Exploring psychotherapeutic conversations: Junktim e.V. becomes an affiliated institute of IPU Berlin

With the start of the winter semester 2022/23, Junktim e.V. became the first affiliated institute of the IPU Berlin. Founded in 2020, the association explores psychotherapy by studying real-life psychotherapy conversations. Thus, the IPU has gained an important cooperation partner in the context of psychotherapy research. The name Junktim is based on the “junction of healing and research”, coined by Sigmund Freud. In the following, the association’s board members and IPU graduates Michael Franzen, Dr. Florian Dreyer and Dr. Marie-Luise Alder tell us what the “junction of healing and research” means in practice.

What does the association Junktim e.V. do?
The empirical investigation of psychotherapeutic interaction and, above all, conversation is a key area of interest for us. We want to observe how patients and therapists interact with each other in the psychotherapeutic process, how they mutually agree on the plan “to do therapy” and how a therapeutic conversation is carried out in their interaction. Finally, connected to this is the big question: what actually constitutes a healing conversation?

In the future, what can we expect from Junktim e.V. as an affiliated institute of the IPU?
Our founding members come from research – sociology, linguistics, psychology- but also from the practice of psychotherapy or coaching. We are all united by an interest in empirical conversational research related to psychotherapeutic interaction. We would like to advance these interdisciplinary approaches and perspectives as well as the proximity to clinical practice, from which we constantly gain new ideas and questions.

Was ist das Spannende an der Verbindung aus Gesprächs- und Psychotherapieforschung?
Jede Interaktion zwischen Behandler:in und Patient:in bedeutet miteinander zu sprechen. Die Gesprächsforscher:innen wie auch die Psychotherapeut:innen haben Theorien, wie Gespräche laufen, was oder wie sie etwas bewirken. Sie können sich jedoch im jeweiligen Ansatz grundlegend unterscheiden. Wo Psychotherapeut:innen den Prozess mehr in den Blick nehmen und auf den Inhalt des Gesprochenen Wert legen, schauen Gesprächsforscher:innen stärker auf Details, wie Wortabbrüche oder Zögern. Diese Perspektiven in einen sinnhaften Austausch zu bringen, ist unser Ziel, um mehr über die Wirkung des therapeutischen Gesprächs zu erfahren.

What is exciting about the combination of conversational- and psychotherapy research?
Every interaction between practitioner and patients means talking to one another. Both conversation researchers and psychotherapists have theories about how conversations work and what or how they achieve something. However, they may differ fundamentally in their approach. Where psychotherapists focus more on the process and emphasize the content of what is said, conversation researchers look more at details, such as word breaks or hesitations. Our goal is to bring these two perspectives into a meaningful exchange to learn more about the impact of therapeutic conversation.

Who would be interested in participating or joining Your association?
We invite those psychotherapists (in training) who are interested in an empiricism of conversation from conversation, but also researchers who would like to be involved in a collaboration with clinicians. For example, we form “junctional tandems” of therapists, who record their sessions for training purposes, and researchers who want to analyze these highly complex interactions. We also offer guided data sessions to examine existing therapy data. Once a year, the IPU hosts our annual convention, where people can learn about our work through lectures and personal interactions. The next conference is scheduled for March 18th – 19th, 2023 on the topic of group psychotherapy.