Since 2013 field research excursions for students of psychotherapy science and/or psychology are organized on a regular basis. Up to the present two field trips to Malawi, South-East Africa and one to Costa Rica have taken place. The research is composed of three steps: a phase for preparation, the research trip and the time for evaluation and analysis of the collected data from the field.
The aim of the project is to give students the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge of qualitative research methods in the experience and practice of ethnographic field research and to analyse and reflect the subjective entanglement of the researcher (countertransference) within the research field. The field tips have demonstrated that the participants are not only experiencing an encounter with persons from a different socio-cultural environment but are also undertaking a journey into their “real inner Africa” (Jean Paul) and are able to meet their own “inner original inhabitants” (Sigmund Freud). Thus, the research excursions provide an opportunity for further selfreflexion during the training to become a psychotherapist and to broaden one’s own concepts of social and cultural norms.
The main focus of the first research excursion in July 2013 was to observe and interview traditional healers in central and southern Malawi. During the four weeks it was possible to meet 15 different healers.
The main focus of the second research group in August 2014 was to study traditional healers in northern Malawi and especially to learn more on the Vimbuza healing tradition of the Tumbuka ethnic group. The two field research projects in Malawi were organized and supervised by Dr. Moya Malamusi.
The third project was a field trip to Talamanka, Costa Rica, in March 2016. The main focus was to learn more on the dream-culture of the Bribri, an indigenous group of Costa Rica. The research on dreams was based on a reciprocal form of getting to know each other’s method of interpreting dreams. During the two week stay with a Bribri family clan dreams were exchanged and interpreted in daily meetings. The research in Costa Rica was organized and supervised by Dr. Ursula Hauser and Alvaro Dobles.
Since 2016 the analysis of the field research material is supervised by Dr. Jochen Bonz. During regular meetings of an ethnopsychoanalytic interpretation group which is conducted by Jochen Bonz at SFU Vienna the participants have the opportunity to evaluate and reflect on the abundant field data.
Dr. Christine Korischek
Prof. Johannes Reichmayr
Cooperation Malawi: Dr. Moya Malamusi, Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kubik
Costa Rica: Dr. Ursula Hauser and „Asociación de Psicoanálisis Critico Social Costa Rica“ (ASPAS)
Dr. Jochen Bonz
Until March 2017 one Bachelor and one Master thesis in Psychology and two Master theses for Psychotherapy Science based on the field research data have been finalized.
Korischek, Christine / Malamusi, Moya A. / Kadanka, Gabriele / Mekelnburg, Stephan / Mponela, Esther / Posselt, Winnie / Zamfirescu, Irina / Zitzewitz, Julius (2014): Meeting a Traditional Healer in Malawi. SFU Research Bulletin 2 (1), doi: 10.15135/220.127.116.11-67.
The evaluation of the field material from the first three excursions is carried on and is in further progress. The field research excursions shall be continued on a regular basis in a two year interval.
Presentation of selected topics from the field research at the World Congress for Psychotherapy, Durban, 25.-29. August 2014
Presentation at the Weltmuseum Wien, 9. November 2016
Presentation at SFU Wien, 8. March 2017