Institute Activities I: Scientific Events and Courses

Congresses, conferences, lectures, seminars, research workshops for psychologists, psychotherapists and doctors on the theoretical foundations and practical areas of application of social aesthetics; the supervision of Bachelor’s and Master’s theses as well as doctoral theses and habilitations, scientific publications, media presence (professional media, print media, film and sound media), internet presence.

Institute Activities II: Clinical Practice (Theory goes Practice)

In cooperation with the Anton Proksch Institute (the largest specialist addiction clinic in Europe), a treatment programme based on social aesthetics, namely the Orpheus Programme, has already been established. In addition to the classic psychiatric and psychotherapeutic rehabilitation measures, one of which is psychotherapeutic resource activation, the Orpheus Programme seeks above all to activate and re-implement the patient’s aesthetic resources, because beauty and the aesthetic have a therapeutic dimension (Musalek 2010). Beauty reveals truth and goodness (Plato), it shows the harmonious order and the glory of things (Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite), it is one of the transcendental names of God (Thomas of Aquinas), in Beauty the world appears in its perfection (Baumgarten), Beauty is the daughter of freedom (Schiller), it offers a temporary escape from the suffering of existence (Schopenhauer), aesthetic values are the only values that withstand nihilism and the meaninglessness of existence and are thus the actual stimulus of life (Nietzsche), the Beautiful is the sensual appearance of the idea (Hegel), Beauty is an anti-depressant and weckamin of being, it tears people out of their forgetfulness of Being (Heidegger), there is a close relationship between the shining forth of the Beautiful and the evidentness of the Understandable (Gadamer), in an artwork and through the aesthetic attitude the Other, Foreign, the non-identical that is mangled and mutilated in the administered world is preserved and saved (Adorno), art is the anticipation of a better and different world (Bloch). Beauty, and many more positive affirmative descriptions from the tradition of philosophical aesthetics could be cited, is thus the phenomenon that becomes possible when an individual reorganises and reorients his/her life, as the Anton Proksch Institute’s Orpheus Programme quite clearly and explicitly shows.

With the help of the individual Orpheus modules (e.g. choir and music projects, cinema therapy, the philosophy of the art of life, chi gong, tai chi and clinical gardening groups to experience enjoyment and “Genuß”, body awareness, sensory enhancement, mindfulness-based modules), it should become possible for patients to discover a beautiful and joyful life again or for the first time. A healthy life is a very important therapeutic goal, but especially where addictions are concerned, the challenge is to move from a healthy to a beautiful life, because only the latter constitutes a sustainable form of treatment and prevention. The studies carried out to evaluate the Orpheus Programme show quite clearly that as soon as attractive treatment programmes are implemented in practice, not only does patient compliance improve, but drop-out rates and rates of relapse can be significantly reduced and the effects of treatment sustainably increased.