The Institute for Social Aesthetics and Mental Health is an interfaculty institute at the Sigmund Freud Private University (SFU) for students of psychotherapy science, psychology, health sciences, medicine and jurisprudence, and is directly subordinate to the rectorate.
Research and teaching activities at the institute focus on social aesthetics in general and on the link with mental health in particular. Social aesthetics is a discipline that belongs to the human sciences and which developed from the Aesthetics of Everyday Life (Light & Smith 2005*) and New Ecological Aesthetics (Böhme 1995*).
In accordance with the WHO definition published in 1947 mental health is understood not merely as the absence of mental illness, but as a state of complete mental well-being in which an individual is able to live a largely self-determined and autonomous life that is experienced as joyful (Musalek 2013*).
The main tasks of the Institute for Social Aesthetics and Mental Health are therefore the study and teaching of concepts and models of mental health as well as practical possibilities for achieving it from a social aesthetics perspective, whereby social aesthetics in this context goes far beyond superficial aspects of beauty and attractiveness to embrace all areas in which depth-aesthetics (Welsch 1996*) are involved with achieving and maintaining mental health (“aesthetics beyond aesthetics”).