MA.POS – MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies

University certificate programme

MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies

The Unconscious at School – Freud goes education

As well as describing the psychodynamics of the individual, with psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud himself also represented an approach based on the theory of learning, casting a light upon the importance of emotions and the relationship between teachers and learners. Working in cooperation with the Vienna Psychoanalytic Academy, the key focus area of the IUS “Psychoanalytic Pedagogics of the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt” offers a postgraduate university certificate programme culminating in the academic degree Master of Arts (MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies), where participants address leadership and learning processes from the psychoanalytic point of view.

The psychoanalytic attitude to be pursued bears the distinctive feature of openness in the perception, reflection and configuration of interpersonal processes. Human experience and behaviour is governed by conscious and overwhelmingly by unconscious motives, desires, hopes, and fears. The unconscious processes thus not only elude perception, but also conscious control. This, in turn, increases their efficacy and their influence upon our daily lives. Psychoanalysis has demonstrated that the development of awareness and the processing of unconscious conflicts can promote healing and/or change. In a similar way, unconscious processes occurring in groups and organisations can be made visible and can be transformed. Hidden below the visible surface, they have an influence on the professional practice, on creativity, and on configuration options.

Working with the Vienna Psychoanalytic Academy, the IUS runs a university certificate programme with a duration of six semesters, which is the only of its kind in the German-speaking area, due to its unique design. The focus of attention is on the psychodynamics of the individual, of the group, and of the organisation. In terms of its concept, the university certificate programme “MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies” is firmly rooted in the tradition of the Tavistock Institute in London.

The understanding of the early, archaic emotions, dependence, the longing for security and love, as well as fear of being lost, represent the basis of personality development. The reflection of practical experiences allows individuals to perceive these deeper layers of the personality, both their own and those of others, and to limit their disruptive influence, while also using their productive and creative potential.

The university certificate programme “MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies” is targeted at psychotherapists, teachers, counsellors, and managers in educational and psychosocial fields of work. It combines state-of-the-art inputs with psychoanalytic concepts of experiential learning. Using the example of current issues drawn from daily working life, specific manifestations of the unconscious are made visible, and options for dealing with them in a productive manner are developed. Small seminars on psychoanalytic observation are used to carefully reflect interactions in the family, the peer group, and in organisations. As a result of simultaneously addressing their own role, participants gain greater sensitivity for unconscious communication processes in teams and organisations.

Particularly in situations of crisis and stress, it is important to promote rational planning and decision patterns, bringing dysfunctional and irrational processes into the light and thus making them controllable. A broader understanding of the interplay between conscious and unconscious processes between the individual, the group, and the organisation, provides participants with the opportunity to better comprehend their own motives, as well as those of their colleagues. Conflicts can be resolved, and creative solutions can be identified.


  1. Theories regarding the emotional aspects of personality development and the understanding and configuration of relationships, as well as the dynamic processes in organisations
  2. Psychoanalytic-oriented observation following the Tavistock Method
    • Observation of the interaction of children in the peer group
    • Observation of the formation of the parent-infant relationship in the family
    • Observation of the conscious and unconscious ongoing processes in organisations
  3. Group reflection of practice Application of the learned competencies in the professional situation and reflection of the individual professional practices


  • Learn to perceive and describe social processes in groups and organisations
  • Use the method of psychoanalytic observation to comprehend the latent and manifest significance of processes of interaction
  • Further develop the capability to perform a nuanced assessment of group- and psychodynamic processes
  • Learn to contemplate the strengths and weaknesses of the own personality
  • Develop an understanding of the emotional situation of learners or of clients and their phantasies, hopes, desires, and fears
  • Encourage the fundamental attitude of creativity and inquisitiveness and learn to address challenges in a constructive manner

Information and Registration

Institut für Unterrichts- und Schulentwicklung (IUS)
Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
Stefanie Hesse

Schottenfeldgasse 29/1/4
1070 Wien
+43 (0)1 522 4000 361


Cooperation Partners