1. What is the focus of your research and teaching?
Pathology, emotion and motivation, social psychology. The research still has to be defined. This has been emotion research to date, and especially unconscious exchange processes in dyads of mentally ill people with healthy people, the search for the material basis of transfer and counter-transfer processes, as well as the compulsion to repeat.
2. What is the content you convey in your module?
An introduction to the descriptive ICD 10 and DSM IV classification systems as well as presentations of the psychotherapy guidelines. Efforts to reappraise areas worth criticising by means of the DSM V. The interplay between heritage and surroundings using two disorder conditions which we examined, stuttering and schizophrenia. Epidemology: The Mannheim Cohort Study from1987 compared to current studies. The comparison of traumatic disorders and those with an unconscious conflict and the migratory movement between both of them. Unspecific symptoms of an unconscious conflict - actual neuroses or neurasthenia. Core conflicts and structural levels and their developmental psychology derivation. Attachment models and psychic disorders.
Emotion: The building up of the emotion system as a modular organisation. Expression, physiology, voluntary motor function, interoception, protocognitive framework, languages of emotion. The primary emotions and their ontogenetic and phylogenetic derivation.
The individual emotions: Pleasure, interest, curiosity, angst, grief, anger, disgust and revulsion. Their meaning and function for object relationships and as leading emotions for certain disorders and fields of conflict. The structural emotions of shame, guilt and pride and their emergence and meaning for the human psyche.
Memory: Memory and learning models. Trauma memory and how content becomes "unconscious". Encoding and decoding processes. Forms and principles of changes in reality.
3. What can students learn from you personally?
I have established and led university outpatient services since 1973, and I have seen, got to know and diagnosed a very large number of people, and often treated them as well. Sometimes for years. To some extent I have been able to link this experience to my research projects, with the result that I have been able to acquire a certain knowledge about people with such disorder conditions. The core of this kind of knowledge is however characterised by the fact that under no circumstances should we ever act as though we have understood the people because of this, and that there could not be completely new developments which take our understanding a step further to new forms of cognition. I'm also happy to give this kind of knowledge and my attitude here to the generations to come.
4. What is it about psychoanalysis and psychology that excites you?
I'm not really excited at all by psychoanalysis. I've become quite dismayed at the confusion of definitions and methods and the ease with which any author can develop new concepts and models. And this is especially because I regard both treatment and indeed the core theoretical areas to be irreplaceable. This was the reason for my efforts to reflect the situation of the clinician in the complexity of the research work as far as it was do-able. Thus I come from the methodogical side in the tradition of an inductive researcher. And I've never really been interested in hypothesis-tested designs. And I'm also not really the right person for it.
5. Have you got a motto on life or a favourite saying?
I don't think in terms of mottos, but I often notice that verses from poems and fairytales come into my head. Here are a few of them:
"The morning is my joy, I climb the mountain in the hour of silence, up to the vast expanse, and greet you Germany from the bottom of my heart." (Eichendorff)
"Come away with us said the donkey to the dog, you'll always find something better than death." (The Bremen Town Musicians)
"The night stepped calmly onto land, leaning dreamily on the mountains." (This was how my mother imagined and wished death to be. Let's hope it was like that.)
All of these particles open our heart, and without this openness that embraces the fundamental pleasure in things, the solidary struggle against traumatisation and the acceptance of the farewell, I wouldn't dare to get so intensively involved with other people, whether they happen to be momentarily mentally ill or not. Without this internal debate with myself during analysis, I don't believe I would have acquired this ability. To that extent I really am excited by analysis, and especially by my analysts.