Our institute is dedicated to the study of subjective experience in the field of psychotherapy science. Our research projects relate to the field of psychotherapy (therapeutic interaction, patient experience, processes in psychotherapy training, factors of change in the therapeutic process) as well as to related fields of evaluation research, sociology, gender research and industrial and organisational psychology.

The methodological focus includes interviewing and qualitative analysis of conversations and texts. Our staff are experts in qualitative content analysis, grounded theory, typing and computer-assisted qualitative analysis using Atlas.ti.

We offer our qualitative research services to companies and other research institutions: If you are interested in our support in analysing qualitative data, or if you would like to commission us to conduct a qualitative survey for you, please contact Assoz. Prof. Dr. Kathrin Mörtl at kathrin.moertl@sfu.ac.at.

Head: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Kathrin Mörtl, e-mail


  • Kathrin Moertl – Head, Grounded Theory, Psychoanalysis, Psychosomatics (CV_Moertl_Kathrin_EN)
  • Birgitta Schiller – Work & Health, Individual Psychology, Type Formation (CV Schiller Birgitta_en)
  • Himanshu Giri – Atlas.ti, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapists in Training Research  (CV Giri Himanshu)
  • Eva Wimmer – Sociology, Gender Studies, Hermeneutic Text Analysis (CV Wimmer Eva)
  • Ivana Dragic – Mixed-Methods, Systemic Family Therapy, Psychotherapy Training Model  (CV Ivana Dragic)
  • Elitsa Tilkidhzieva – Psychotherapy Training Research, Health Promotion and Quality of Life, Chronic Stress and Chronic Illness, Integrative Gestalt Therapy (CV Tilkidzhieva Elitsa)
  • Lea Bernik – Lecturer, PhD candidate for Psychotherapy Science, Grounded theory, CBT therapist, Student specialising in Psychodynamics (CV Lea Bernik)
  • Isabella Wagner – Qualitative Social Research, Social Inequality, Participation & Urban Research, Education Research (CV Wagner Isabella)
  • Manfred Reisinger – n.a.

You find us in the research room 4002 on the 4th floor of SFU Vienna at Freudplatz 1, 1020 Vienna.

Former members: Dominik Mihalits, MSc., Mag. Katharina Steinicke, Dr. phil. Markus Wrbouschek

Academic Activities

Qualitative Research Working Group

The research team “Qualitative Psychotherapy Research” invites students to the working group for qualitative research. Prerequisite for participation are own qualitative research projects and theses, which can be brought in as material.
Qualitative Research Working Group in SoSe 2023

Depth Hermeneutic Interpretation Group Linz

Depth hermeneutics is a qualitative method that aims at the latent content of the material to be studied (texts, films, interviews…). These unconscious “scenes” merely shimmer through “between the lines”, but affectively speak to the interpreters involuntarily and can be developed through an analysis of these reactions. The aim of the working group is to make spontaneous feelings and associations usable for an interpretation of the material.
Groups are available as needed: if interested, please contact birgitta.schiller@sfu.ac.at or eva.wimmer@sfu.ac.at


The Institute offers ongoing workshops on computer-assisted qualitative analysis. We mainly use the computer programme Atlas.ti (www.atlasti.com). There is one beginner and one advanced course per semester.
For information on current dates and registration, please contact: himanshugiri@live.com

Teaching & Further Training

Our staff regularly teach in the BA, MA and PhD programmes. A selection of courses where you can learn about our research methods and projects:
– Qualitative Methods: Assoz. Prof. Dr. Mörtl & Mag. Giri
– Qualitative Research Methods (in English): Dr. Dragic
– Psychosomatics (in English): Assoz. Prof. Dr. Mörtl

Supervision of theses

If you are interested in doing qualitative research and have an interesting research idea, please feel free to contact us. Dr. Dragic is currently able to supervise new theses, the waiting time for supervision with Assoz. Prof. Dr. Mörtl is currently about six months.

Selected Research Projects

  • Stress on medical staff during the CoVid-19 pandemic
  • Fit for Life – Literary Award “What writing does as art-making”.
  • Body anamnesis questionnaire. Implementation of a screening at the psychotherapeutic university outpatient clinic of Sigmund Freud University
  • KörperLOS – A qualitative study on the role of the body in digital psychotherapeutic treatment
  • Body Focus Groups – Psychosomatic Attitudes and Competence of Health Workers in Training on the Subject of Body & Mental Health
  • Attachment styles of clients and their significance for the therapeutic alliance and symptom reduction in the context of psychotherapeutic and psychological treatments at the university outpatient clinics of Sigmund Freud University Vienna
  • Tako-Tsubo syndrome: stress-induced cardiomyopathy in Austria
  • Social inequality and psychotherapy
  • Critical Psychotherapy / Profession

Contact: birgitta.schiller@sfu.ac.at

Selected Publications

  • Wimmer, E., Schiller, B., Reisinger, M., Wagner, I., Fiegl, J., & Mörtl , K. (2021). Das Fehlen des Körpers in der psychotherapeutischen Ausbildung: Qualitative Analyse von Gruppendiskussionen mit Studierenden. Psychotherapie Forum, S. 1-6.
  • Reisinger, M., Knasmüller, F., Aden, J., & Sindelar, B. (2021). Herausforderungen in der psychosozialen Versorgung am Beispiel der psychotherapeutischen Universitätzambulanz der Sigmund Freud PrivatUniversität-Eine Klientenanalyse. Psychotherapie Forum, S. 1-8.
  • Wimmer, E., & Schiller, B. (2021). Qualitative Psychotherapieforschung in der Lehre – Herausforderung und Bereicherung für die psychotherapeutische Ausbildung und Praxis. Zeitschrift für Beratungswissenschaften und Managementwissenschaften.
  • Mihalits, D. S., Schiller, B., Barrech, A., Riedel, N., Li, J., Angerer, P., Guendel, H. & Mörtl, K. (2021). The Flipside of Work Engagement: A Qualitative Evaluation of a Stress Management Intervention in the Workplace. Human Arenas, 1-15.
  • Wimmer, E., Braunschmied, N., Eichenberg, C., Weihs, V., Pogran, E., Fiegl, J., & Huber, K. (2021). Tako-Tsubo-Syndrom: Stress, Ressourcen und Chancen. PiD-Psychotherapie im Dialog, 22(2), S. 68-71.
  • Wimmer, E., Braunschmied, N., Fiegl, J., Eichenberg, C., Weihs, V., Piackova, E., & Huber, K. (2020). Psychotherapie in der Behandlung und Prävention des Tako-Tsubo-Syndroms: Empfehlungen für die klinische Praxis aus einer qualitativen Pilot-Studie//Psychotherapy in treatment of the Tako-Tsubo syndrome. Journal für Kardiologie-Austrian Journal of Cardiology, 27(3), S. 84-89.
  • Schiller, B., Posselt, W., Polz, J., & Salamon, G. (2019). Erfahrungen von tiefenpsychologisch fundierten Therapeutinnen und Therapeuten in Auseinandersetzung mit dem eigenen Körper. Psychoanalyse & Körper, 35(2), S. 39-52.
  • Li, J., Riedel, N., Barrech, A., Herr, R.M., Aust, B., Mörtl, K., Siegrist, J., Gündel, H., & Angerer, P. (2017). Nine-Year Longitudinal Psychosocial and Mental Outcomes of a Stress Management Intervention at Work Using Psychotherapeutic Principles. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 10, 86(2):113-115. doi: 10.1159/000451028.
  • Moertl, K., Giri, H., Angus, L., & Constantino, M. (2017). Corrective Experiences of Psychotherapists in Training. Journal of Clinical Psychology 73 (2): 182-191. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22431.
  • Steinicke, K., Mörtl, K., Gulde, M., Ziegenhain, U., & Fegert, J. (2016). Die Umfunktionierung von Plätzen – Aneignungsprozesse im öffentlichen Raum in der Altersgruppe der Lücke-Kinder. Kinder und Jugendschutz 61 (2).
  • Mörtl, K., & Gelo, O. (2015). Qualitative Methods in Psychotherapy Process Research. In: O. Gelo, B. Rieken, A. Pritz (Hrsg.): Psychotherapy Research. Wien: Springer Verlag.
  • Dragic, I., Mörtl, K., & Braakman, D. (2014). The “Good Practice” Training Philosophy in an International Psychotherapy Program. SFU Research Bulletin 2 (1), doi: 10.15135/
  • Dourdouma, A., & Mörtl, K. (2012). The Creative Journey of Grounded Theory Analysis: A guide to its principles and applications. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process und Outcome 15 (2): 96-106.
  • Mörtl, K. (2012). Was leistet der Begriff »qualitative Forschung« für die Entwicklung junger Psychotherapie-Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler noch? Psychotherapie und Sozialwissenschaft 14 (2): 5-13.
  • Mörtl, K., & Lamott, F. (2010). Wie wird Veränderung in der Psychotherapieforschung gemessen? Ein Plädoyer für triangulierende Forschung. Psychotherapie und Sozialwissenschaft 12 (2): 95-102.
  • Moertl K., & Wietersheim J.V. (2008). Client Experiences of Helpful Factors in a Day Treatment Program. Psychotherapy Research 18 (3): 281-293.



Assoz. Prof. Dr. Kathrin Mörtl
Mail: kathrin.moertl@sfu.ac.at


Please send student requests to: birgitta.schiller@sfu.ac.at
Requests for research cooperations: kathrin.moertl@sfu.ac.at