie (Darmstadt: Steinkopff Verlag) 
  • Heinz, Andreas (1998), "Colonial practices in the construction of the schizophrenic patient as primitive man", Critique of Anthropology, 18: 421–444, doi:10.1177/0308275x9801800404 
  • Andreas Heinz (2002), T. Heise; J. Schuler, eds., "Anthropologische und evolutionäre Modelle in der Schizophrenieforschung", Das transkulturelle Psychoforum (Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung) 
  • Andreas Heinz; D. F. Braus; M. N. Smolka; J. Wrase; I. Puls; D. Hermann; S. Klein; S. M. Grüsser; H. Flor; G. Schumann; K. Mann; C. Büchel (2005), "Amygdala-prefrontal coupling depends on a genetic variation of the serotonin transporter", Nature Neuroscience, 8: 20–21, doi:10.1038/nn1366 
  • Andreas Heinz; Wielant Machleidt, eds. (2010), Praxis der interkulturellen Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie: Migration und psychische Gesundheit, München: Urban & Fischer Verlag/Elsevier, ISBN 978-3-437-24570-1 
  • A. J. Heinz; A. Beck; A. Meyer-Lindenberg; P. Sterzer; Andreas Heinz (2011), "Cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms of alcohol-related aggression", Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 12: 400–413, doi:10.1038/nrn3042 
  • U. Lang; S. Hartmann; S. Schulz-Hartmann; Y. Gudlowski; R. Ricken; I. Munk; D. von Haebler; J. Gallinat; Andreas Heinz (2010), "Do locked doors in psychiatric hospitals prevent patients from absconding?", European Journal of Psychiatry, 4/24: 199–204 
  • Andreas Heinz; Ulrike Kluge, eds. (2012), Einwanderung - Bedrohung oder Zukunft Mythen und Fakten zur Integration, Campus Verlag 
  • Andreas Heinz; Gernot Ernst, eds. (2013), Die widerspenstige Materie Neues aus der Naturwissenschaft und Konsequenzen für linke Theorie und Praxis, Schetterling Verlag 
  • Andreas Heinz; Wielant Machleidt, eds. (2010), Praxis der interkulturellen Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie: Migration und psychische Gesundheit, München: Urban & Fischer Verlag/Elsevier, ISBN 978-3-437-24570-1 
  • Andreas Heinz, ed. (2017), A New Understanding of Mental Disorders - Computational Models for Dimensional Psychiatry, MIT Press 


  1. ^ Das dopaminerge Verstärkungssystem at Google Books
  2. ^ "Der Begriff der psychischen Krankheit von Andreas Heinz - Suhrkamp Insel Bücher Buchdetail". Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  3. ^ "Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie - Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin: Startseite". Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  4. ^ Wolfgang Silvestre (2004-06-30). "APK e.v. Aktion Psychisch Kranke e.V. Bonn". Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  5. ^ "DGPPN: Vorstand". Archived from the original on 2013-05-03. Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  6. ^ "SeGeMi | Berlin". Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  7. ^ a b U. Lang; S. Hartmann; S. Schulz-Hartmann; Y. Gudlowski; R. Ricken; I. Munk; D. von Haebler; J. Gallinat et al. (2010), European Journal of Psychiatry 4/24: pp. 199-204 
  8. ^ "Andreas Heinz erhielt Leibniz Chair". Archived from the original on 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2013-09-11. 
  9. ^ "Psychiater Andreas Heinz ist Karl Jaspers-Gastprofessor — Uni Oldenburg". 2015-03-27. Retrieved 2015-07-05. 
  10. ^ a b Andreas Heinz, "Anthropologische und evolutionäre Modelle in der Schizophrenieforschung.", Das transkulturelle Psychoforum (Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung) 9 
  11. ^ Andreas Heinz, "Colonial perspectives in the construction of the schizophrenic patient as primitive man.", Crit Anthropol 18: pp. 421-444 
  12. ^ a b Andreas Heinz, "Dopaminergic dysfunction in alcoholism and schizophrenia--psychopathological and behavioral correlates.", Eur Psychiatry 17 (1): pp. 9-16 
  13. ^ a b Adrienne J. Heinz; Anne Beck; Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg; Philipp Sterzer; Andreas Heinz, "Cognitive and neurobiological mechanisms of alcohol-related aggression.", Nat Rev Neurosci. 12 (7): pp. 400-13. 
  14. ^ Kapur S, "Psychosis as a state of aberrant salience: a framework linking biology, phenomenology, and pharmacology in schizophrenia.", Am J Psychiatry 160 (1): pp. 13-23 
  15. ^ Schlagenhauf F; Rapp MA; Huys QJ; Beck A; Wüstenberg T; Deserno L; Buchholz HG; Kalbitzer J et al., "Ventral striatal prediction error signaling is associated with dopamine synthesis capacity and fluid intelligence.", Hum Brain Mapp. 34 (6): pp. 1490-9 
  16. ^ Friedel E; Schlagenhauf F; Beck A; Dolan RJ; Huys QJ; Rapp MA; Heinz A., "The effects of life stress and neural learning signals on fluid intelligence.", Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 265 (1): pp. 35-43 
  17. ^ Heinz A; Deserno L; Reininghaus U., "Urbanicity, social adversity and psychosis.", World Psychiatry. 12 (3): pp. 187-97 
  18. ^ a b Rapp MA; Kluge U; Penka S; Vardar A; Aichberger MC; Mundt AP; Schouler-Ocak M; Mösko M et al., "When local poverty is more important than your income: Mental health in minorities in inner cities.", World Psychiatry. 14 (2): pp. 249-50 
  19. ^ Andreas Heinz, Der Begriff der psychischen Krankheit., Berlin: Suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft 
  20. ^ Andreas Heinz; Katrin Charlet; Michael A. Rapp, "Public mental health: a call to action.", World Psychiatry 14 (1): pp. 49-50 
  21. ^ "Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Heinz : Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur | Mainz". Retrieved 2015-07-12. 
  22. ^

External links[edit]