The clinical psychology and sexual medicine department focuses primarily on the areas of sexuality and couple relationships. In a tradition that has now spanned more than three decades, contributions were made to each of the three major groups of sexual disorders, sexual dysfunction, paraphilias and gender identity disorders. The focus was on (psychological and neurobiological) basic research as well as on a broad spectrum of clinical issues.
- Psycho-neuro-immunological and -endocrinological basic research on the psychobiology of healthy and disturbed sexual reactions
- Clinical research on new drug and psychotherapeutic therapy concepts for sexual dysfunction in men and women as well as on paraphilias / sexual delinquency and disorders of gender identity
- Research on the dysregulation of sexual impulse control (so-called 'sex addiction'), especially in the area of Internet use
- Other research focuses of our work area are - in accordance with the central clinical fields of activity - in psychotherapy research (process and outcome research, especially for inpatient psychotherapy) as well as in behavior therapy and behavior medicine research
Effective psychotherapeutic treatment methods already exist for the treatment of borderline personality disorder (BPD). In addition, drugs are used to treat certain symptoms or accompanying psychiatric illnesses. However, to date there is no form of drug therapy that has official approval for BPS.
In the clinical study 'Botulinum Toxin for the Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder', IncobotulinumtoxinA (colloquially 'Botox') is being tested as a new drug treatment method to improve the symptoms of BPD. This happens in comparison to an acupuncture treatment. Previous studies have shown that injecting botulinum toxin into the glabella region in the forehead area reduces the expression of negative emotions. As a result, one's own negative emotions are felt to be less pronounced. These observations are based on the 'facial feedback hypothesis', which is based on the assumption of an interplay between facial expressions and well-being. Accordingly, treating the forehead region can relieve symptoms, which in turn can have a positive effect on typical borderline behavior.
This project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
- Kruger THC, Magid M, Wollmer MA. Can Botulinum Toxin Help Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder? American Journal of Psychiatry 2016, 173(9): 940–941. DOI
- Stefanie Jung, M Axel Wollmer and Tillmann HC Kruger. The Hamburg Hannover Agitation Scale (H2A-Scale): Development and validation of a self-assessment tool for symptoms of agitation. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2015, 69: 158-165. DOI
- Sinke C, Wollmer MA, Kneer J, Kahl KG, Kruger THC. Interaction between behavioral inhibition and emotional processing in borderline personality disorder using a pictorial emotional go/no-go paradigm. Psychiatry Res. 2017 256: 286-289. DOI
The research association 'Neurobiological Foundations of Pedophilia and Sexual Abuse Behavior Against Children' (NeMUP), funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, examines mechanisms that can be the basis for child sexual abuse on the one hand and pedophile sexual preference on the other. We assume that there are at least partly different mechanisms for two different phenomena, because not every pedophile commits child sexual abuse and not every child abuse is motivated by a pedophile. Imaging, psychometric and physiological methods are used here. The special study design is intended to deepen the understanding of the distinction between sexual preference and sexual behavior in the three-year funding period. The results are to be used in the development and improvement of therapy and prevention strategies.
The locations of the association represent a network of leading medical-psychological research and care institutions for pedophile men as well as for sex offenders against children. The cooperation of outpatient clinical facilities from the prevention network 'Kein Täter werden' and institutions of the penal and penal system represents a worldwide unique constellation. Further information can be found here (official homepage of the research network).
- Kruger THC, Sinke Ch, Kneer J, Tenbergen G, Khan AQ, Burkert A, Müller-Engling L, Engler H, Gerwinn H, von Wurmb-Schwark N, Pohl A, Weiß S, Amelung T, Mohnke S, Massau C, Kärgel Ch, Walter M, Beier KM, Ponseti J, Schiffer B, Walter H, Jahn K and Frieling H. Child sexual offenders show prenatal and epigenetic alterations of the androgen system. Translational Psychiatry 2019, 9(1): 28. Epigenetik. DOI
- Kneer J, Borchardt V, Kärgel C, Sinke C, Massau C, Tenbergen G, Ponseti J, Walter H, Beier KM, Schiffer B, Schiltz K, Walter M, Kruger THC. Diminished fronto-limbic functional connectivity in child sexual offenders. J Psychiatric Research 2019, 108: 48–56. DOI
- Charlotte Gibbels, Christopher Sinke, Jonas Kneer, Till Amelung, Sebastian Mohnke, Klaus Michael Beier, Henrik Walter, Kolja Schiltz, Hannah Gerwinn, Alexander Pohl, Jorge Ponseti, Carina Foedisch, Inka Ristow, Martin Walter, Christian Kaergel, Claudia Massau, Boris Schiffer 8 and Tillmann H.C. Kruger 1,* Two Sides of One Coin: A Comparison of Clinical and Neurobiological Characteristics of Convicted and Non-Convicted Pedophilic Child Sexual Ofenders. J Clin Med 2019, 8, 947; doi:10.3390/jcm8070947. DOI
Hypersexuality is characterized by excessive sexual behavior that continues to get out of control and causes problems for patients and their relatives. There is still no uniformly recognized diagnosis for hypersexuality and there is a lack of basic data that would be necessary for a diagnostic classification. In order to reduce this data gap, the 'Sex@Brain Study' was initiated in the clinical psychology and sexual medicine department. The aim of this study is to examine the clinical, neuropsychological and neurobiological foundations of hypersexuality ('sex addiction'). A comprehensive characterization of men with excessive sexual behavior should be made. For this purpose, examinations are carried out using questionnaires, neuropsychological test procedures and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The findings are intended to improve the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders in the future
- Sinke Ch, J.Engel, M. Veit, U Hartman, T. Hillemacher, J.Kneer. Krüger THC. Sexual cues alter working memory performance and brain processing in men with compulsive sexual behavior disorder. NeuroImage: Clinical, available online 10 June 2020, 102308 fMRT. DOI
- Engel J, Veit M, Sinke C, Heitland I, Kneer J, Hillemacher T, Hartmann U, Kruger THC. Same Same but Different: A Clinical Characterization of Men with Hypersexual Disorder in the Sex@Brain Study. Journal of Clinical Medicine 2019 8 (2). pii: E157. doi: 10.3390/jcm8020157. DOI
- Engel J, Kessler A, Veit M, Sinke C, Heitland I, Kneer J, Hartmann U, Kruger THC. Hypersexual behavior in a large online sample: Individual characteristics and signs of coercive sexual behavior. J Behav Addict. 2019 8: 213-222. DOI
In the main research areas of the clinical psychology and sexual medicine department, there are various possibilities for doctoral and Bachelor and Master theses. On the one hand, certain questions can be assigned as dissertation topics within larger research projects, both in the basic scientific as well as in the clinical-therapeutic area. In addition, there is occasionally the opportunity to make the evaluation of existing data the subject of a doctoral thesis. In principle, interested doctoral students can also come to us with their own topic proposals - provided they fit into the research portfolio of the work area - to check whether the corresponding work is feasible. There are also opportunities for graduate theses for students of psychology (focus on clinical psychology).
Prof.Dr Florian Beissner, Institut für diagnostische und interventionelle Neuroradiologie
PD Dr. Cordula Schippert, Gynakologische Endokrinologie und Reproduktionmedizin
Prof. Dr. Matthias Karst, Klinik für Anästhesiologie und Intensivmedizin
Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie Charité Berlin,
Institut für Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualmedizin, Charité Berlin
Klinik für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychosomatische Medizin, Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg
- Institut für Sexualmedizin und Forensische Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universitätsklinikum Kiel
- Forensische Psychiatrie, LWL-Universitätsklinikum Bochum
- Informatik und Angewandte Kognitionswissenschaft,Universität Duisburg-Essen
- Klinik für Gerontopsychiatrie, Asklepios Kliniken Ochsenzoll, Hamburg
- Institut für Musikphysiologie und Musikermedizin, Hochschule für Musik, Theater und Medien Hannover
School of Health Sciences - Geneva, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland
The work area for clinical psychology and sexual medicine is equipped with modern computer technology and software (Presentation, e-Prime), which enable time-critical psychophysical experiments to be carried out on patients and healthy control subjects. In addition, the work area is equipped with a SKYRA 3T magnetic resonance tomograph (MRT). This enables us to create high-resolution recordings of brain activity when performing behavioral experiments (fMRI) and in a state of rest (rsMRI) as well as structural recordings and to compare them between test subject groups. In addition, the department is equipped with numerous psychological test procedures ("test library"), which are also used in clinical diagnosis and assessment procedures.
Research group members
Research group leader
Prof. Dr. med. Tillmann Krüger
Managing Senior Physician
Phone: +49 511 532 2407
Fax: +49 511 532 8407
Phone: +49 511 532 8791
- Sexualized violence
- Hypersexual disorder
Title of the doctoral thesis: official title: 'Die Untersuchung klinischer und neurobiologischer Mechanismen von Pädophilie und sexualisierter Gewalt gegen Kinder'
engl. translation: 'Investigation of clinical and neurobiological mechanisms of pedophilia and sexual violence against children.'
Phone: +49 511 532 2631
- Botulinum toxin
- Borderline personality disorder
Title of the doctoral thesis: official title: 'Neuronale Veränderungen nach Gabe von Botulinumtoxin A bei Patientinnen mit Borderline-Persönlichkeitsstörung'
engl. translation: 'Neuronal changes after administration of botulinum toxin A in female patients with borderline personality disorder.'
Phone:: +49 511 532 8867
Title of the master thesis: official title: 'Das Präventionsprojekt „Kein Täter werden“ - eine Therapieevaluation'
engl. translation: 'Prevention project "Kein Täter werden" - a therapy evaluation'
Phone: +49 511 532 19326
- Neuropsychological characterization of hypersexual disorder / compulsive sexual behavior
Position and Memberships:
- Research Travel Grant of the German Academic Exchange Service
- Leonardo-da-Vinci scholarship
- Currently in clinical training as a psychological psychotherapist (AVVM), sex therapist (LiSS)
Titele of the master thesis: official title: 'Untersuchungen zur Neuropsychologie und funktionellen Konnektivität mittels Nahinfrarotspektroskopie bei Patienten mit Amyotropher Lateralsklerose'
engl. translation: 'Studies of neuropsychology and functional connectivity using near-infrared spectroscopy in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.'
Phone: +49 511 532 2631
- MRI imaging and analyses, DFG- and SFN-funded project „Train the brain with music: Brain Plasticity and cognitive benefits induced by musical practice in elderly people in Germany and Switzerland”
- the bachelor thesis: Visual Behaviour on Natural Static Images in Patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa
- the master thesis No. 1: The relationship between Impaired Inhibition and Apathy in Patients with Schizophrenia – A Dynamic Causal Modelling Approach
- the master thesis No. 2: Rehabilitation and Reorganisation in Patients with Hemianopia & Validation of Electronic Visual Acuity (EVA) Measurement Against Standardised ETDRS Charts for Use in Retinal Disease
Excellence at one glance: Member of the PhD program: Systems Neuroscience
Topic of the MD thesis: official title: 'Identifizierung ätiopathologischer und klinischer Faktoren der Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder: Die iPGAD-Studie'
engl. translation: 'Identifying etiopathological and clinical factors of Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder: the iPGAD study.'
Topic of the MD thesis: Viewing time data as an indicator of sexual preference in pedophilia and child sexual abuse.