Portrait of WSG member Prof. Dr. Gernot Schiefer from Saarbrücken

Prof. Dr. Gernot Schiefer was born in 1964 in Düsseldorf. He began studying psychology in Cologne in 1983 and concentrated his studies on Wilhelm Salber morphology. After graduating in 1991, he went to Saarbrücken to work for a management consulting firm, where he worked for two years in the area of personnel development and consulting. He then worked as a freelancer for Prof. Dr. Melchers at IFM Freiburg. In 1995 he founded ProSpector® Marketing Consulting with a partner and in the following approx. 17 years numerous morphological market research projects and personnel concepts were developed and implemented.

At the same time, Gernot Schiefer completed a psychoanalytic training in addition to several coaching trainings. He has been a practicing psychoanalyst (DPG) since 2003 and an IPV member since 2008.

In 2006, he received his doctorate from Prof. Dr. Lutz von Rosenstiel (LMU Munich) and Prof. Dr. Dieter Witt (TU Munich) with a morphological thesis on the unconscious motivational structure of blood donation. In 2012, he was appointed Professor of Business Psychology, Marketing and Human Resources at the FOM University of Applied Sciences. Together with three colleagues, he developed two new degree programs in business psychology (Bachelor and Master), which are now the largest in Germany with approximately 11,000 enrolled students. In 2020, he and a colleague at the university founded a Competence Center for Qualitative Research (KCQF), which specifically strives to establish and disseminate qualitative research at the university.

Gernot Schiefer has been with his wife for 32 years and they have two grown-up children. In his spare time, he regularly goes on extended motorcycle trips and has been practicing karate for over 20 years.

Professor Schiefer, what do you wish for the future of the WSG?
I wish two things for the WSG: First, that the WSG becomes something like a familiar place for as many morphological psychologists as possible all over the world. Especially for morphologists who do not live in Cologne or Berlin, the WSG is a nice possibility to find more connections to their own psychological background. Secondly, I hope that the WSG will provide a growing platform for people interested in morphology and that it will work for the expansion of morphological ways of thinking.

Which area or phenomenon of human life should be morphologically investigated?
There is an immense variety of phenomena that have already been studied morphologically. Therefore I would like to emphasize something else: The specific way of seeing, questioning and, above all, thinking. This specific way of thinking is of central importance to me, especially in scientific discourse at the university. What is needed here is continuous support and the elaboration of the special methodological-scientific approaches of morphology.

Through which points of contact did you get to know the psychological morphology?
In high school Axel Dahm was a grade above me and studied psychology in Cologne a year before me. We had no contact at school - we belonged to very opposite subcultures - but he gave a lecture in my 13th grade sociology class about his experiences of studying psychology in Cologne. I was fascinated by what he told about an approach completely unknown to me and its creator Wilhelm Salber. I realized in this lesson that I want to learn (much) more about this fascinating approach and that I have to go exactly there.
In my studies I quickly became enthusiastic about Wilhelm Salber's morphological psychology and saw myself as a student of his. After my undergraduate degree, I got a job with Salber as a student assistant and was able to do a small event with undergraduate students each semester. That further solidified that identification process.

Which psychological book do you use from time to time?
Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy is for me a constantly exciting text that confronts me with crazy transformations and violent images that Dante encounters on his journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. As a journey into our own inner selves, I can always connect Dante with a wide variety of morphological and psychoanalytical concepts (death drive, repetition compulsion, need for punishment, psychotic core, eternal circular movements and yet hope for a transforming change, and many more).
The second book I can mention here is Freud's Interpretation of Dreams. I regularly use this text to develop examples from it for my lectures and to show my students a different view of mental productions.

Which country would you like to travel to one day?
I have a great fascination for the countries of southern Africa and hope to travel there again soon after the pandemic. A more distant idea is a motorcycle trip to the Japanese islands.

Gestalt and transformation is the central primordial phenomenon of psychological morphology: into whom or what would you like to transform yourself for a day?
In retrospect, I have already lived in very different guises in my life and continue to do so to some extent in parallel: market researcher, entrepreneur, psychoanalyst, scientist, karateka and others.
One "impossible" wish is to transform into a woman and perceive the world through her feminine eyes for a day.