The basic unit of study for psychiatric investigation is the individual human being in interaction with the environment. The psychological understanding of human biography provided by psychodynamic observation is now being supplemented by knowledge derived from phenomenological and neurobiological research. Phenomenology and neurobiology are at present primarily concerned with detecting correlations between clinical syndromes and pathological brain states; they are static rather than dynamic in approach. However, currently emerging techniques of brain imaging aimed at elucidating neurophysiological processes provide the basis for going beyond structural neuropathology to neuropathophysiology. It is suggested that the observations derived from the psychodynamic study of patients constitute markers of underlying brain function, and that the future investigation of psychiatric illness must include a correlative study of both psychodynamic and neurobiological processes.