Public lecture Prof. Dr. George Szmukler (London)

Thursday June 27, 2019
4.30 - 6 p.m.

Public lecture Dr. Andrea zur Nieden (Freiburg)

Thursday May 9, 2019
4.30 - 6 p.m.

Public lecture Prof. Dr. Theresia Degener (Bochum)

Thursday April 4, 2019
4.30 - 6 p.m.

Public lecture Prof. Dr. Louis C. Charland (Ontario, Canada)

Wednesday December 5, 2018
4 - 5.30 p.m.

Public lecture Prof Dr. Iur. Tanja Henking, LL.M. (Bochum)

Thursday November 8, 2018
4.30 - 6 p.m.

Public lecture: Prof. Dieter Birnbacher (Düsseldorf)

Wednesday May 31, 2017
4:00-5:30 pm

Public lecture: Prof. Guy Widdershoven (VU Amsterdam)

Thursday February 18, 2016
4:00-5:30 pm

International Winter School

February 15-19, 2016

Beneficial coercion in medicine? Foundations, areas of conflict, prevention



The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the ELSA funding initiative (ethical, legal and social aspects of the modern life sciences)






Coercion contradicts the central ethical and legal principles of medical care. Nevertheless, coercion is commonly applied to persons with impaired decision-making capacity, and in particular to persons with psychiatric disorders. It is common to justify measures against the current will and preferences of the person in a paternalistic manner by reference to the principle of beneficence; that is, coercive measures are applied under the assumption that they promote the health and welfare of the coercee. Recent decisions of the German Constitutional Court elicited an interdisciplinary debate on the reduction of coercion in psychiatry.

The methods and rates of coercion in psychiatry vary considerably among European countries. In Europe, Germany and The Netherlands are among the countries with the most treatment places for in-patients. Despite comparable legal criteria for involuntary admission in these two countries, the rate of involuntary hospitalization is much higher in Germany.

The international conference took place in Bochum on 15-19 February 2016. Participants from various disciplines (including medicine, philosophy, law, psychology, theology, social sciences and peer support) and various countries (primarily Germany and The Netherlands) presented their research results. The conference additionally included four workshops, among which was a visit to the LWL-Forensic Psychiatric Hospital Herne.

The main conference topics were:

  • ethical and legal foundations of the legitimation of coercion
  • empirical research on coercion
  • areas of ethical conflict in clinical practice
  • possibilities of prevention and alternatives to coercion

A conference volume with contributions by all participating scholars has been published with Mentis.

Jakov Gather, Tanja Henking, Alexa Nossek, Jochen Vollmann (eds.): Beneficial coercion in psychiatry? Foundations and challenges. Münster: Mentis, 2017.


Public Lecture: Dr. Klaus Kobert

Thursday December 18, 2014
4:00-5:30 pm

Public Lecture: Dr. Allen Frances

Thursday April 18, 2013
6:15-7:45 pm