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About Sonja


I am a professor for developmental psychology at the Medical School Hamburg Sonja Bröning ( I study and teach about couple and family dynamics and understudied groups such as LGBPTQIA+ and polyamorous relationships, but also families in difficult situations such as addiction or conflictual separation. In my private practice, I provide services for individuals, couples, (separated) parents and families. I am a licensed mediator (BM) and systemic therapist (DGSF). With my family, I live in the north of Hamburg, Germany.


I was born in Munich as daughter of an American mother and a German father and grew up in the north of Germany. I studied business administration and worked for the Siemens group for 10 years in Human Resources. During this time, I found and studied my real passion: psychology. As part of my PhD Program, I helped create and the award-winning group program “Kinder im Blick” for families in separation and divorce. After this, I spent several years at Hamburg’s University Medical Center, as a prevention researcher. I also worked as a systemic therapist for couples, and at the clinic’s Outpatient Treatment Center for Drug- and Alcohol-Abusing Youth.

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My previous experience has made me realize how important it is to combine scientific knowledge with intuition and emotional intelligence. One without the other is simply like walking on only one leg. We cannot “know” everything from hard scientific facts, and we cannot “know” everything from our own (often biased) experience. We need to use both perspectives to understand the nature of human development. I find that this kind of deep understanding always brings empathy for each individual life situation. So, instead of evaluating and judging, I try to meet each person with an attitude of openness, empathy and respect.

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Professional Experience

...Long-standing expertise in the area of developmental psychology, mediation and counseling


... Several years as systemic counselor and family therapist at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Outpatient Treatment Center for Drug- and Alcohol-Abusing Adolescents, Young Adults and their Families


... Four years as addiction and prevention researcher at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), project manager for the development and evaluation of group programs („Trampoline“ – for children from substance-affected families and „Strengthening Families Program“ – a family-based prevention program)


... Professional experience as Human Resources Manager in diverse areas such as recruiting, international delegations, HR development, consulting managers and staff, and moderating team meetings


... Co-developer of the award-winning group program „Kinder im Blick – ein Gruppenangebot für Eltern in Trennung“ (Looking out for our kids/LOOK – a group program for separated parents – prevention award of the German League for the Child)


... Native speaker in German and English ... Advanced Spanish and experience in latin-American culture due to a year in Panama


Certified mediator (BM)

Certified systemic counselor(DGSF)

Bachelors degree in business administration.

Masters degree in educational science

Doctors degree in psychology.

Certfied systemic therapist (equals couple and family therapist) according to DGSF- standards.

Professorship for developmental psychology.

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