Joanna (1982) was born in Żnin, Poland and finished her school education in Germany (Abitur). After a year of voluntary work, she moved to the Netherlands to study psychology at the Radboud University Nijmegen. She specialized in Cultural Psychology and obtained her Master on a cross-cultural study on narcissism and meaning in life. In February 2012, she defended her PhD thesis in Religious Studies, which was a mixed-methods study on contemporary death rituals. For more than a year, she worked as post-doc researcher at the EMGO+ Institute for Health and Care Research at the VU university medical center in Amsterdam on a study of ethics of care and end-of-life decision-making. Since September 2012, she works as assistant professor in existential care at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht.

Work Experience

2012 – present   Assistant professor psychological & spiritual aspects of existential care, University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, the Netherlands

2011 –  2012   Post-doc researcher on ethics of care and end-of-life decision making, EMGO+ Institute of Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2007 –  2011   PhD candidate, research on meaning making of death, the postself and notions of immortality, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands (PhD defense 24 February 2012)

2007 –  2007   Student assistant ‘Public history and identity of the past’, Faculty of Arts, Radboud University Nijmegen

2005 –  2006   Student Assistant ‘Introduction Cultural psychology’, ‘Culture and Self’, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen

Other work/activities/memberships

2023-present Editorial board, Religie en Samenleving

2023-present Board member KSGV, Kenniscentrum voor Levensbeschouwing en Geestelijke Volksgezondheid

2022-present Editorial board Yearbook for Ritual and Liturgical Studies

2022-present Advisory board Netherlands Studies in Ritual and Liturgy (NSRL)

2017-present Board member IRILIS Institute for ritual and liturgical studies (Chair since 2020), Protestantse Theologische Universiteit Amsterdam

2009 –  present  Reviewer/ editor for academic journals/ publishers (a.o. Death Studies, PLOS one, International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, Journal of Healthcare Chaplaincy, European Journal for Psychotraumatology, Journal of Constructivist Psychology, Journal of Palliative Medicine, Review of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, Sage open, Religions, Social Science and Medicine, Mortality).

2007 – 2009 Volunteer in terminal home care, VPTZ, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

2004 – 2006  Assistant for daily practices of people with physical disabilities, Fokus Wonen, Nijmegen

2001 – 2002 Volunteer at school for children with disabilities, Rheinische Schule für Körperbehinderte, Germany


2007 – 2011  PhD Religious Studies, Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, (PhD defense, 24 February 2012)

2002 – 2006  Bachelor & Master of Science, Psychology of Culture and Religion, Faculty of Social Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen

1994 – 2001  Städtisches Gymnasium, Germany