Psychology And Society In Vienna

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Course Information
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 


This course assumes students have taken at least one introductory course in psychology


The history and the development of psychology in Vienna as well as topics current to the field. We will concentrate on the work of Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, C.G. Jung, Otto Rank, Carl R. Rogers and Viktor Frankl and investigate recent developments in Personality Theories and Psychodynamic vs. the Person Centred Approach. The course will cover classical theory of Psychoanalysis as well as the critical work of scholars of Freud. Theories of psychology will help students gain deeper understanding of our (common) culture.

The course includes a visit to the Freud Museum and to the Federal Pathologic-anatomical Museum (1st psychiatric clinic in Vienna) and the Federal Museum of the Blind.

Learning outcomes: 


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • express pivotal terms of psychoanalytic theory and deal with crucial questions in Psychoanalysis.
  • describe and articulate key issues of a Freudian Approach.
  • compare the contrast of classical Psychoanalysis to scholars of Freud and to the view of a Person Centered Approach.

Through the completion of the course participants will be able to contribute a carefully written statement of advantages and disadvantages of a specific approach to a case study (provided from literature by the instructor), and demonstrate their understanding in a commented case study.

Method of presentation: 


Lectures, discussions, video demonstrations, online resources, excursions

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class participation (10%)
  • Study journal – focusing on the sites of the field trips (30%)
  • Oral class presentation focusing on a weekly topic of the syllabus (30%)
  • Written final paper on a case study (30%)

The study journal is to be kept in reportage style. The oral class presentation (20 minutes per topic and student) ought to refer to the reading list. The final paper, kept in APA format (length ca. 12,000 characters) in print due in the final week of class.




1. Psychoanalysis from its birth place will be focused in studying personality, character development and abnormal behavior patterns

2. Major schools of individual and group therapy: Psychoanalysis (Freud), Analytical Psychology (Jung), Social Psychology (Adler), Will Therapy (Rank), Client-centered Therapy (Rogers) Humanistic Psychology

3. Childhood influences and events in later life in relation to personality development with reference to the respective schools of psychology

4. Neurotic character development of the sociopathic personality (genetic, psychogenic, and social causes or social attribution), the joke and its relation to the unconscious

5. A weekend field trip (to Budapest). Tracing Freud’s colleagues and followers in another major city of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, (home to Sandor Ferenczi, Michael Balint). We will meet with current leaders of the Psychoanalytical Association Hungary, which was illegal under the Communist regime.

6. A day excursion leads to the Semmering, one of Freud`s favourite resort areas; we will also visit nearby Reichenau (where Freud’s literary alter ego Arthur Schnitzler spent summers) and Kirchberg/Wechsel and Ottertal (work place of Wittgenstein as a school teacher).

7. The course includes a visit to the Sigmund Freud Museum, video demonstrations, and a visit to Museum of Anatomy and Pathology (former [and 1st] psychiatric clinic).

Other excursions throughout Vienna (in the 2nd District, to the house of Adler, and Rank, and Frankl) bring you to locations which are prominent in the history of psychology in Vienna e.g. The Federal Institute for the Blind (Bundesblindeninstitut) with its Museum of the Blind (dating back into 1830), and the Museum of Medical History (Josephinum).

Attendance in the class meetings and thorough preparation of the readings for each class meeting is essential for a successful participation in the seminar. Attendance in class and of field trips is recorded in Center’s online database.

Week 1: Eros and Thanatos in Vienna

Week 1, Session 1
Getting to know ourselves. Introduction to the seminar
Lecture: Austria at the time of Sigmund Freud

Week 1, Session 2
What are Psychoanalytical Aspects of Personality (Friedman, Schustack: Chapter 3, p.61-106)
Freud: On the Psychical Mechanism of Hysterical Phenomena (In collaboration with Dr. Joseph Breuer, 1892), p.24-41

Week 1, Session 3
Normality – Abnormality: Freud in Theory, Analyses and Society
Freud: Sexuality in the Ätiology of the Neuroses (Freud 1898) p.220-248
Freud: My Views on the Part Played by Sexuality in the Aetiology of the Neuroses (Freud 1905), p.272-283
Freud: The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious. (chapter 5)

Week 1, Session 4

Week 2: Totem and taboo in Vienna
Week 2, Session 1
Lecture: On the psychology of love

Week 2, Session 2
Freud: The Horror of Incest (Totem and Taboo, p.1-20)
Freud: The Taboo of Virginity (On Creativity and the Unconscious, p.187-205)
Spinelli: Tales of Un-Knowing. The Royal Road (p.53-78)

Week 2, Session 3
A visit to the Sigmund Freud Museum

Week 2, Session 4

Week 3: The crown princes
Week 3, Session 1
Lecture: The Unconscious and Archetypes

Week 3, Session 2
What are Neo-Analytical Aspects of Personality 2 Jung, Horney (p.107-144)

Week 3, Session 3
Robert Kramer: Insight and Blindness: Visions of Rank (p.3-47)

Week 3, Session 4

Week 4: Freud and the inner circle
Week 4, Session 1
Lecture: On creativity and art

Week 4, Session 2
Rank: Art and Artists, Introduction (p.3-47)
Rank: The Anxiety Problem. 1926, (p.116-130)
Rank: The Genesis of the Guilt Feeling 1926, (p. 131-139)
Rank: Love, Guilt and the Denial of Feelings. 1927, (p.153-165)
Rank: Neuroses as a Failure in Creativity. 1935, (p.251-259)

Week 4, Session 3
City walks (Adler, Rank, Frankl)

Week 4, Session 4

Week 5: On becoming a person
Week 5, Session 1
Lecture: Carl Rogers in Vienna

Week 5, Session 2
Rogers: Chapter 16 (p. 219-235) The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Personality Change

Week 5, Session 3
Rogers: Chapter 17 (p. 236-262) A Theory of Therapy, Personality, and Interpersonal Relationships, As Developed in the Client-Centered Framework
John Shlien, A Countertheory of Transference (p.93-119)

A visit to the Narrenturm

Week 5, Session 4

Week 6: Humanistic and existential psychology
Week 6, Session 1
Lecture: A good man is hard to find

Week 6, Session 2
Mick Cooper, Existential Therapies. (p.6-35), (p.35-50),(p.110-132)

Week 6, Session 3
A visit to the Museum of the Blind

Week 6, Session 4



Required readings: 


  • Cooper, Mick. Existential Therapies. London: Sage Publ., 2006. Pp.6-35, pp.35-50. pp.110-132.
  • Freud, Sigmund & Breuer, J. (1959). “On the psychical mechanism of hysterical phenomena,” in E. Jones (Ed.) & J. Riviere (Trans.) Collected Papers (Vol. 1, pp. 24-41). New York: Basic Books. (Original work published in 1893).
  • Freud, Sigmund. Early Papers; On the History of the Psycho-Analytic Movement.  Vol. 1 of Collected Papers.  5 vols.  London: Hogarth and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, 1924-1950.   “Sexuality in the Ätiology of the Neuroses,”  pp.220-248; “My views on the part played by sexuality in the aetiology of the neuroses,” p.272-283.
  • “ – “. The Joke and Its Relation to the Unconscious (Freud 1922), chapter 5.
  • “ – “. Totem and Taboo. London: Routledge, 2006 [1913]. “The Horror of Incest,” pp.1-20.
  • “ – “. On Creativity and the Unconscious. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1958 [1910]. “The Taboo of Virginity,” pp.187-205.
  • Friedman, H. S., and M. W. Schustack (eds.). Personality: Classic Theories and Modern Research.  
  • Personality Theories. London: Perarson, 2010. Chapter 3 “Psychoanalytical Aspects of Personality,” pp. 61 – 106; Chapter 4 “Neo Analytic and Ego Aspects of Personality,” pp. 107- 144.
  • Kirschenbaum, Howard, Valerie Land Henderson (eds.). The Carl Rogers Reader. London: Constable.
  • Chapter 16 (pp. 219-235) “The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Personality Change,”
  • Chapter 17 (pp. 236-262) “A Theory of Therapy, Personality, and Interpersonal Relationships, As Developed in the Client-Centered Framework.”
  • Rank, Otto. A Psychology of Difference: The American Lectures; selected, edited, and introduced by Robert Kramer with a foreword by Rollo May. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.  “Introduction. Insight and Blindness: Visions of Rank,” pp.3-47; Chapter 8 “ The Anxiety Problem (1926),” pp.116-130; Chapter 9 “The Genesis of the Guilt-Feeling (1926),” pp. 131-139;
  • Chapter 11 “Love, Guilt and the Denial of Feelings (1927),” pp.153-165; Chapter 20 “Neuroses as a Failure in Creativity (1935),” pp.251-259.
  • Shlien, John M. To Lead an Honorable Life: Invitations to Think About Client-Centered Therapy and the Person-Centered Approach. Ed. by Pete Sanders. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books, 2003.  Pp. 93-119.