Walking — and Talking — in Freud’s Footsteps

Author: Convene Editors       


The Hauptallee — the main avenue in the Prater area in Vienna — where psychoanalyst Vienna native Sigmund Freud walked and talked with his patients.

When the World Council for Psychotherapy’s World Congress returns to its inaugural meeting venue, the Sigmund Freud Private University in Vienna, as many as 4,000 scientists and researchers will meet to discuss the latest findings in the field of psychotherapy.

Christian Mutschlechner

Christian Mutschlechner

The congress, set for 2025, will be a homecoming in many ways: Not only was the World Council for Psychotherapy founded in 1995 in Vienna, where the first World Congress for Psychotherapy was held in 1996, but the city is also the birthplace of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis as well as of the namesake university where the congress will be held.

The upcoming World Congress for Psychotherapy will feature a series of 500 lectures, seminars, and workshops — “which is a lot for participants to take on board,” said Christian Mutschlechner, the director of the Vienna Convention Bureau. So, along with Dr. Alfred Pritz, president of World Council for Psychotherapy, “I had this crazy idea,” Mutschlechner said. “The famous doctor used to walk with his patients in the area around the university, as it helped them think clearly and open up. This practice was later named and known as Freudian Walks.”

“Why not organize a Freudian Walk as part of the program?” asked Mutschlechner. “It would be a fresh and completely different element to the traditional congress program.”

The university is in the Prater area, an eight-kilometer pedestrian zone and “the perfect place for the congress’ Freudian Walks to take place,” he added. “The activity will involve small groups of people walking while talking about a specific theme. We think it will be quite an experience.”

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