Researcher in philosophy and psychiatry
Focus: philosophy of psychiatry, enactivism, phenomenology, philosophical anthropology, affordances, qualitative research methods, cognitive neuroscience
My research is directed at a number of related questions. In the most general sense, I am interested in the human condition, and in how people make sense of the world, and how this can go astray. Psychiatry provides a good entry for addressing these questions. Even though many people suffer from a psychiatric disorder at some point in their lives, much is still unknown. What are psychiatric disorders exactly? When does a deviation amount to a disorder? Many heterogeneous factors seem to play a role in the development of psychiatric disorders. How do these factors relate? How are the experiences of patients for instance related to physiological processes, and to socio-cultural influences? Furthermore, I am interested in the existential dimension of psychiatry: how does the fact that people take a stance on themselves and their situation affect the occurrence and course of psychiatric disorders? With this existential dimension, values emerge in psychiatry. How do these values fit with psychiatry as a naturalist science?
I am currently a postdoc at The Berlin School of Mind and Brain (Humboldt University), where I am investigating the logic and limits of neuro-reductionism in psychiatry, as well as alternative views.
From 2011 to 2014, I conducted research at the Department of Psychiatry of the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam. I have investigated the changed experiences of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients following their treatment with Deep Brain Stimulation. For that, I have combined qualitative empirical research methods (in-depth interviews) with philosophical analysis and phenomenological theory.
From 2007 to 2011, I worked as a Marie Curie Fellow of the EU Research Training Network DISCOS (Disorders and Coherence of the Embodied Self), at the section Phenomenological Psychopathology and Psychotherapy, at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg. I interviewed first-admitted schizophrenic patients, using the EASE instrument (Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience), to investigate both their current experiences as well as the changes they experienced before they had a psychotic episode.
My background is in philosophy (PhD (magna cum laude) at the University of Heidelberg; MA (cum laude) & BA (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam) and existential humanistic counselling (BA (cum laude) at the University for Humanistics in Utrecht).