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Strategic priorities

Mental health and well-being

We study the effectiveness of psychotherapy approaches and counselling methods, the quality of diagnostic methods and aspects of psychiatric and psychosocial services and examine new forms of health promotion.

Clinical research deals with mental disorders and their prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. In the context of positive psychology, it is also increasingly oriented toward the conditions and determinants of mental health and well-being; this resource-oriented perspective extends the deficit-oriented approach. Therapy research, health services research and prevention research complement each other.

In this research area we examine the effectiveness of psychotherapy approaches and counselling methods in the full spectrum of schools of psychology and method traditions. The quality of diagnostic methods and various aspects of psychiatric and psychosocial services are investigated. The focus is also on development and evaluation of new forms of health promotion in the field of mental health and analysis of the conditions for well-being and positive development across the life span.

The findings benefit clinical institutions, psychotherapists, health care authorities, workplace health management and counsellors in prevention.

Experience and behaviour in the context of social and technological innovations

We examine the effects of mediatization, digitalization and the making of greater flexibility of all areas of life, investigate the conditions for social innovations, develop methods and processes for analysing and shaping them and evaluate best practice methods.

Accelerated social and technological changes call for new attitudes and behaviours on the part of individuals, groups and institutions.

The changes offer great opportunities but also challenges to the adaptability of human systems and to people’s experience and behaviour qualities. The changes call for new attitudes, cultures and behaviours on the part of individuals, groups and institutions. We offer research analyses, among other areas, in the area of new technologies and media in distance counselling and in promoting children and adolescents’ new media literacy. In addition, we examine the shaping of framework conditions in the organization by human resource management such that social sustainability is possible.

Dealing with risks and decision making

The aim of our research is to identify and reduce risks or make them manageable and to make decision making more sound and secure.

In many areas of life, perception of risks and decision making are subject to psychological distortion and bias. People often do not judge and make decisions in complex situations rationally or sustainably. The wrong decisions can have serious consequences for the individual and also for organizations or society as a whole, at the economic, environmental or political levels, for example.

With our know-how in information visualization and decision aids (nudging) we offer solutions for responsible handling of risks and for avoiding disadvantageous decisions.

Diversity of human development, forms of work and life

We contribute towards achieving social recognition of diversity and promote the integration of individuals in society.

Today’s society is characterised by differentiation of human life courses, developmental tasks and conditions, and socialization goals. This leads to increasing diversity, which can be seen for example in diverse forms of family life, the aging of our society, globalization of the world of work and migration processes.