What is the ILMSR?

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The „International Laboratory for Mental Space Research“ (ILMSR) was founded in 2003. Its aim is to bring together some recent insights from cognitive linguistics, psychotherapeutic practice and cultural history studies in order to provide:

  1. a sound theoretical underpinning of psychotherapeutic change work,
  2. a deepened understanding of individual, social and cultural phenomena from a sensory-based viewpoint of subjective experience and
  3. innovative models for intervention-oriented change work in the realms of personal development, psychotherapy and socio-cultural processes.

Lucas A. C. Derks is a social psychologist living in Nijmegen (Netherlands) who defines his clinical work as field experimentation. He aims to discover patterns in social experience and the mechanisms of unconscious social cognition. From 1993 onwards this resulted in the so-called Social Panorama model: a tool to analyze and change human relationships on the basis of their imagined spatial characteristics. This work is summarized by the formula: Relation = Location. This means that the experienced emotional quality of a relationship is governed by the position in mental space where the image of a person or a group is sensed. Changes are brought about with suggestive NLP-like techniques. The model works for improving social attitudes, dealing with power, intergroup conflicts, intimate relations and issues with self-confidence and identity. Links exist to social cognition theory, hypnotherapy and NLP. For Derks the connection between subjective experience and neurological processes constantly underlies his work.

Wolfgang Walker is a clinical psychologist working in Berlin (Germany). He has wide-ranging experience in psychotherapeutic work with psychiatric clients. He develops process-oriented and sensory-based diagnostics models (symptom modelling) that are designed to explain both normal and deviant modes of subjective experience. These diagnostic tools also integrate fundamental insights from developmental psychology, attachment theory and paranormal research. He is engaged in generating advanced methods of sensory-based change work that can be stringently deduced from those models. His goal is to streamline psychotherapeutic practice into a coherent system of sensory-based diagnostics and change work and to expand the scope of NLP-based psychotherapy to severe psychiatric conditions.

Walter Otto Oetsch is a professor for economics and cultural history at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz (Austria). He explores the cultural history of basic categories like space, time, object and subject in Western history, ranging from ancient Greece over the Middle Ages up to the present. During those periods these fundamental categories of organizing perception and thought underwent significant changes that also altered the modes of subjective experience of individuals. Three millennia of cultural development have led to profound shifts in the border between what is perceived as the inner and the outer world. Phenomena that were generally regarded as stemming from the outer world (e.g. being possessed by an „outer“ demon) later became collectively understood as something happening within a person (e.g. as a psychodynamic process). Beside these primordial categories of organizing experience, Oetsch also tries to unravel modern concepts in politics and economy. Recently he showed how the concept of “the market“ – falsely understood as an uncontrollable force – has led us into the current economic crisis.

Our shared interests are:

  1. We are studying structural patterns of subjective experience on a sensory-based level.
  2. We explore the underlying – usually subconscious – mental processes that govern human perception, thought and emotion.
  3. Deriving from that we, try to enhance our insight into the psychology of individuals and groups  as  well as into the historical development of cultures.
  4. Our goal is to enhance the concepts and tools that can help to improve the well-being of individuals (e.g. overcoming undesired experiences) and society at large (e.g. getting out of the current economic crisis).

Our basic assumption:

Nearly all perceptive, cognitive and emotional processes are performed in what we have come to know as mental space.  The spatial configuration of generalizing mental representations has a dominant impact on perception, emotion, thought and behavior.  Modifying these spatial structures turns out to be the key to profound change.

Our most explored examples for that hypothesis are the spatial structures underlying the representation of time, self and social relations.

Our mode of collaboration

ILMSR research projects are conducted beyond the needs of both the academic world and the commercialized market of trainings. Besides the basic need to earn our living, we choose to cross-fertilize and share our knowledge for the good of mankind.

We invite you to join us on our journey!