In the late 2023, Singularity Academy conducted a series of interviews to our esteemed fellows. In this article , we will show you the interview summary from Dr. Miriam Burgauner.
Question 1: A Journey into Psychiatry
Could you provide the audience with a brief introduction about yourself and your expertise in psychology?
Dr. Miriam Burgauner: I'm Dr. Miriam Burgauner, based in Germany, practising as a clinical psychiatrist focusing on psychiatry and psychotherapy. In Germany, as a psychiatrist, I underwent comprehensive training as a psychotherapist, differentiating from psychological psychotherapists by my medical background. My interest in personal development, natural healing, and understanding the psyche eventually led me to pursue a career as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist.
Question 2: Unveiling the Path to Psychotherapy
What drew your attention to becoming a psychotherapist after going through this process?
Dr. Miriam Burgauner: It's a journey that started organically, rooted in my upbringing with a father facing bipolar disease. As a child, I grappled with complex questions about life and mental health. My fascination with personal development and various natural healing methods eventually crystallized into a realization that everything is connected to psychology. The pivotal moment came after studying medicine when I found myself more drawn to the intricacies of the mind and emotional well-being. Whether observing patients or reflecting on lifestyle choices, I saw the psychological underpinnings behind every aspect of life. This awareness, coupled with a belief in the fundamental role of love in healing, led me to pursue a career as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist.
Question 3: Confronting Stigma in Mental Health
Having been involved in mental health from a young age, did you encounter stigma surrounding this topic while growing up or in your professional practice?
Dr. Miriam Burgauner: Absolutely, stigma has been a constant presence from my early years. My father's struggles with bipolar disorder introduced me to societal biases. Even as a child, I sensed judgment and reluctance from certain individuals to acknowledge and support those dealing with mental health issues. This stigma persists, affecting not only individuals facing mental health challenges but also impacting their relationships and societal acceptance. It's an ongoing challenge that requires a collective effort to break down these barriers.
Question 4: Unraveling the Impact: Strained Family Dynamics and Mental Health Challenges in Childhood
Transitioning to a different topic, family dynamics play a pivotal role in a child's well-being. How do strained family relationships contribute to mental health challenges, and what strategies do you recommend for individuals facing these issues?
Dr. Miriam Burgauner: Navigating strained family relationships requires a delicate approach. From an in-depth psychology perspective, the formative early years, particularly the initial one, significantly influence an individual's development. Therapy involves delving into the intricate web of emotional constellations, and identifying missed elements in early experiences. Clients are encouraged to delve into their subconscious, allowing dreams and insights to guide the exploration of past traumas or missed connections. The objective is to unravel complexities, understand the emotional support needed, and gradually overcome childhood traumas.
Question 5: Navigating the Digital Landscape: Psychological Challenges in Youth and Strategies for Support
In modern society, children face unique challenges due to digitalization. From your professional experience, what psychological issues do you observe in children, teenagers, and young adults related to increased screen time, cyberbullying, and academic pressure? How can parents and educators support their mental health?
Dr. Miriam Burgauner: While my primary focus is on working with adults, I do encounter parents seeking assistance for their children's challenges. Significantly, there's a growing disconnection among the youth and a loss of genuine touch within social peer groups. Digitalization, combined with exposure to violent video games, distorts the perception of reality. The absence of authentic human connection, perceived not only through facial expressions and body language but also through subtle communication guided by mirror neurons or, energetically speaking, the collective synergy of our senses, contributes to a sense of isolation. Parents and educators must prioritize real-life interactions, nurture healthy family dynamics, and comprehend the impact of digitalization on mental well-being.
Question 6: Navigating the Complex Landscape: Understanding the Impact of Modern Society on Mental Health Across Age Groups
Moving into the impact of modern society on mental health, how has the pace and lifestyle of contemporary society affected the mental health of different age groups? Do you observe differences between younger and older patients?
Dr. Miriam Burgauner: The influence of modern society on mental health is intricate and varies among age groups. It is crucial to consider historical backgrounds, particularly in Germany, where post-war generations carry unique experiences. While the digital age undeniably shapes us, acknowledging the deeper historical context that moulds our psyche is equally important. In my practice, I focus on both foundational aspects and current systemic dynamics affecting individuals. Balancing these perspectives aids in understanding and addressing the impact of contemporary lifestyles on mental health.
Question 7: Unravelling the Paradox: The Impact of Digital Connection on Loneliness and Mental Health
You mentioned the tendency for mothers or families to create a sort of bubble, isolating themselves from the social community, leading to feelings of loneliness. Despite the numerous ways of staying connected digitally, loneliness seems to rise. Could you briefly shed light on the implications of this social isolation and loneliness on mental health? Could you help us understand this paradox?
Dr. Miriam Burgauner: Tackling the paradox of increasing loneliness in the age of abundant digital connections, I believe the persistence of loneliness is rooted in our fundamental need for physical connection. Emotions are deeply intertwined with our bodies, complementing the mind. There's a tendency to use digital media as an escape, avoiding the need to confront social fears and exacerbating feelings of isolation. As loneliness deepens, individuals may not even feel inclined to connect with friends online, creating a vicious circle. This leads to exclusive interactions where personal identities are obscured, and individuals hide behind various digital personas. The more one disconnects from different facets of oneself, relying solely on a curated image, the more one risks burying essential aspects of their true self. This becomes a critical point to address, as sustaining a superficial image can stifle genuine self-expression and hinder overall well-being.