Research, scientific as well as methodical exchange, interdisciplinary co-operation with institutions and colleagues; all of these pose a substantial goal of this institute. The following research areas have already been developed:

Karen Horney

The study of her work, including as yet (or not yet in Germany) published writings as well as the history of the reception and impact of this work. In her last book, “Neurosis and Human Growth - the Struggle Toward Self-Realisation“, Karen Horney had expressed a desire to investigate the connection between her own work and Zen Buddhism. She believed that both were identical, to a large extent, and hoped to find a common language between them. Unfortunately, this she was unable to undertake this project. Our institute regards it as his task to work on the connection between psychotherapy and spirituality and to promote the connection between personal development and spiritual growth.
Topics in detail:

  • Karen Horney’s deep-psychological work, within the context of psychoanalytical development
  • Methods of treatment
  • Impact and history of Karen Horney’s work
  • Karen Horney and humanistic psychotherapy, in particular Gestalt psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology
  • Feminine aspects of psychoanalysis
  • Karen Horney and the Enneagram of character adjustments
  • Karen Horney’s connection to spirituality and in particular to Zen Buddhism

Psychoanalysis and Spirituality

C.G. Jung was the first to introduce the spiritual perspective into psychoanalysis. Karen Horney and Erich Fromm found numerous things in common between the goals of psychoanalysis and spirituality in particular Zen Buddhism. A need for further research in this area is needed:
where are the overlapping factors and agreements between the two? To what extent do they share common goals and where are the differences? Which things do they have in common and what differences are there regarding the methods?

Humanistic Psychology and Spirituality

Abraham Maslow, a student of Karen Horney, is considered to be the founder of Transpersonal Psychology. Fritz Perls saw congruence between the goals of Gestalt therapy and Zen Buddhism, as humanistic psychotherapy is often considered to be the western equivalent of the eastern path to liberation. To what extent is this supposition true? The need for research in this area is apparent, since all too often inadmissible simplifications and reductions are made.

The Integration of Spirituality and Psychotherapy, of Spiritual Growth and Personal Development

The interest in spiritual topics continues to grow and the importance of spiritual and existential topics in the context of psychotherapy is steadily increasing. Therefore, it is time to develop well-founded working methods, concepts and topics. Studies prove this increasing importance of spirituality. For example, for two thirds of the American psychologists, spirituality is regarded as important and 82% Americans feel the need to grow spiritually. On the other hand, a German study demonstrates that half of psychotherapists do not even diagnose a spiritual crisis correctly. A summary of such studies is to be found in „Psychology of Spirituality, manual “by Professor Anton A. Bucher, Beltz Publishing house 2007.

Both the  represented overview of the available studies by Anton Bucher as well as various experiences have shown that people with spiritual questions, conflicts or crises are often wrongly diagnosed and treated due to lack of competence by psychotherapists and  doctors. On the other hand, many specialized clinics now prefer to hire psychologists who can, in addition to having a training and background in psychotherapy, prove competences in supporting patients in spiritual issues.

Religious criticism had predominated in the psychoanalysis and psychology of the last century. In the meantime, health-promoting aspects of spirituality have come to the foreground. Studies examining spiritually-oriented, practicing individuals reveal  a longer life expectancy,  less occurrence of cancer and heart problems, a lower suicide rate and a more robust ability to deal with crises, especially existential ones (effective Coping).  (See the overview concerning the state of research by Anton A. Bucher: Psychology of Spirituality. See above)

Spiritual consulting and counceling covers the following topics:

  • life coherency and the meaning of the life
  • connection with human beings and creation
  • boundlessness of life and creation
  • dealing with illness and death
  • handling individual and ubiquitous suffering
  • coming to terms with the experience of a higher power
  • the discovery, classification and integration of deeper experiences of equanimity, acceptance, peace and internal harmony

Near Death Experiences

There exists today extensive and credible research into near death experiences. The confrontation with mortality, death and dying, all lead to clear positive personality changes.  From the study of these relatively frequently arising experiences and their effects on the life of those affected, important conclusions for personality changes, the handling of crises and the development of the life process are revealed.

Understanding and Healing Trauma

Trauma work is steadily gaining importance within the context of psychotherapy. On the one hand it deals with an improved therapeutic access to an important group of mental disturbances, on the other hand fundamental insights about therapy and personality development can be achieved.