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Ilana Berlowitz

Job: PhD - Student
Office: RM C-1.119
Rue P.A. de Faucigny 2
1700 Fribourg
eMail: ilana.berlowitz@unifr.ch
Unit: Psychologie clinique et Psychologie de la Santé      


Thèse en préparation


Project Title: Substance Dependence Treatment: An Exploratory Study of the Psychotherapeutic Potential of Traditional Medicinal Practices of the Peruvian Upper Amazon (SNSF-Doc.CH)

Advisory Board:

  • Prof. Dr. Chantal Martin-Sölch (main thesis supervisor, Clinical & Health Psychology, University of Fribourg)
  • Prof. Dr. Heinrich Walt (general scientific advisor, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital Zurich & ETH “MACOCC-Project” co-leader)
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Ghasarian (co-supervisor, Institute for Ethnology, University of Neuchâtel)
The harmful use of substances represents one of today’s largest public health problems worldwide. Neuropsychological findings showing long-term cerebral adaptations resulting from substance use, as well as the high relapse rates point to the chronicity involved in the condition. Alternative or traditional medicines take an emergent role in contemporary health care of chronic illnesses and could also be promising in the context of substance dependence. The Peruvian Takiwasi Addiction Treatment Center points to this possibility. This clinic treats substance dependence using traditional Amazonian medicinal practices combined with western methods. Our study assesses the therapeutic potential of the treatment using a multimodal approach. Specific aims are (i) empirically deriving an epistemological description of Amazonian conceptions of substance dependence and its treatment and (ii) identifying the main effective treatment component. On the basis of naturalistic data, we further aim to empirically assess the therapeutic potential (iii) of the identified core treatment component and (iv) of the overall treatment. We are confident that our results will open new treatment perspectives and will help understand important psychological processes involved in traditional treatments.

Centre d'intérêts

  • Treating mental health problems using traditional healing systems
  • Traditional Amazonian medecine, Curanderismo
  • Harmful substance use/substance dependence and its treatment modalities



Grants as responsible applicant or co-applicant


  • Substance Dependence Treatment: An Exploratory Study of the Psychotherapeutic Potential of Traditional Medicinal Practices of the Peruvian Upper Amazon

I. Berlowitz

Doc. CH, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF 148981)



  • Increasing the effectiveness of usability testing: the role of testing method, cultural background and system features beyond usability.

J. Sauer & I. Berlowitz

Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF140359)


Conference Presentations

  • Berlowitz, I. & Grebner, S. (2012). Job satisfaction mediates the relationship between working conditions and work-related substance use: A Swiss national study. In: A. Jain, D. Hollis, N. Andreou,
    & F. Wehrle (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th Conference of the European Academy of Occupational Health
    Psychology, held in Zurich, Switzerland 11-13 April 2012
    (pp. 154).
    Nottingham, UK: Nottingham University Press. 
    Abstract retrieved from
  • Berlowitz, I., Sonderegger A., & Sauer J. (2012). The influence of socio-cultural background and product value in usability testing. Poster session presented at the Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Europe Chapter, October 10-12, 2012, Toulouse, France.

Research Reports

  • Berlowitz, I. (2012). Substanzkonsum im Arbeitskontext in der Schweiz: Expertenbefragung. Bern: Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft (SECO). Retrieved from http://www.seco.admin.ch/dokumentation/publikation/00008/00022/04898/index.html?lang=de
  • Grebner, S., Berlowitz, I., Alvarado, V., & Cassina, M. (2011). Stressstudie 2010. Stress bei Schweizer Erwerbstätigen. Zusammenhänge zwischen Arbeitsbedingungen, Personenmerkmalen, Befinden und Gesundheit. [Stress-Study 2010. Stress in the Swiss working population. Relationships between working conditions, person characteristics, well-being, and health]. Bern: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
    Retrieved from

Situation professionnelle

PhD Student working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Chantal Martin Sölch, supported by Doc.CH-grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation


  • Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) in Academic Teaching and Didactics (Universtity of Fribourg, 2013)
  • Master of Science in Psychology (University of Fribourg, 2012)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Linguistics (Tel Aviv University, 2008)
Département de Psychologie / Departement für Psychologie - R. Faucigny 2 - 1700 Fribourg / Freiburg - Tel +41 26 300 7620 - Fax +41 26 / 300 9712 - psychologie [at] unifr.ch - uni