Prof. Dr. Benigna Gerisch

Clinical Psychology, Psychoanalysis,
Intervention, Psychodynamic Counselling and Digitalisation Researc

IPU Berlin
Stromstr. 3b - Room 1.17
10555 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 300 117-713
E-Mail: benigna.gerisch(at)

Teaching Focus

I teach two modules: Interventions and Psychodynamic Counselling. The module of Interventions deals with developing basic skills and gaining elementary knowledge in psychoanalytic and clinical technique in general (e.g. theoretic terminology, frame, setting, analysis of transference and countertransference, etc.). Included are also non-analytic psychotherapeutic methods of intervention. By elaborating and reflecting similarities and differences the aim is to convey a multifaceted and deeper insight into various schools of current psychoanalytic, psychodynamic and other psychotherapeutic specifications. A focus is set on practical examples of specific techniques of interventions. Also, certain parameters are illustrated and discussed by studying comprehensive case material. Role play exercises and audiovisual material help to demonstrate the peculiarities of each and every topic.

The module of Psychodynamic Counselling deals with fundamental knowledge in the intersection of social modernization and change processes, as well as the impact of such processes on the working life and personal lifestyles. In addition, the corresponding consequences for counselling are discussed. Current concepts and intervention methods of psychodynamic counselling are explored, including the basic psychoanalytic knowledge of interactive and relational processes, particularly in regard to private (e.g. single and family treatment) and occupational settings (e.g. psychodynamic counselling in organizations, psychodynamic coaching).

Moreover, my special interest emphasizes the intersection of psyche and culture as well as the insightful use of psychoanalysis as an interpretative way to understand phenomena beyond the couch. This approach has established transdisciplinary research collaborations and projects.

Research Focus

My primary research interests span from psychodynamics of suicidal tendencies, suicidality and gender differences, psychoanalytic body-concepts to self-destructive body-practices. The research on gender differences thrives to deepen the psychodynamic theories of suicidality and its psychoanalytic-psychodynamic treatment. Furthermore, my cultural research focusses the psychodynamic understanding of suicidal tendencies in film, theater, and literature.

Another research interest of mine covers the intersection of culture and psyche. In two transdisciplinary research projects so far (psychodynamic, sociological and social-psychological) we analyze interrelations between different social and individual levels. The synthesis of various approaches (quantitative and multiple qualitative approaches) allows us to understand tensions of normative standards and changes in social practices up to potentials for exhaustion and pathologies, including psychic dimensions. We focus on the impact that social change processes produce for individuals, particularly in relation to psychic dispositions and individual processes of appropriation and translation and the specific practices to which they are connected (e.g. practices of self-optimization and quantification). Building on this perspective which brings the micro and macro levels together, we generate new conceptual and methodological approaches for the analyses of the interaction of social, individual, cultural, and psychic processes.


Selected Research Projects

Since 2017
“The Quantified Life. - Productive and Counterproductive Consequences of Quantification in the Digitally Optimising Society.” Project Heads of the transdisciplinary research project are, Professor Dr. Vera King (spokesperson; Goethe Uni. & SFI Frankfurt am Main), Professor Dr. Benigna Gerisch (IPU Berlin) and Professor Dr. Hartmut Rosa (Uni. Jena and Max Weber Centre Erfurt). The project is funded by the VolkswagenStiftung in the “Key Issues for Research and Society” (“Schlüsselthemen in Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft”) funding initiative.

From 2013 – 2018
“Aporias of Perfection in Accelerated Societies. - Current Cultural Transformation of Self Images, Relationship Structures and Body Practices.” Project Heads: Prof. Dr. Vera King, Prof. Dr. Benigna Gerisch, Prof. Dr. Hartmut Rosa. A transdisciplinary project funded by the VolkswagenStiftung in association with the initiative “Schlüsselthemen in Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft” [“Key Issues for Research and Society”]. Funding period: 01.12.2012–31.03.2018

From 1992 – 1999
The Psychoanalytic Understanding of Suicidality among Women, with special regard to the Constitutional Processes of Identity Development of Women: Single Case Results based on 20 Psychoanalytically Oriented Short-Term Treatments, Center for Therapy and Studies of Suicide Behavior at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).

From 1993 – 1996
Suicidality among Women. Myth and Reality – A Critical Analysis, Center for Therapy and Studies of Suicide Behavior at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE).