The IPU's Research Profile

In recent decades, academic psychology at most public universities has had a focus predominantly on behavioral science. The research profile at the IPU expands this to include perspectives of cultural and social sciences as well as of those stemming from social psychology and psychoanalysis. In this way, the intersection between clinical and non-clinical perspectives in psychology and psychotherapy are identified, including those based on psychoanalysis as a culturally reflective methodology. Psychological processes, including coping patterns, are conditioned in many ways – both individually and socio-culturally – and vary interactively. Thus, there are always mediating processes between different levels of the socially and the individually psychologically disposed ways of processing.

In this sense, research at the IPU cannot be assigned to either the natural sciences or the social sciences. Instead, it lies at the intersections of both and is characterized by multi-perspective and transdisciplinary approaches. Accordingly, research at the IPU uses theoretical methods coming from the humanities and hermeneutics but also from empirical, qualitative and quantitative approaches. Its scope further includes methodological and epistemological reflections. In this way, it contributes to the further development and differentiation of the methodological reservoir of psychological and psychoanalytic research.

There are three research foci in the IPU’s research profile: First, psychotherapy research which includes a broad spectrum of questions with regards to psychotherapy process and outcome research. Second, transformation research that takes into account social and cultural transformation processes that are examined from an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective with a variety of methodological approaches. These transformation processes have significant effects on actors in all areas of their lives, leading to tense normalizations and changes in praxis. Third, conceptual research which lies at the intersection of psyche and society and which argues, among others, from the perspective of cultural psychology. Here, the focus is on the psychoanalytic subject, epistemology and discourse critique.

Our research areas

Psychotherapy Research

Psychotherapy outcome and process research investigate whether and how psychotherapy has an effect. For this purpose, therapy concepts are developed for patients of all ages and with various problem situations. These concepts are then tested using evidence-based methods. In process studies on effective factors and mechanisms, clinical material is examined using a variety of methods and approaches in order to better understand how a given intervention works. Another objective is to maintain and improve the quality of psychotherapy.
Show research projects

Transformation Research

The analysis of cultural and social transformation processes focuses on the contradictory experiences, ways of perception, identities and options for action of subjects and social groups under the condition of a radically changing social reality. Explored here is then a psychoanalytically informed and fundamentally empirically-qualitative, transdisciplinary and socio-critical perspective, with which the possibilities for individual and collective emancipation are to be examined.
Show research projects