Clinical Psychology

Head

Department Head

Prof. Dr. Peter Kirsch

Phone: +49 621 1703-6501, -6511

Fax: +49 621 1703-6505

e-mail

Secretariat: Ellen Schmucker
Phone: +49 (0) 621 1703-6502

Research and Administrative Building, 3rd Floor, Room 305, Secretariat Room 306

Description

During the last years, the Department of Clinical Psychology has faced reorganization. After seven years of temporary leadership, Professor Peter Kirsch started his position as head of the department in March 2010. While the research on somatoform disorders and health anxiety which has been the main focus of the department before reoccupation was continued, new research foci were added to the departments’ research portfolio. In accordance with the institute’s main research themes, we define clinical psychology as the discipline investigating causes, symptoms, implications and effective psychotherapeutic treatments of mental disorders. Since we are taking a primarily biopsychological and neuroscientific perspective, we mainly contribute to the neuroplasticity focus of the institute. However, we are also interested in the translation of neurobiological mechanisms identified into new psychotherapeutic treatments which fits very well into the institute’s therapeutic key focus.

Searching for biological underpinnings of psychological processes related to mental disorders and the course of illness, we apply methods from brain imaging, imaging genetics, computational neuroscience, psychophysiology and experimental psychology. For such a research orientation, which is strongly depending on successful interdisciplinary collaboration, the CIMH is an almost ideal environment. We established and continued collaborations with a number of departments and workgroups at the CIMH (Psychiatry and Psychotherapy [RGs SNiP, Longitudanal and Intervention Research, Computational Neuroscience, Molecular Schizophrenia Research, ADHD in Adulthood], Addiction Medicine [RG Neuroenhancement] , Psychosomatic Medicine [RGs Experimental Psychology, Experimental Psychopathology], Child and Adolescence Psychiatry [RG Developmental Clinical Neurophysiology], Genetic Epidemiology, Neuroimaging, Institute for Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology).

Regarding mechanisms, we have a strong interest in the neurobiology of social cognition and its impairments in mental disorders like schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, autism or psychopathy. To further support this research filed, the workgroup “Social Affective  Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology” (SANE) will be established at the Department which will be headed by Dr. Mier.

Searching for effective psychotherapeutic treatments for mental disorders, we have, together with the Institute for Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology, established an outpatient treatment facility which allows us to develop and evaluate new behavioral therapeutic treatments. Prof. Josef Bailer, who is a member of the department, has the supervisory control for this facility.

Beside its research activities the department is responsible for the organization and supervision of the trainee program for psychological psychotherapists in the clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy as well as the clinic for Addiction Medicine. In addition, members of the department are involved in the training and the supervision of psychotherapies of the residents from these clinics. Furthermore, the department is operating the outpatient training facility for psychological psychotherapists which is part of the “Zentrum für Psychologische Psychotherapie” (ZPP) at Heidelberg University a joint post graduate training institution founded by the Universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim together with the CIMH.