Welcome on the pages of the department for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy

Saarland Trauma Anxiety Resilience Stress Lab

The department consists of a research unit and a psychotherapy outpatient unit. In addition, it has as associated institutes, the postgraduate clinical training centre for cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy at Saarland University (WIPS) and the counselling service Bounce Back that offers support for victims of discrimination and political violence.

The research of the department mainly focuses on disorders specifically associated with stress like posttraumatic stress disorder and anxiety disorders. We use prospective longitudinal studies and experimental paradigmsto identify physiological, neuroendocrinological, emotional and cognitive factors that explain the development and maintenance of these disabling conditions. The results of the studies are used to develop innovative interventions that target these factors. The interventions are evaluated in randomized controlled trials.

Current clinical studies investigate whether adjuvant interventions (e.g. administration of cortisol/intranasal insulin, biofeedback) improve the efficacy of first-line treatments. For example, we are presently conducting a clinical trial funded by the German Research Foundation(DFG 42631032) that examines exercise as an adjuvant intervention to narrative exposure therapy in traumatized refugees. Likewise, we are investigating with funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG 407402496) whether cognitive-behavior therapy for insomnia improves trauma-focused psychotherapies for patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Furthermore, we examine how digital technology solutions can be used to meet today´s challenges around mental health.

Selected publications:

Schäfer, S.K, Sopp, M.R., Schanz, C.G., Staginnus, M., Göritz, A.S., & Michael, T. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on public mental health and the buffering effect of sense of coherence. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 89, 386-392.

Sopp, M.R, Friesen, E., Schäfer, S.K.; Brueckner, A.H., Wirth, B. E, Weber, Lass-Hennemann, J., & Michael, T. (2021). Wakefulness impairs selective consolidation of relevant trauma-associated memories resulting in more frequent intrusions. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 136, 103776

Ferreira de Sá, D.S., Römer, S., Brückner, A.H., Issler, T., Hauck, A., & Michael, T. (2020). Effects of intranasal insulin as an enhancer of fear extinction: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental study. Neuropsychopharmacology, 45, 753-760

Brueckner, A.H., Lass-Hennemann, J., Wilhelm, F.H., Ferreira de Sá, D., & Michael, T. (2019). Cortisol Administration after Extinction in a Fear Conditioning Paradigm with Traumatic Film Clips Prevents Return of Fear. Translational Psychiatry, 9. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41398-019-0455-0

Ihmig, F., Gogeascoechea, A. H., Neurohr-Parakenings, F., Schäfer, S.K., Lass-Hennemann, J., & Michael, T. (2020). On-line anxiety level detection from biosignals: machine learning based on a randomized controlled trial with spider-fearful individuals. PLOS ONE, 15, e0231517.

Lass-Hennemann, J. & Michael, T. (2014). Endogenous cortisol levels influence exposure therapy in spider phobia. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 60, 39-45.


Publications of the department

Here you'll find the publications of the department.


Bounce Back - Support for victims of discrimination and violence

Bounce Back offers support for victims of discrimination and political violence. For information please click here: www.bounceback.de


Center for Behavior Therapy

The department includes a center for behavior therapy, where patients are treated with great experience and according to current scientific standards. 


Institute for Postgraduate Studies in Psychotherapy Saarbrücken

The Institute for Postgraduate Studies in Psychotherapy Saarbrücken at the Saarland University was launched in the summer term 2015.

Applications should be directed to Dr. Anke Kirsch.