Obituary for Prof. Dr. Nikola Atanassov

The IPU Berlin mourns the loss of a friend, colleague and academic partner.

Nodeleader for Bulgaria in the IPU-chaired International Network Social Trauma
Head of the study programme Clinical Psychology in Psychoanalytic Perspective
at the department of Cognitive Science and Psychology, New Bulgarian University Sofia
Former President of the Bulgarian Psychoanalytical Society


After graduating in Clinical Psychology at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Nikola Atanassov worked for ten years at the City Psychiatric Dispensary in Sofia, received his doctorate from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences in 1990 and then practised as a psychotherapist. In 1993 he became co-founder and in 2006 president of the Bulgarian Society for Psychotherapy. In 2005 he was appointed Associate Professor at the New Bulgarian University. He completed training in autogenic training, hypnosis, behavioral therapy, psychodrama and most recently psychoanalysis (IPA). In 2009 he became a direct member of the IPV, founded the Bulgarian Psychoanalytical Society in 2012 with six other analysts, and was elected its president in 2014.

For decades he has anchored psychoanalysis in university discourse with his standard textbook Psychoanalytic Theories of Psychological Development, recently published in fourth edition, the establishment of a psychoanalytically oriented psychology course at New Bulgarian University, as translator and editor of many basic works of psychoanalysis, from major works of Sigmund Freud to the textbooks of Thomä and Kächele.

In 2012 Nikola Atanassov helped to build up the international network Social Trauma and has since then been accompanying it as an academic teacher. He has familiarised hundreds of students at the IPU and the universities in the Balkan region, Greece and Turkey associated with the network with the clinical-psychological aspects of social trauma.

Nikola Atanassov was a great translator not only in the literal sense, but also in the most human sense. We miss his mischievous humour, his wise and thoughtful way of considering things, his helpfulness and resonance.

We will honour his memory.

Prof. Dr. Lilli Gast
(President of the IPU)
Prof. Dr. Andreas Hamburger
(Network Speaker)
Carmen Scher MA
(Head International Office of the IPU)