Stijn Vanheule

     Stijn Vanheule


What is your main driver for doing research?

I have a passion for psychoanalysis and a strong concern for the kind of support and therapy the most vulnerable in our society obtain. In my research I aim, on the one hand, at articulating and discussing key psychoanalytic ideas in detail, focussing on Lacanian psychoanalysis. On the other hand I’m most interested in critical and clinical research on recovery of severe mental illness, psychosis in particular, and on how diagnostic and therapeutic practices and societal dynamics affect recovery.

Why do you believe that strengthening mental health is so important?

With Jacques Lacan I assume that madness is the ultimate expression of human freedom and human lack. The way in which we deal with madness, individually and collectively, reflects key attitudes towards our existential vulnerability. These attitudes should always again be questioned and discussed, such that those who suffer are not forced in a format but supported in how they deal with freedom, lack and power.

How could research change the world?

Research already changes to world, but not always for the better. Research is never free from value judgements; just like is the case for other societal practices. Research should above all stimulate critical discussion, such that the values of science are never presented as ultimate truths, but as an impetus for debate. Only then, it might help shaping the world in ways we can be proud of.

With whom outside academia did you already collaborate and achieved important results?

I aim at collaborating with professionals, experts by experience and students in the field of severe mental illness, starting from the ideas articulated above. I give lectures, actively support innovation projects, give supervision, support online platforms (e.g., collaborate in governing boards and write papers and columns for broader audiences. I’m not so fond of advertising presumed results of such collaborations. Ask those who collaborate(d) with me for advice on this topic.



Related content