Institute for Psychsocial Prevention

Institute for Psychsocial Prevention

Institute for Psychosocial Prevention

A brief profile

The Clinic offers preventive interventions and treatments aimed at improving mental health that focus on enhancing mentalization, which refers to people’s capacity to think about mental states.

The counseling and therapy in the outpatient clinic is directed at families in various difficult situations, for each of which specialized consultation hours are offered. In the parent-infant arm, a counseling and therapy service is provided for parents with children between 0 and 3 years whose children show regulatory disorders (e.g., sleep problems, excessive crying) as part of a program of stepped care. Adolescent consultation is aimed at 12-18 year olds who have violated the law or displayed aggressive behavior in their families. Consultation is also being set up for parents with high psychosocial distress, which takes place as part of a combination of individual and group therapy according to the concept of mentalization-based therapy “Lighthouse©”.

Additionally, we pursue research in multiple domains. In the field of attachment-based developmental psychopathology, we conduct studies that investigate the development of deviations in experience and behavior under stressful psychosocial conditions. We develop and evaluate mentalization-based prevention and intervention programs that promote the development and maintenance of mental health. We examine the competence development of health care professionals as a critical interface to a successful implementation of psychosocial prevention and intervention.

At the Center for Psychotherapy Research (FOST), an independent research group is currently investigating quality assurance measures for psychotherapy and media options in psychotherapy and health services research, an innovative concepts for long-term care and relapse prevention with a special focus on eating disorders.

Prof. Dr. Svenja Taubner

Medical Director

Portrait of Prof. Dr. Svenja Taubner


Im Neuenheimer Feld 400
69120 Heidelberg

Set of specification

© Getty Images

core competencies and disease focuses

  1. Focused Parent-Infant Psychotherapy
  2. Mentalization-based treatment for adolescents with externalizing behavior problems
  3. Lighthouse parenting program
  4. Mentalization skills for mental health professionals
  5. START childcare – mentalization-based day care in nuseries


Research groups with international expertise

Svenja Taubner’s lab: The lab concentrates on studying the influence of mentalization and attachment on the experience, behavior and health over the lifespan and in change processes, whilst developing programs of prevention and intervention.

Center for Psychotherapy Research (FOST): The current research program of the FOST focuses on the areas of psychotherapy and health services research as well as e-mental health.

Research focuses

  • Mentalization-based prevention and intervention
  • E-mental health and quality control
  • Competence development in healthcare professionals
  • Attachment-based developmental psychopathology

Ongoing studies with international relevance

  • Mentalization-Based Training for Conduct Disorders (MBT-SSV)
  • Competences for mentalizing in early care
  • Understanding and breaking the intergenerational circle of abuse

Publications with international reach

Talia, A., Muzi, L., Lingiardi, V., Taubner, S. (2018). How to be a secure base: therapists' attachment representations and their link to attunement in psychotherapy. Attachment and Human development.
Talia, A., Miller-Bottome, M. Katznelson, H., Pedersen, S. H., Steele, H., Schröder, P., …, Taubner, S. (2018). Mentalizing in the presence of another: Measuring Reflective functioning and Attachment in the therapeutic Process. Psychotherapy research.

Miller­Bottome, M., Talia, A., Safran, J. D., Muran, C. (2017) Resolving Alliance Ruptures from an Attachment-Informed Perspective. Psychoanalytic Psychology.

Talia, A., Miller­‐Bottome, M., Daniel, S. I. F. (2017). Assessing Attachment in Psychotherapy: Validation of the Patient Attachment Coding System (PACS). Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy.

Taubner, S., Zimmermann, L., Ramberg, A. & Schröder, P. (2016). Do mentalization and attachment mediate the relation between childhood maltreatment and adolescent potential for violence? Psychopathology, 49,4.

Taubner, S., Zimmermann, J., Kächele, H., Möller, H. & Sell, C. (2013). The Relationship of Introject Affiliation and Personal Therapy to Trainee Self-Efficacy: A Longitudinal Study among Psychotherapy Trainees. Psychotherapy 50(2), 167-177.

Volkert, J., Andreas, S. Dehoust, M.C., Sehner, S., Drabik, A., Wegscheider, K., Ausìn, B., Canuto, A., Crawford, M., Da Ronch, C., Grassi, L., Hershkovitz, Y., Muñoz, M., Quirk, A., Rotenstein, O., Santos-Olmo, A.-B., Shalev, A., Weber, K., Wittchen, H.-U., Härter, M., Schulz, H. (2017). Predisposing, enabling and need factors of service utilization in the elderly with mental health problems. International Psychogeriatrics.

Volkert, J., Härter, M., Dehoust, M.C., Schulz, H., Sehner, S., Drabik, A., Wegscheider, K., Ausìn, B., Canuto, A., Crawford, M., Da Ronch, C., Grassi, L., Hershkovitz, Y., Muñoz, M., Quirk, A., Rotenstein, O., Santos-Olmo, A.-B., Shalev, A., Strehle, J., Weber, K., Wittchen, H.-U., Andreas, S. (2017). Study approach and fieldwork procedures of the MentDis_ICF65 project on the prevalence of mental disorders in the elderly European population. BMC Psychiatry.

Volkert, J., Härter, M., Dehoust, M.C., Ausìn, B., Canuto, A., Da Ronch, C., Drabik, A., Grassi, L., Muñoz, M., Santos-Olmo, A.-B., Sehner, S., Weber, K., Wegscheider, K., Wittchen H.-U., Schulz, M., Härter, M., Andreas, S. (2017). The role of meaning in life in community-dwelling European elderly with depression and relationship to other risk factors. Aging & Mental Health

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