Prof. Dr. Sven Barnow

Prof. Dr. Sven ­ Barnow [‚úď]

Principal Investigator -  Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy



Room: A104
Hauptstraße 49
69117 Heidelberg

Research profile Prof. Barnow

My research group has been examining the topic of emotion regulation and how emotion regulation processes influence psychopathology or rather wellbeing (inter alia Barnow, 2012, 2014; Overview: Barnow, 2020 and Barnow, Puessner, Schulze, 2020). One aim of our research group is to optimize the measurement of emotion regulation processes and at the same time to understand the mechanisms by which emotion regulation influences mental health. Therefore, we work with some of the most respected scientists nationally and internationally and have developed our own app (EmoTrack) with which we can record emotional experience and regulation directly during everyday life.

Summing up, we are interested in following central questions:

1.       How do individuals regulate their emotions?

2.       Which mechanisms moderate the relationship between emotion regulation and psychopathology or rather wellbeing?

3.       How can emotion regulation processes be measured? (focus on outpatient assessment)

4.       How do cognition and emotion cooperate and what is the significance of emotion regulation?

5.       What is flexible emotion regulation?

6.       What effects does a training of flexible emotion regulation have on mental health?

These and other questions were implemented through various research projects, including the prospective Greifswald family study, (3 measurement times over the course of 10 years), experimental studies on affective dysregulation in borderline disorder (both funded by the DFG) and the collaborative project CANSAS (BMBF) as well as the excellence project on depression. The results of these studies are displayed in numerous publications (see publications for a selection and Barnow, S. (published 2020). Manual Emotion Regulation: Between Mental Health and Psychopathology (Handbuch Emotionsregulation: Zwischen psychischer Gesundheit und Psychopathologie) Link , E-Book: .)

In conclusion, we were able to show that emotion regulation processes are not only associated with psychopathology and wellbeing, but that the flexibility of regulation is particularly important. Furthermore, our findings suggest that the frequency of application of certain emotion regulation strategies is directly related to later psychopathology. However, it is important to consider the respective context. Based on these findings we developed the group training ‚ÄúEmotions under control‚ÄĚ (Barnow, 2017 and Barnow, Reinelt, Sauer, 2016), which we also conduct in our outpatient clinic (see the outpatient website: The training manual is currently being thoroughly revised and the new edition will be available at the end of 2023.

Recently I finished working on the book ‚ÄúWhat makes a successful life? Wisdom of stoics and modern research on happiness and emotion regulation‚ÄĚ (Was macht ein gelungenes Leben aus? Weisheiten der Stoiker und moderne Forschung zu Gl√ľck und Emotionsregulation). It will be published by Springer Nature Verlag at the end of the year.

Recent courses

Below you find a list of courses I am going to teach this semester (Sommersemester 2023).

Please refer to the lecture index (LSF) for past courses..



Address of the institution:

Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie
Institut f√ľr Psychologie,
Universität Heidelberg
Hauptstr. 47-51
69117 Heidelberg
Phone (Office): 06221 54 7350


Position: Head of the Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy Unit at Heidelberg University and Head of the Psychotherapeutic Outpatient Clinic, Member of the Executive Board of the ZPP



1988-1994 Diploma in Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin, diploma

1999 PhD in Psychology

2003 Habilitation in Psychology



since 2007 W3 Professorship, Head of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy at Heidelberg University, Head of the Psychotherapeutic University Outpatient Clinic, member of the management board of the Centre for Psychological Psychotherapy

03/2007 Appointment (W3) to Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany

2005-2006 Substitute Professor for Clinical Psychology at the University of Koblenz/Landau

2002-2007 Senior Psychologist: Station for Personality Disorders at the University of Greifswald

2000-2001 Research Fellow at the University of San Diego (USA, CA)

1997-2002 Research Assistant at the University of Greifswald

1999 License to become a behavioural therapist (specialist and psychological psychotherapist)

1994-1996 Research assistant at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (Berlin Age Study, 50%) and establishment and management of a therapeutic shared flat for young people (50%)



It is important to me to get involved in social matters. I built and managed a therapeutic shared flat at the beginning of my professional career. I am currently supporting various social projects and am committed to a public debate on the de-stigmatisation of mental disorders. Furthermore, I have initiated the foundation of an association in which students and some employees of Heidelberg University offer various positive activities for people in difficult situations (more information about the association prEVENtion see the web and on the outpatient page). The great commitment of the students to prEVENTion is a great pleasure for me. Currently I am planning on discussing and publishing texts regarding the topic ‚ÄúHow do I want to live‚ÄĚ (‚ÄúWie will ich leben‚ÄĚ) with my students.


A great passion of mine is photography. I am currently trying to connect psychological topics with it, i.a. how can emotions be expressed and processed through photography? My photographs have been exhibited and published several times.



2012-2013 Marsilius Fellowship (Excellence Initiative of Heidelberg University)

2004 Prize for best lecture at the annual meeting of the Society of Neurology

2001-2002 Fellowship of the Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach Foundation (UCLA San Diego)

1998 Bayer Award for the manuscript Suicidality in Old Age (Third Prize, co-author, together with Professor Linden)