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Working Group on Psychotherapy Research

Main areas of interest:

  • Interpersonal experience and behaviour / Experimental psychopathology / Psychotherapy of complex affective disorders (chronic depression, borderline personality disorder, trauma-related disorders)
  • Social exclusion / Social rejection / Ostracism / Social conflict resolution
  • Oxytocin system


Dr. med. Andrea Jobst, Prof. Dr. med. Frank Padberg

Co-direction:  Prof. Dr. Dipl-Psych. Julia Dewald-Kaufmann (Hochschule Fresenius), Dr. Richard Musil

Main focus:

The main focus of our research is the psychopathology of chronic affective disorders, in particular chronic depression and borderline personality disorder. We thereby focus on the social problems that patients with these disorders experience in their everyday lives and that significantly affect their quality of life. Our aim is to identify the pathomechanisms of interpersonal behaviour patterns and clinically observable pathologies and to study the effects of experiencing social rejection and trauma. In our research projects we use the methods of experimental psychopathology in particular. During behavioural experiments we model pathomechanisms and study them with techniques from peripheral physiology and neurochemistry. For example, we study the relationship between the oxytocin system and both the experience of social exclusion and the capacity for social conflict resolution. Another focus of our research is the use of neurobiological methods to study the effects of psychotherapy, e.g. by studying changes in the oxytocin system at the genetic, epigenetic and physiological levels before and after psychotherapy.

We are also interested in clarifying normal mental processes and their relevance for socio-psychological contexts.

Based on the knowledge from our work, the main objectives of our research are to improve the understanding of neurobiological processes in mental illnesses on the one hand and to further develop targeted psychotherapeutic interventions on the other.


  • Dr. med. Matthias Reinhard, MSc
  • Barbara Baron, MSc CV_DE, CV_EN
  • Prof. Dr. Dipl-Psych. Nina Sarubin (Hochschule Fresenius München) CV_DE, CV_EN
  • Stephan Goerigk, MSc CV_DE, CV_EN
  • Fabienne Große Wentrup, MSc
  • Doctoral students and psychology students


  • Prof. Dr. Eva-Lotta Brakemeier (Philipps University Marburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Anna Buchheim (Universität Innsbruck)
  • Dr. Torsten Wüstenberg (Charité Berlin)