This film has been produced in ENGLISH, SPANISH and GERMAN and are all available on the IPA YouTube channel.

Synopsis of the Film "Introduction to Psychoanalysis" with Prof. Otto F. Kernberg

Based on an idea by Dr. Peter Zagermann and authored by Prof. Otto F. Kernberg, an approximately one-hour documentary film "Introduction to Psychoanalysis" was produced in German, English, and Spanish, the intention of which is to provide a kind of profile of psychoanalysis; the film is to be used worldwide where basic information about psychoanalysis is needed. In particular, our goal is to reach the young intellectual generation that is currently standing at the threshold of their training and career and from which future potential psychoanalysts may be recruited. The purpose is not to promote any particular psychoanalytic school of thought, but rather to provide the basic information on the essentials of psychoanalysis.

Prof. Kernberg is the Director of the Personality Disorders Institute, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Westchester Division; Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Training and Supervising Analyst, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.


Dr. Zagermann is a psychoanalyst for children, adolescents and adults and a full member of the German Psychoanalytic Association with a private practice in Munich, Germany.


Following an "Introduction" in which Prof. Kernberg introduces himself, the five chapters of the film cover the thematic spectrum of the fields in which psychoanalysis happens: In the opening chapter entitled "Cases" three exemplary cases show the typical problems of depressive, compulsive-obsessive, and oedipal disorders. These cases provide the material Kernberg keeps referring to during his excursion. The next chapter, dedicated to "The dynamic nature of the mind" presents what Freud had discovered and described as the fundamental functioning principles of mental life. In the third chapter "Brain and mind" Kernberg is trying to identify how these basic principles articulate themselves in relationship to modern neurobiology. Chapter four "Structural development of the mind – forms of mental disorders" goes on to demonstrate the models which psychoanalysis today has formed about the genetic development of mental life, and on the one hand describes the structures in which this development results, on the other hand the typical forms of disorders which result when this development is damaged or blocked at one point or another. The final chapter "Treatment and research –  areas of application and healthy personality“ deals, as the title already suggests, with the principles of psychoanalytic treatment technique and with the proof of effectiveness of psychoanalysis in current comparative psychotherapy research, then turning to the importance of psychoanalysis in the cultural space of the 20th and 21st centuries, closing with an outlook on what psychoanalysis has to contribute on the description of the healthy personality and the creative processes.

The publication of this film was made possible thanks to a grant funded by the "Stiftung zur Förderung der universitären Psychoanalyse".