An Interview with Dr. Christiane Licht, Member of the Clinical TMS Society and Board Director with the German Society for Brain Stimulation in Psychiatry

Dr. Christiane Licht lives in Nuremberg, Germany and is a newer member of the Clinical TMS Society. She is a member of the Education Committee and Resident Task Force, and recently was elected to the board of the DGHP, also known as the German Society for Brain Stimulation in Psychiatry. 

She joined the Clinical TMS Society in 2022 and attended the Annual Meeting in Chicago that year. “I was deeply impressed,” she says of her first Annual Meeting. “It was such an amazing conference.” She compares it to the Oscars, since she had the chance to meet leaders in the field whose papers she had read. “It was fascinating for me to meet these people at the conference in person and stay in contact with the CTMS Society,” she explains. After becoming a member, she joined the Education Committee and now sits on the Resident Education Task Force as well. “The group is doing such great work,” she says of the committee. “We meet every month and there are [members] from around the world…the engagement is so great and quite impressive.” 

Dr. Licht earned her medical degree at the University of Münster. During medical school, she became interested in studying the brain. “I was fascinated by how our brains can, on the one hand, do so much…and yet cause so much suffering.” 

Throughout her residency, she became interested in neuromodulation as a treatment for those who didn’t respond to medication. “Five years ago, I became interested in brain stimulation techniques, and that was a turning point for me,” she says. “Electroconvulsive therapy was my first [introduction] to brain stimulation methods…And then I thought, ‘Isn’t there a softer method? Is there something else?’ because it is also an older method,” she explains. Dr. Licht did some research and that was when she learned about TMS treatment. 

“I was fascinated by rTMS…it was a way to treat people with a method that works, and [in some cases] it was the first situation where patients were saying ‘oh, I really feel better’.” She gives an example of a patient of hers who had suffered from treatment-resistant depression for ten years and had tried a variety of treatments that didn’t work. “She was scared of suicidal ideas,” Dr. Licht explained. “Then she tried TMS, and she felt better.” 

Dr. Licht currently practices TMS at Fuerth/Nuremberg Clinic where she is working as a senior physician in the department for brain stimulation.  

They have two TMS machines and are continuing to grow their TMS practice. She is continually looking for new ways to become involved with the TMS community as well. After attending the Annual Meeting in Chicago and joining the Clinical TMS Society, she searched for another TMS society closer to home. “I wondered if there was any society in Germany…a group of people who can share their experiences and improve the treatment method onsite,” she explains. “And there is a small society of TMS university clinics.” She joined the DGHP (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hirnstimulation in der Psychiatrie), or the German Society for Brain Stimulation in Psychiatry, which was founded in 2010.  

“I was invited to a program for young residents to join the [DGHP] and attend a workshop about TMS,” Dr. Licht says. The DGHP was interested in recruiting and educating younger psychiatrists, and because she was so engaged in the German Society, she was elected to the board of directors in June of 2023. 

“I’m very proud [to be on the board],” Dr. Licht says. “It’s great local work…our aims are kind of the same as the CTMS Society. We want to improve the method, we want to share [TMS]…and help our patients,” she says. “TMS is such an important treatment method and should be evolved to help our patients.”  

In addition to her work with both the CTMSS and the DGHP, Dr. Licht supervises residents at the Fuerth/Nuremberg Clinic and teaches workshops on TMS. “Every six months [we host] workshops where we teach people who are interested [in TMS], or thinking about getting a machine,” she says. 

Dr. Licht plans to continue working at the Fuerth/Nuremberg Clinic. She is looking forward to continuing her work with the CTMSS and DGHP as well. “I would like to thank the CTMS Society, because without the amazing experience [at the Annual Meeting] in Chicago, I would have never improved my skills in TMS,” she says. “For me, it’s a great honor to be a member of the Society, and to have the opportunity to work with these people all over the world.” 

Written by Jordan Galerkin