Dr. Saba Khodayarifard

About Me

I am Dr. Saba Khodayarifard, a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst, training therapist/training analyst, coach, supervisor, and lecturer at the Sigmund Freud Private University in Vienna. The psychotherapy methods that I have learnt, and I am interested in, include psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), couple and family therapy, psychotherapy with children and adolescents and Transactional Analysis (TA). In the last years, I’ve been studying about neuropsychotherapy and neuropsychoanalysis and I am regularly taking diverse courses and workshops to keep myself up to date to the newest scientific findings of my field.

I studied clinical psychology in Iran and after successfully finishing my Bachelor’s in the University of Tehran and my Master’s in Iran’s University of Medical Sciences, two of the top universities in my country, I practiced as a registered clinical psychologist in Tehran. I acquired my Doctorate in Psychotherapy Science in Vienna, in the Sigmund Freud Private University and finished my psychoanalysis training in the Institute for Applied Psychoanalysis (Institut für angewandte Psychoanalyse, IAP), the Psychoanalytisches Seminar Innsbruck (PSI).

I work with adults and with children and adolescents in different settings such as individual, couple, family, and group therapy. Since 2001, I have treated patients suffering from a range of mental difficulties and disorders, for example depression and mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and social phobia, obsessive-complusive disorder, burn-out and post-traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders such as borderline, dependent, insecure-avoidant or obsessive-compulsive personality disorders, psychosomatic problems, psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, eating or sleeping disorders, as well as a range of marital, relational and sexual problems, conflicts in relationships or in the family, educational problems or difficulties in raising children.

I was born in an educated family in Tehran, Iran, where I spent over twenty years of my life. I also lived in Australia from 1991 through 1995, in a small, beautiful city near Sydney called Wollongong, where my father, also a clinical psychologist, university professor and researcher, was studying for Ph.D. I went to high school in Wollongong and acquired a great interest in English literature.


After returning to Iran with my family, I finished my high school education, went to university, finished my master’s studies, and established my career before I left Iran for Austria in 2007.

My bachelor dissertation was a study of the Tree Test, a projective drawing test to diagnose ADHD in children between 4 and 10 years of age. My master dissertation was a successful and extensive study comparing four different projective drawing tests (Person, Tree, House, and Family drawings) in children who were being exposed to regular physical punishments and children who were not experiencing any physical abuse.

I have been living in Vienna since 2007. The title of my doctoral dissertaion is Shift Events and Psychotherapy Outcome and I wrote it under the competent supervision of Professor Erhard Mergenthaler from the University of Ulm in Germany. Paralell to my doctoral studies at the Sigmund Freud Private University (SFU), which was finished in 2012 with distinction (Summa Cum Laude), I did my psychoanalysis training: propaedeutics in the SFU and practical specialization at the PSI. For my practical internship, I worked for 7 months (25. September 2012 bis 25. April 2013) in the behavioural therapy station of the psychiatric ward in Vienna General Hospital (Allgemeines Krankenhaus, AKH). I acquired my doctorate on the 12th of May 2012 and got registered as a psyhotherapist in the official list of psychotherapists of the ministry of health on 15th of October 2013.


In 2013 I took part in an extensive training program in psychotherapy with children and adolescents, after which I worked in the psychotherapie outpatient clinic for children and adolescents of the WGKK from January 2014 through August 2017.

My personal strengths from my own point of view are honesty, empathy, diligence, humour, and adjustability. I am responsible, passionate, daring, ambitious, curious, confident, and hard-working. My hobbies are sport, literature, reading books, reading or writing poetry, painting and drawing, art, music, movies, cooking, traveling and above all, enticing conversations with interesting people. I’ve always been athletic and train at gym very regularly.

Some of my academic topics of interest include neuroscience, neuropsychology, neuropsychotherapy and neuropsychoanalysis, cognitive and personal development, psychopathology, personality disorders, projective drawing tests (Person, House, Tree, and Family drawing tests), psychotherapeutic diagnosis and techniques, psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, object-relations theories, and self-psychology, as well as psychotherapeutic text analysis.


  • Austrian Federal Association for Psychotherapy (Österreichischer Bundesverband für Psychotherapie: ÖBVP)
  • WLP (Wiener Landesverband für Psychotherapie)
  • The International Neuropsychoanalysis Society (NPSA)
  • Psychoanalytisches Seminar Innsbruck (PSI), Institute for applied psychoanalysis (IAP)
  • Viennese Psychoanalytic Academy (Wiener Psychoanalytische Akademie)
  • Austrian Iranian Doctors‘ Community (Österreichisch Iranische Ärzte Gesellschaft: ÖIÄG)
  • Union of Iranian Academicians (Union Iranischer Akademiker: UIA)
  • Viennese Community for Psychotherapeutic Care (Wiener Gesellschaft für Psychotherapeutischer Versorgung: WGPV)

Earlier memberships:

  • Union of Austrian Psychotherapists (Vereinigung Österreichischer Psychotherapeutinnen und Psychotherapeuten: VÖPP)
  • National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM)
  • Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR)


Khodayarifard, S. (2012) Shift events and psychotherapy outcome. Doctoral dissertation, University of Sigmund Freud Vienna.


Khodayarifard, S. (2013). Psychoanalysis with a Case of Chronic Heart Neurosis and Panic Attacks. Case Presentation for the Psychoanalysis Training, Psychoanalytisches Seminar Innsbruck (PSI).


Khodayarifard, M., Pritz, A., Khodayarifard, S. (2009). Integrated psychodynamic therapy of panic disorder: a case study. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 13(1), 49-62.


Khodayarifard, M., Pritz, A., Khodayarifard, S. (2008). The impact of group and individual cognitive-behavioral intervention on the mental health state of male prisoners. International Journal of Psychotherapy, 12(2), 50-66.


Khodayarifard, M., Rehm, L. P., Khodayarifard, S. (2007). Psychotherapy in Iran: a case study of cognitive-behavioral family therapy for Mrs. A. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63(8), 745-753.


Khodayarifard, M. & Khodararifard, S. (2007). Applying cognitive-behavioral family-therapy combined with chiropractic in treatment of psychosomatic disorders (Masculoskelt). Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 28, 299-304.


Khodayarifard, S., Abedin, A., Yazdandoost, R. Y., Pourshahriari, M., Gharaee, B. (2007). Comparing the results of projective drawing tests in physically abused vs. normal children. Journal of Family Research, 3(9), 455-469.

Congress Presentations:

Khodayarifard, S., Mergenthaler, E. (2009). Shift events and psychotherapy outcome: What are the causes for shift events and how do they correlate with good or poor therapy outcome. 7th European SPR Conference, 1-3 October 2009, Bolzano/Bozen, Italy.


Khodayarifard, M., Pritz, A., Khodayarifard, S. (2008). Integrative psychodynamic therapy of panic disorder: a case study. The 5th World Congress of Psychotherapy, 12-15 October 2008, Beijing, China.


Khodayarifard, M. Pritz, A. Khodayarifard, S. (2008). Applying cognitive behavioral family therapy in treatment of a psychosomatic disorder, The 5th World Congress of Psychotherapy, 12-15 October 2008, Beijing, China.


Khodayarifard, M., Khodayarifard, S. (2007). Treatment of gender identitiy disorder using cognitive behavioral family therapy: a case study. 10th European Congress of Psychology, 3-6 July 2007, Prague, Czech Republic.


Khodayarifard, M., Khodayarifard, S. (2007). Cognitive behavioral family therapy for sexual abuse in adolescence: a case study. 10th European Congress of Psychology, 3-6 July 2007, Prague, Czech Republic.


Khodayarifard, M., Khodayarifard, S. (2007). Applying cognitive behavioral family therapy combined with chiropractic in treatment of psychosomatic disorders. The XV International Congress of the International Society of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 13-17 May 2007, Kyoto, Japan.


Khodayarifard, M., Khodayarifard, S. (2007). Applying cognitive behavioral couple therapy in treatment of alcoholism: a case study. The 4th Pan Asiatic Congress, 18-20 May2007, Ekaterinburg, Russia.


Khodayarifard, M., Khodayarifard, S. (2006). The effect of family therapy based on cognitive behavioral approach in treating social phobia: a case study. 2006 International Congress of Psychotherapy in Japan & The Third International Conference of Asian Federation for Psychotherapy, 28 August- 1 September 2006, Tokyo, Japan.