1. What is the focus of your research and teaching?
As I am in charge of Module 2, I am responsible for teaching the principles of psychoanalysis, or in other words on the subjects of drive and emotion, perception, thinking, speaking and memory. These are areas psychoanalysts have been interested in since Freud, with subsequent generations working on them, resulting in numerous diverse branches to other sciences. My research interests lie in the field of so-called qualitative psychotherapy research, and especially in conversation and metaphor analysis, as well as in the analysis of (biographic) narratives. It has proven possible to demonstrate the usefulness and viability of this combination of methods in a study on sex offenders. This managed for the first time ever worldwide to analyse the unique speech and narrative forms of such people during socio-therapeutic group therapy.
2. What is the content you convey in your module?
The study course, which is Module 2 in this case, includes a presentation of Freud's biography linked to the historical currents in the major "melting pot" that Vienna was in his time; a presentation of his professional interests, an exact analysis of the case history of Katharina and an introduction to his treatment method using the interpretation of dreams by way of example. In addition, we deal with Freudian slips, the theories of angst and sexuality and his rehabilitation of intentionality when he assigns a meaning to symptoms - which was a great achievement. On a thematic level, the seminars then progress to modern findings on infant research and on the cultural inheritance of human thinking as described by Michael Tomasello.
3. What can students learn from you personally?
The love of detail - because it is only the details of a narrative which ignite our genuine emotions.
The love of theory - because you only recognise in your therapeutic practice what you have once really delved into yourself.
The love of practice - because it motivates us to consider further and listen more precisely.
Analytical reason comes from reflection.
4. What is it about psychoanalysis and psychology that excites you?
Psychoanalysis is a study of the whole person that permits you to range from the depths to the heights. It does not shy away from speaking about human despicability, yet it also finds opportunities to connect with spiritual heights and doing so does not forget the middle ground, the social and cultural dimension by which we are all determined. I have not found this integration in the paradigms of academic psychology, although I feel I am familiar with it to some extent.
5. Do you have a motto on life or a favourite quote?
"Go the brink of your yearning." (Rilke)