Pursuing a Doctorate in Psychoanalytic Topics

Every year, the Foundation for Promoting University Psychoanalysis grants two doctoral scholarships in order to support the new generation of scholars and scientists.

The long-term goal of increasing the validity of psychoanalysis at a university level has been in effect for generations. It requires newcomers who view psychoanalysis as a scientifically-based field and who can continue in its development. When the Foundation for Promoting University Psychoanalysis funded IPU’s opening in 2009, it was their goal from the start to provide future generations with an academically excellent education, which would lead to a wide array of opportunities afterwards. Since 2017, the foundation has also supported psychoanalytic dissertations through two annual doctoral scholarships.

“Studying at the IPU is great preparation for training to become a psychotherapist, but it can also be the first step towards a doctorate,” explains Prof. Dr. Christa Rohde-Dachser, chair of the Board of Trustees. This year, scholarships will be awarded to IPU graduates for the fifth time. A commission comprised of two board members and one member designated by the IPU is responsible for selecting the scholarship recipients. According to the board chair, “of course, the scholarship applications must be justified at length.” Only projects that can be completed within the duration of the scholarship will be selected. As such, applicants are required to submit an exposé and academic recommendation by their doctoral supervisor.

In efforts to establish psychoanalysis within the field of psychology, projects from areas of clinical psychology are particularly interesting, “in order to later have the chance of bringing psychoanalytic psychotherapy into universities as well,” says Christa Rohde-Dachser. Applications for psychoanalytically-oriented dissertations within different fields are also equally welcome—especially cultural studies.

“There really is much to gain from psychoanalytically aligned doctoral projects,” says Prof. Dr. Bernd Ahrbeck. He is a member of the doctoral supervision committee, which is creating a newly structured doctoral program. He sees this as the next important step in obtaining the right to grant doctoral degrees, which the IPU will likely receive in the next few years. Currently, the IPU has created formal cooperations with public universities that already allow its doctoral candidates to complete their dissertations. The intensive supervision and support of doctoral candidates on the part of the IPU has proven to be very effective in this process.

Earning a doctorate creates the opportunity to produce new knowledge of one’s own, explains Prof. Ahrbeck: “This ‘own’ and ‘new’ have the potential to emerge particularly within psychoanalytic work.” Psychoanalysis is characterized by an attitude that is open to searching, which allows researchers to scrutinize themselves and their research intentions: “This creates an essential protection against remaining caught within conventional frameworks, adopting zeitgeist trends without reflection, and simply repeating the past.”

All information on applying for the doctoral scholarships can be found in the attached document. The application deadline for this year is 15 March.

Call for Doctoral Scholarships
Guidelines for Doctoral Project