Main fields of expertise

Strong anxiety reactions, which occur in situations in which majority of people do not feel anxious or not to that extent, are referred to as anxiety and panic disorders.

Tachycardia, sweating and angina pectoris as well as avoidance are characteristical. Circling thoughts about the situation one is afraid of also characterizes this disorder. That is how the so-called “fear of the fear” arises.
The avoiding behavior that generates in the course of time makes sense, as the person doesn’t have to deal with the fear, gradually, on the other hand, one becomes more and more restricted in his activities, up to extremes, where one is no more able to leave the house on his own. That is how the vicious circle arises.

Generally we distinguish between directed anxiety (animal, objects etc.) and generalized one. The latter one is a form of anxiety which can occur any time or place, since it is not related to anything. Affected individuals often refer to it as a fear of something happening to oneself or to the loved ones.
According to my experience, there is a good chance of recovery, despite the severity of symptoms.

Borderline personality ranks among most spread and most dangerous psychological disorders and belongs to the so called “emotionally instable personality disorders”. Individuals suffer from mood swings and tend to succumb to an impulse, without considering the consequences.

Their competence to plan ahead is low and a blaze of anger can lead to an explosive, often violent behavior. The self-perception and own aims are often blurred and flawed.
People suffering from borderline personality disorder often cultivate inconsistent and inadequate relationships to other people. While doing so, they swing between idealizing and debasing, which is why black and white-thinking is also a representative mark of borderline personality. Other indications are: anxiety, depression, sleeping disorders, feeling empty inside, compulsions, auto-aggressive behavior, fear of abandonment, sense of indebtedness, self-hatred, etc.

Clients tend to act impulsively with potential self-harming behavior, such as: eating disorders, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, kleptomania, pathological gambling etc.

Individuals considered to suffer from a borderline personality disorder do not visit a psychotherapist on their own initiative. A more frequent case is that they get sent by the loved ones, because it’s in the nature of the disorder, that the clients don’t feel the psychological strain, unlike the people around them.

Here as well, the crucial aspect of the psychotherapy is, once more, the client-therapist relationship. This correlation provides the foundation for trust and emotional intimacy. The therapist becomes a person of trust. If this level is achieved, the client becomes competent of building positive, healthy relationships. Progressively, the individual learns how to trust other people.

Addiction is a disease with pathological significance, it doesn’t have anything to do with being weak-headed or being a criminal. Addiction is a compulsive behavior that can be bound to a substance, but does not necessary have to. There is always a psychological addiction, and the question whether there is an organic dependency, is a matter of the substance used.

Addiction does not just happen overnight, it develops, or rather, creeps in over a long period of time. The changeovers are fluid and that’s what makes it so difficult to be noticed by the individual, his friends and family.
As addiction is being more and more researched, the fact, that there is never only one reason for becoming addicted, is getting even more obvious. It seems there are always multiple factors that interact. Most of the time, there is a correlation between the personality of the individual, his social surrounding and the availability of the drug.

It is especially the experiences of the first few years of one’s life that can make the self-awareness fragile and unstable, and make life in in the adulthood bearable only with drugs.  

During my work experience as psychotherapist at the detox clinic Anton Proksch Institute, Vienna, I have come to the conclusion that addiction cannot be treated by forced withdrawal of the drug. Usually a relapse happens as soon as the pressure from outside is gone. Improvement and healing can only occur if the individual himself wishes to break free from the dependence, and actively cooperates towards that goal.

The path towards convalescence can only be taken by admitting the dependency and subsequent search for help. After all, one is not committed to the addiction – in Austria there is a medical, psychological and psychosocial support for addicted individuals.

Psychosomatic illness stands for organic symptoms caused by mental strain. A person suffering from psychosomatic disorders complains about an organic issue, which cannot be explained medically.

For instance, one can fall ill with a high blood pressure, after being under a big amount of stress for a longer period of time and not being able to come to terms with it.

Depression is a psychological illness, during which depressed mood, lack of interest, listlessness and despondence come to the fore.  In case of depression, the brain metabolism is changed, serotonin and noradrenalin levels are lower than normal. Causes for that are not known yet, although it can be assumed that genetic constitution is one coefficient, which explains why depression often appears more than once in the same family.

Other aspects, such as trauma, social environment, work situation and important life occasions are relevant for the emergence of depression. Therefore, depression cannot be explained based on one cause only. Most of the time multiple factors play a role, as well as inner and outer circumstances, which cause the disease simultaneously.

According to evaluations, about 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In Austria there are about 450 000 depressive individuals in need of treatment, and this number is set to increase in future.
Yet, the disorder often stays undiscovered by both, the individual and the medical provider.

Frequently, there are physical complaints in the front, such as heart troubles, headache or pain in the back, which prevent from further looking into the psychological condition of the patient. Shame and the fear of social isolation add to it. Besides, in a fast moving world where nothing is as valued as performance and efficiency, one has to get up the nerve and admit weakness and need for help, to oneself and people around.
The inhibition threshold, to go see a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist, is still quite high. This often needlessly prolongs the agony for the individual. Many depressed individuals are intimidated by the fact that depression is not obvious and cannot be proven, such as, for instance, a bone fracture.

Many depressive individuals, particularly the ones suffering from a severe depression, harbor suicidal thoughts.

If you have the feeling that you might be suffering from depression, you should, at all costs, go see a psychiatrist, psychologist or psychotherapist, since, combining the psychotherapy with psychotropic drugs, depression can be treated well. Don’t wait until the psychological strain gets bigger and you cannot even leave the house to go get help.

It is a part of our daily life to worry, ponder and maintain superstitious thoughts. The point where it gets the upper hand (permanent urge to wash your hands) or doesn’t make any sense (having to drive up and down the street to make sure you didn’t run anyone over) – it is a matter of an obsessive-compulsive disorder. In this case, the mind is stuck with a thought or an impulse and cannot let go. The individual experiences undesired and unpleasant thoughts and impulses, which consistently arise and release anxiety and fear.

These compulsive thoughts have various contents. In many cases, it is the fear of losing control or getting dirty or infected by a contagious virus etc. Moreover, they can contain religious or sexual aspects – as a matter of fact, every thought or every topic can eventually lead to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. As the feeling of fear and anxiety that arises is a quite unpleasant one, an urgent necessity to do something against it emerges.

This can lead to developing an exact, ritualized behavior, the so-called compulsive act. Most of individuals experience compulsive thoughts combined with compulsive acts. The thoughts and the subsequent acting upon them are useless, unpleasant, recurring and often even harmful for the client. Healing can hardly be expected without a professional help. Although the obsessive-compulsive disorder occurs as frequently as panic disorder, due to the feeling of embarrassment that often goes along with it, it is still quite unfamiliar to the broader public.

rauma is a disturbing event in which one feels severely threatened emotionally, mentally or physically. Most people experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives, such as a car accident, the sudden death of a loved one, abuse or neglect of emotional and/or physical kind, a violent criminal act, exposure to the viciousness of war, torture or a natural disaster. Many individuals recover from trauma with time and through the support of family and friends, bouncing back with great resiliency, but for others, the effects of trauma are lasting, causing a person to live with deep responsive pain, anxiety, confusion, or posttraumatic stress far after the event has passed. Often, the support, guidance, and assistance of mental health professionals is fundamental to healing from trauma.

Eating disorder comes in many variations with one thing in common: disproportionate handling of food. It ranges from compulsive devouring of huge amounts of food to a total refusal of nutrition. Roughly we differentiate between bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and gluttony. Orthorexia nervosa is a newcomer, it describes a pathological state of being fixated on eating only healthy food.
The lines between two kinds of disorders are fluent.

Not only do eating disorders interfere with the wellbeing, they can also seriously harm the physical health, like: metabolism disorder, renal failure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, disease of digestive tract, symptoms of undernourishment and other. In severe cases, eating disorders can lead to death.

Basically, it’s an avoidance strategy: to eat or not to eat serves as a kind of alternative satisfaction for the feelings and needs that could not be experienced. By devouring mountains of food or by compulsively refraining from it, the person manages to numb the feelings which cannot be borne at the moment and fakes the feeling of having everything under control. Facing the own emotional world in a trustworthy frame of psychotherapy presents the first step towards recovery.

Sexual abuse is unwanted erotic activity, with perpetrators using force, making intimidations or taking advantage of victims not able to give approval. Most victims and perpetrators know each other. Abusers can manipulate victims to stay quiet about the sexual abuse using a number of different tactics. Often an abuser will use their position of power over the victim to coerce or intimidate the child. They might tell the child that the activity is normal or that they enjoyed it. An abuser may make threats if the child refuses to participate or plans to tell another grown-up.

Child sexual abuse is not only a corporal violation; it is a violation of trust and/or authority. Instant reactions to sexual abuse consist of shock, fear or disbelief up to mental dissociation. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While efforts to treat sex offenders go on unhopeful, psychological interventions for survivors, especially psychotherapy appears effective.