Kliniken &… Kliniken Zentrum für… Klinik für Allgemeine… Über uns Sektionen Phänomenologie Forschung Gastwissenschaftler/-in…


The aim of my project is to gain a better understanding and intervention of existential crises in clinical situation through Karl Jasper's Existenz philosophy.

Biographical information:

I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Analytical Psychology. After undergoing extensive training, I became a psychotherapist with a psychodynamic orientation. I am registered as a licensed psychologist with both the Chinese Psychological Association and the Chinese National Health Commission. Currently, I am doing my Ph.D. research in the philosophy realm, dedicated to using philosophy to supplement the insufficiency of psychology in helping patients with mental health problems.

Research interests: existential crisis, Existenz philosophy, phenomenological psychopathology,

Email: yu.chunyun.psy(at)gmail.com 


The research aims to investigate Hikikomori syndrome from a phenomenological, existential perspective. Hikikomori are, for the most part, young people who choose to withdraw from the world and become invisible to society. They segregate themselves in their homes or rooms, rejecting any social situation or relationship. Despite withdrawing from real-world interactions, they often develop a virtual social life. Originating in Japan but spreading alarmingly, especially in Western countries, this phenomenon challenges traditional psychiatric categorizations, leading to ongoing debates about its nature. Drawing from phenomenological psychopathology, the research aims to shed light on the lived experience of Hikikomori, their specific configuration of 'being in the world', focusing on dimensions such as embodiment, intersubjectivity, and vulnerability. Additionally, the research intends to initiate a dialogue between phenomenological psychopathology, political philosophy, and social critique, developing the hypothesis that Hikikomori syndrome is closely linked to the individualistic model through which inhabitants of contemporary capitalist society conceive themselves.

Biographical information:

I completed my master’s degree in Philosophical Sciences at the University of Milan. Thanks to the 'Thesis Abroad' grant, I had the opportunity to work on my master’s thesis at KU Leuven under the supervision of Dr. Bizzari. The thesis is entitled 'Beyond the Crisis of the Individual: Post-Pandemic Reflections on Individualism, Intersubjectivity, and the Body'. I am a member of the editorial board of the Italian journal 'I Quaderni della Ginestra', and I am enrolled in a postgraduate course at the University of Florence, titled ‘Philosophy in Practice’. I am currently working on my research project on Hikikomori Syndrome at the University Clinic of Heidelberg.

Research interests: Phenomenological psychopathology, phenomenology of medical care; critical theory of society and political philosophy, with a focus on individualism and ethics of care.

Email: aliceparenti.96(at)gmail.com 

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This project explores from a phenomenological-enactive approach the significant yet often overlooked role of imagination in suffering across psychopathologies. The central thesis centers on autopoiesis, affectivity, and corporeality. Autopoiesis, driven by emotional affectivity, comports the organisms towards self-organization regarding their specific environment. Humans may spontaneously retreat into imaginary realms when external expression of affective states is constrained, serving as intentional expressions of unarticulated ‘cares’ projected into quasi-reality. In terms of psychopathology, then, this project explores the hypothesis that imagination manifests itself as compensatory moments of autopoiesis, wherein the imaginary dimension, to varying degrees, sheds its inherent ‘as-if’ quality and becomes integrated into the context of reality. Consequently, numerous psychopathological conditions featuring an imaginative component contribute to disturbances in intersubjectivity. The psychopathology of imagination fundamentally revolves around an intolerance for ambiguity. Individuals experiencing such psychopathological states often exhibit symptoms indicative of a diminished primordial ‘belief’ in the world – such as explicated by Merleau-Ponty’s notion of perceptual faith – undermining the distinction between reality and imagination. This implies that certain psychopathological subjects struggle to organize themselves ‘normatively’ in response to these uncertainties. Imagination may serve as an autopoietic mechanism for these individuals to compensate for this inability and to reshape their life-world in pursuit of absolute certainty. Regrettably, this frequently results in an agitated and solitary existence, exemplified, for instance, in the structure of delusional systems.

Biographical information:

After completing two bachelor degrees at KU Leuven in Human Physiology/Movement Science and Philosophy, I pursued a master's degree at the same institution, focusing my thesis on the neurophenomenology of dreams. Following this, I moved to Heidelberg to further advance my research into wakeful imagination.

Research interests: My primarily fields of interest include phenomenology, with special attention to Merleau-Ponty; German philosophical Anthropology; and enactive approaches to neurocognitive science. Against the backdrop of these theoretical fields, my primary topics of interest include the embodiment of consciousness, with special attention to acts of imagination.

Email: wouter-van-dun(at)hotmail.com 


The aim of the project is twofold: the development of a theoretical model of alternate states of consciousness (ASCs) based on a neuro-ecological perspective and the application of the model to explain and understand three specific kinds of non-ordinary experiences: shamanism, near-death-experiences, and possession experiences. Current research on ASCs is dominated by a cognitivist perspective. The neuro-ecological perspective is based on what I refer to as the revolution in the neuroscience of consciousness that is based on research in neurophenomenology, embodied and enacted perspectives and neuroanthropology. As an emerging transdisciplinary perspective it seeks to redescribe ASCs on the basis of a redefined concept of consciousness emerging from the embodied neuroscientific perspective.

Biographical information:

I am teaching at the University of South Africa in Biblical and Ancient Studies. I started my career with research on the historical Jesus and wrote a book on Jesus of Nazareth as shamanic figure ( The Life of a Galilean Shaman: Jesus of Nazareth in Anthropological-Historical Perspective. Eugene (OR): Cascade, 2008). The study of shamanism led to research in religious experiences and alternate states of consciousness. The investigation into the neuroscience of consciousness resulted in a book manuscript that is to appear in 2024 (The fabric(ation) of consciousness: A neuro-ecological perspective. Cape Town: Aosis, 2024).

Research interests: religious experiences, neuroscience of consciousness, alternate states of consciousness, non-ordinary experiences

Email: pfcraffert(at)gmail.com 

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Bader, Oren, Dr. phil. Tel Aviv, Israel

Barile, Emilia, Dr. phil., Mailand, Italien

Bartolomei, Giuseppe, Turin, Italien

Bizzari, Valeria, Dr. phil., Pisa/Mailand, Italien 

Buritica, Andres, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Dibitonto, Daria, Prof. Dr. phil., Universität Ostpiemont, Italien

Finn, Mike, Knoxville, TN, USA

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