Institute – English Version

Research and focus areas

The Sigmund Freud Institute in Frankfurt am Main is a national and international connected research institute of the State of Hesse for psychoanalysis and its applications.

Innovative research by the sociological-social-psychological, clinical-psychological and medical-psychoanalytical departments investigates the dynamics of the psyche, the causes, expressions and consequences of suffering and pathologies in individual and social dimensions, as well as relations between culture and the psyche.

Social-psychological and clinical-psychoanalytical projects at the SFI focus on the psychological consequences of social, cultural and technological change, such as digitalisation or acceleration and thereto related demands for optimisation, but also with psychosocial and psychological impacts of migration and flight. Concurrently, research conducted at the SFI examines changes in generational and family relationships, parenthood and stages of life and accordingly changed conditions of psychological development. Current socio-psychological analyses of social developments, crises and problems investigate, among other things, contemporary forms of authoritarianism.

Special emphasis is also placed on psychotherapy research and the conceptual and clinical foundations of psychoanalysis. This research focuses on specific disorders (e.g. obsessive-compulsive disorders), consequences of trauma, including cases of complex traumatised children, on pathological personality organisations and specific forms of defence as well as on new challenges involved in treatment of different mental illnesses. Furthermore, research is about the development of concepts for treatment, as well as for intervention and prevention in different areas of society, considering, among other things, extremism and transgenerational consequences of the Nazi era.

Scientific objectives in the international and national context

* Social-psychological analyses of cultural change, also in conjunction with clinical and medical-psychoanalytical and -psychosomatic research

* Exploration of conceptual foundations of psychoanalysis, such as identity formation, symbolisation and development of intrapsychic structures

* Research and treatment of various pathologies, in particular depressive, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, as well as borderline, narcissistic and psychosomatic disorders

* A psychoanalytical contribution to the scientific research on mental health and illness, on interpersonal abilities, creative work ability and socio-cultural integration, as well as socio-psychological studies on the relationship between society and the psyche