Our Transgenerational Transmission of Trauma Research Institute is dedicated to exploring the intricate link between psychotherapy practice and empirical research amid pressing global challenges. In an era marked by extremism, pandemics, and geopolitical tensions, we investigate transgenerational trauma’s nuances and implications.

Recognising the urgency of understanding trauma’s pervasive effects, our mission revolves around harnessing empirical insights to refine psychotherapeutic approaches. We aim to aid individuals and communities impacted by these complex challenges, designing interventions that extend beyond therapy rooms to create significant social impact.

In navigating the complexities of trauma amidst escalating global unrest, our research institute empowers not only therapists by integrating research-derived knowledge into their practices, but also other stakeholders of society, such as policy makers, social scientists, activists working in the NGO sector, etc. This fusion allows for culturally sensitive and targeted interventions addressing transgenerational trauma within contemporary turbulences.

Moreover, amidst pandemics and geopolitical disruptions, our institute serves as an innovation hub. Through research-practice synergies, we develop advanced therapeutic methodologies, aiming to effectively mitigate trauma’s multifaceted impacts.

Committed to both scholarly inquiry and practical application, we stand firm against the profound psychological burdens imposed by contemporary global adversities. Our dedication to bridging psychotherapy practice and empirical research underscores our unwavering commitment to addressing and alleviating the multifaceted impacts of trauma within our global community.

Head: Ass.-Prof. Dr. Erzsébet Fanni Tóth, e-mail

Selected Research Projects

Current submissions:

UNMASC
Uncovering Trauma-Driven Masculinities: An Innovative Analysis of Gender Roles to Promote Societal Dialogue for Countering Radical, Anti-Democratic Narratives in Europe

Ready for Horizon Europe!

The Institute for Transgenerational Trauma Transfer Research, headed by Ass. Prof. Dr. Erzsébet Fanni Tóth, is ready to take part in the coordination of a Horizon project with a duration of 4 years. The inter-faculty team of Sigmund Freud Private University submitted the UNMASC project (Uncovering Trauma-Driven Masculinities: An Innovative Analysis of Gender Roles to Promote Societal Dialogue for Countering Radical, Anti-Democratic Narratives in Europe) as lead partner of an international consortium of renowned research institutes, universities, academies of sciences and an artistic institution known for its participatory methods.

The partners from 12 different countries will analyse the research topic of the correlation between radicalisation and masculinity using mixed methods and applying a multidisciplinary, trauma-informed methodology based on psychotherapy, sociology, political science, law and artistic expression. UNMASC will provide evidence-based insights on trauma as risk factor on radicalisation in Central and Eastern Europe and besides relevant policy recommendations will design an innovative toolkit for critical change processes in the society.


Overview research projects: 



Learning for Peace (EU-Projekt; 12 Monate)

Learning for peace – trauma-informed oral history projects in the classroom (ERASMUS+)

At the end of 2023, the Institute for Transgenerational Trauma Transfer Research, headed by Ass. Prof. Dr Erzsébet Fanni Tóth, completed an Erasmus+ project focusing on methodological recommendations for oral history projects in trauma-informed innovative educational activities.

The overall aim of the “Learning for Peace” project was to integrate stories from the past into educational programmes through the implementation of oral history in order to enable teachers and students to take a more critical look at the historical past in order to better understand the present and its current social developments and restructuring.

Workshops

#outofthebox – new workshop series by the Institute for Transgenerational Trauma Transfer Research at SFU Vienna

In 2023, our institute has launched a new workshop series #outofthebox, which aims at becoming a critical lab for interdisciplinary topics at the boundaries of psychology, psychotherapy, law, media, literature, art and the world of tech developers. The basic idea on which this initiative is based on is that thinking and acting #outofthebox is a creative ability that is essential for facing the challenges and providing creative responses to the future. In our workshops, the participants have the opportunity to come into contact and work with well-known personalities from various fields of interest while thinking and acting #outofthebox. Join us for free in preparing for the future!


1. #outofthebox workshop – „Fear Bravely“ with Hesna Al Ghaoui

13th October 2023 | 10:00 – 12:30 | SFU Vienna, Freudplatz 1, room 1001

Hesna Al Ghaoui is a lawyer, war correspondent, fear-specialist and author of three books on trauma and emotions: „On the Land of Wars“ (about her experiences as a war correspondent), „Fear Bravely“ (about how to transform fear into fuel in our everyday life), and „Holli, the Hero“ (a children’s book, also about transforming fear into positive energy).

Learn more: https://www.sfu.ac.at/en/event/trauma-workshop-fear-bravely


2. #outofthebox workshop – Developing Attunement through the Experience of JOY and facing our Traumas

20th November 2023 | 10:00 – 13:00 | SFU Vienna, Freudplatz 3, Room 104

The workshop was led by Dr Virág Suhajda, person-centered therapist, metamorphosis folk tale therapist and psychodynamic dance and movement therapist. Dr Suhajda has been leading groups on similar topics for thirty years – for a long time as head of the Rogers Foundation for Person-Centered Education. In Austria, she works for the Gesellschaft für Sozialforschung und Bildung.

Learn more: https://www.sfu.ac.at/en/event/trauma-workshop-attunement-joy


3. #outofthebox workshop Exploring Identity Through Filmmaking with Klára Trencsényi, DLA

9th March 2024 | 10:00 – 14:00 | SFU Vienna, Freudplatz 3, Room 104

On March 9th, 2024, the Institute for Transgenerational Trauma Transfer Research (TTTR) at the Faculty of Psychotherapy Science, Sigmund Freud University, launched another round of its pioneering arts-based participatory filmmaking #outofthebox workshop. Led by the head of the TTTR Institute, Erzsébet Fanni Tóth and documentary filmmaker Klára Trencsényi, the initiative offers teenagers with migratory backgrounds an opportunity to develop video production, editing, and interviewing skills.

Learn More: “Exploring Identity Through Film”

Conferences

The head of the Institute for Transgenerational Trauma Transfer Research (TTTR), Erzsébet Fanni Tóth, organised a workshop at the Pedagogical Conference „Life is a Game – Adventure-based Conference (not only) for Teachers” in Komárom on 17 November 2022 on how to encourage children to explore their family’s past in the classroom.

Learn more in the programme description.


The Institute for Transgenerational Trauma Transfer Research (TTTR) participated in the Conference for Youth and Child Psychotherapy of the Pázmány Péter Catholic University in Budapest on April 1, 2023 by transferring methodological knowledge for the legitimation of the psychotherapy science

Learn more in the abstracts & programme description (PDF).

Third Mission

The Hungarian National Museum (Budapest) was the venue for a very special book presentation on February 26, 2024. The more than 600-page anthology “Magyar menyasszony” [Hungarian Bride] deals with the transformation of the concept of marriage in Hungary in the last 500 years.

The Institute for Transgenerational Trauma Transfer Research (TTTR) contributed to this analytical work with the paper “Deportált menyasszony” [Deported Bride] by Erzsébet Fanni Tóth, which analyzes the complex effects of transgenerational trauma caused by marriages obstructed through deportation during the WW2 and which was presented at the event by the head of our Institute.

Learn more about the topic in the summary of the book.

Internship | Traineeships

From Sept. 2022 to August 2023, Klára Trencsényi, a filmmaking student from the Hungarian University of Theatre and Film Arts SZFE, participated in the Erasmus+ Mobility Traineeship at SFU Vienna. Her practice-based research focussed on the transmission of collective memory through her documentary, “The Missing Tale (2022).” Together with her mentor Dr. Erzsébet Fanni Tóth (SFU), she researched how Hungarian teenagers in Austria perceive their family histories amidst post-Covid restrictions and Vienna’s integration policies.

Using participatory filmmaking methods inspired by notable projects like the National Film Board of Canada’s Challenge for Change, a workshop was held in October 2022. It targeted 12-to-15-year-olds, aiming to understand the influence of family structure changes, digital revolution, and the fading interaction with family memorabilia on memory transmission. The teenagers were encouraged to engage with their elderly family members, creating short films about their family stories. A third meeting in January 2023 showcased these projects and facilitated discussions about family histories and migration challenges.

Concluding the traineeship, elderly Eastern European migrants in Vienna were interviewed in spring 2023. As of October 2023, the research team is preparing a conference paper and seeking international funding to expand and share their innovative approach in participatory filmmaking.


My name is Nadin Kranicz-Jona, I am 14 years old and attend the Flora Fries educational campus in 1150 Vienna. It was a pleasure to do my internship with Dr. Erzsébet Fanni Tóth at SFU Vienna in September 2023. I have learned many new things, e.g. by doing research on Sophie Scholl, Anne Frank and Eva Heyman, reading & summarising an interesting book, and drafting a list of interview questions that will be used in the third-funded project “Arriving in the City“. Thank you!

Theses

Currently a range of BA, MA and doctoral theses on transgenerational trauma is written by our students. Below you find more info on a few selected ones: 

Manuel Kolanowitsch | BA Thesis on “Transgenerational stress disorders in grandchildren and great-grandchildren from World War II soldier families”

“My name is Manuel Kolanowitsch, I am 24 years old. I have been studying Psychotherapy at the Sigmund Freud University since 2020. I live and work in Austria. I am currently working on my bachelor thesis: it´s about Transgenerational stress disorders in grandchildren and great-grandchildren from World War II soldier families. This thesis is especially exciting because more and more people stumble over the topic of transgenerational disorders, and so, more people discover that they may have a transgenerational stress disorder. I think this will be a topic that will be more developed over the next years.”


Mag. Denis Mekolle | Doctoral Thesis

Denis Mekolle is a doctoral student in psychotherapy sciences at Sigmund Freud University Vienna and works under the supervision of Dr Toth. He studied psychology and educational sciences at Dschang University and the University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon. He also holds a master’s degree in psychotherapy sciences from Sigmund Freud University. Denis is interested in psychological trauma in the cultural context of interpersonal trauma recovery. In Cameroon’s ongoing conflict between nonstate armed groups and the regular army, he is working on the reintegration of former fighters, internally displaced persons (IDPs), women, and children exposed to traumatic events.

He is currently on a field trip in Cameroon, to meet with ex-combatants and discuss their lived experiences at their cantonment camps in the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration DDR Center in Buea, Southwest Region, in order to provide valuable resources for helping conflict-related trauma victims recreate stories that produce happy and vibrant relationships in post-conflict societies.

Events

Workshop | Experience mapping – exploring the healing power of places in health and transgenerational trauma
#outofthebox – new workshop series on trauma at SFU Vienna
24th April 2024, 10 am – 1 pm at SFU Vienna, Freudplatz 3, Room 318


Holocaust Literature and Ego Documents Conference
11th & 12th December 2023, Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Graz

In December 2023, Agnes Szekely participated at the international Holocaust Literature and Ego Documents Conference at Graz University and talked about the findings of the “Learning for Peace” research project.
Read more (PDF)


Workshop “Modes of Expression. Testimonies, Metaphors, and Music”
21st November 2023, Sigmund Freud Museum


Developing Attunement through the Experience of JOY and Facing Our Traumas
#outofthebox – new workshop series on trauma at SFU Vienna
20th November 2023, 10:00 – 13:00 | SFU Vienna, Freudplatz 3, Room 104


“Exploring Home and Alienation – Conversations on Children’s Literature, Trauma and Identity”
16th November 2023, University in Nitra, Slovakia, guest lecture by Erzsébet Fanni Tóth
Read more (PDF)


30th Anniversary Conference of the Kek Vonal Foundation
15th November 2023, Budapest, address by Erzsébet Fanni Tóth
Read more (PDF)

Pictures: Kék Vonal Gyermekkrízis Alapítvány | Facebook


Trauma Workshop „Fear Bravely“ with Hesna Al Ghaoui
#outofthebox – new workshop series on trauma at SFU Vienna
13th October 2023, 10 am, SFU Vienna
→ Workshop Report


7th Annual Conference of the Memory Studies Association
3 – 7 July 2023, Newcastle University

Contact

Ass.-Prof. Dr. Erzsébet Fanni Tóth
Mail: erzsebet.toth@sfu.ac.at