Raeithel (1943 - 1996)
For the second time after the untimely death of Regina
Woidera the German PCP community suffered a deep-felt loss. Arne Raeithel died
unexpectedly on December 1 within hours after a brain hemorrhage. He was only
53 years old. We share the grief of his widow and his two sons.
Arne Raeithel was one of the founding members of the
German Personal Construct Group. He was present at the historic meeting in Marburg
in 1984 when the “German Grid Gang”, AKA GGG, was founded, now the DPPK
(Deutsche Arbeitsgruppe zur Psychologie der Persönlichen Konstrukte). Born in
Munich he studied psychology in Munich and Bielefeld, and subsequently worked
at the University in Berlin and from 1986 on in Hamburg where he obtained the
habilitation degree. As academic teacher he introduced PCP to a number of
students some of whom are still involved in the field.
Few have immersed themselves as deeply in the epistemological
and mathematical foundations of PCP and Repgrid analysis as Arne Raeithel, at
least in Germany. He developed his own programmes, Eigenstruktur-Analyse (ESA)
and Eigenprozeß-Analyse (EPA) or Vector Balance, as well as the grid analysis
package GridStack for Mackintosh computers. Ana Catina and I were happy that he
wrote the chapters on Repgrid analysis and grid analysis software (together
with Ulrike Willutzki) for our introduction to Repertory Grid Technique (Einführung in die Repertory Grid-Technik).
He published his constructivist analysis of the diagnostic process in
psychology in our APPK-Mitteilungen (now PPK-Magazin), 4/1993 and 1 and 3/1994.
In recent times his focus was on “connectionist”
approaches where he saw interesting commonalities with Kellian psychology. Yet
he was always also interested in practis-related projects, such as interactive
structures in hospitals or self-construal of HIV patients.
Arne’s interests were unusually diversified and included
involvement in politics, culminating in the 1970s. That German academia failed
to secure Arne Raeithel’s involvement in the long run did harm itself more than
him. In this, he was in good company, and it was refreshing to hear that, as a
good Kellian, he preferred to call himself, or to “construe” himself, not as un-employed
but as self-employed. In fact, during the last few years he was working in consulting
and staff development where he was able to use PCP concepts as well as his own
grid analysis packages with good success.
A small academic community still in development is hit
harder by the loss of a leading authority like Arne Raeithel was than a
discipline with a long tradition. But this is only an abstract view. The
psychology of personal constructs has taught us that what counts is the “meaning”
we attach to events. And so it is perhaps saddest that we lose a colleague,
friend, partner, father – and we can’t see an intelligible reason, as much as
we try to attach meaning to what happened.
Jörn Scheer, December 1996
German original in
PPK-Magazin 29 (4/1996)