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Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research

Head: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Günter Schiepek

The Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research of Paracelsus Medical Private University was founded officially on June 1, 2009. Its predecessor was a one-year temporary period as a research program. The name of the institute expresses a close relationship to the trans-disciplinary use of the synergetics which provides the paradigmatic (theoretical and methodlogical) framework for our scientific research work.

In the meantime, there is an almost 25 years long relationship with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hermann Haken, the founder of the synergetics. The preparatory scientific works for the possibility of founding an institute were made at the universities of Bamberg, Münster and at the RWTH Aachen, which were important stations in the scientific career of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Günter Schiepeks.

The SNS brought to Salzburg was born in a research project at the university hospital of RWTH Aachen ("Synergetics of the Psychotherapy") as well as from the cooperation with the Centre for Complex Systems (Munich/Stuttgart) and the technology partner, the company Conrad Caine in Munich.


The institute is active in the area of the research of processes of change and the dynamics of complex bio-psycho-social systems. One main focus is on the scientific development as well as the practical use of an Internet-based system for process monitoring and process control (Synergetic Navigation System [SNS]). Time series analyses are made automatically within the system as well as by means of comprehensive datasets outside of the system.

The Synergetic Navigation System (SNS)

The background for the research works is provided by the theories and methods of complex dynamic system, in particular by the synergetics (the science of self-organisation of complex systems) and the chaos theory. The projects are worked on, among other things, on the basis of the

  • Dynamics of psychotherapy processes (with repeated magnetic resonance tomography [fMRT] scans, among others),
  • Neuronal connectivity and synchronisation in the case of mental illnesses with the objective to combine the methods of coordinated reset-stimulation (developed by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Tass, Jülich) with the psychotherapy
  • Practice of the process feedback and the process control by the psychotherapy and consulting and their effect
  • Processing of questions which are related, for example, to the differences in the dynamic patterns of various successful therapies or to different diagnoses as well as to other relationships between process and outcome characteristics
  • Development of a theoretical model for understanding the psychotherapeutic processes, which was formalised mathematically in the form of a system of equations and makes possible the computer simulation of the therapy processes
  • Development of an early-warning system in the case of suicidal and other crises

Existing cooperation with various hospitals and universities in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, England and Denmark.



Research projects

  • Order transitions of neuronal activation and connectivity patterns in the psychotherapeutic process of constrained patients – a multi-level application with repeated fMRT, psychological time series (daily self-evaluations with SNS) and biochemical markers of the neuronal plasticity
  • Examination of the prerequisites and testing the non-invasive CR stimulation in the case of depression with the goal of using combined CR stimulation and psychotherapy
  • Dynamic patterns in the psychotherapeutic process. Quantitative (non-linear) and qualitative analyses of SNS-based datasets
  • Therapeutic effects of the Internet-based therapy feedbacks with SNS and SNS-supported psychotherapy
  • Development of an early-warning system for suicidal crises in high-risk patients
  • Development of a mathematical model of psychotherapeutic processes of change




Summer School "Human Change Processes" - virtual conferences

This year’s summer school on human change processes will take place as virtual conferences. Please find the full program enclosed.

You can participate for free and without registration. Simply download the “zoom” software and log in with the links and passwords provided in the attachment.

We are happy to be able to host our conference regardless of the critical situation and wish you interesting and inspiring lectures.

Dates: Every Friday in July and August

Program: The conference program with the links and passwords to log in can be downloaded here


Self-Organization of the Brain

Friday, July 24th, 17:00h – 21:00h (5PM - 9PM CEST)

Meeting-ID: 880 8218 3947 // Password: 994155

Concept of the Research Laboratory for Microsurgical Neuroanatomy as a Translational Model
Peter A. Winkler

Long-lasting Therapeutic Effects by Patterned Multichannel Stimulation
Peter Tass

Symmetries Establish the Link of Structure and Function in Neurobiology
Viktor Jirsa

The Liquid Chronnectome
Demian Battaglia

Functional Connectivity and Meta-Connectivity of Brain Dynamics in Psychotherapy
Kathrin Viol, Demian Battaglia, Viktor Jirsa, Günter Schiepek


Phase Transitions

Saturday, July 25th, 10:00h-13:00h (10AM – 1PM CEST)

Meeting-ID: 862 9388 2617 // Password: 096487

Chair and Discussant: Günter Schiepek

A New Method for the Identification of Phase Transitions in Time Series. Development and Validation
Kathrin Viol, Helmut Schöller, Günter Schiepek

A Phase Transition of the Unconscious: Automated Text Analysis of Dreams in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy
Alessandro Gennaro, Sylvia Kipp, Günter Schiepek

Developments of a Formalized Nonlinear Dynamic Systems Theory of Change Dynamics – Model Modifications, Validations, and Steps onto AI
Günter Schiepek, Helmut Schöller, Marc Hütt, Kathrin Viol

Fred Abraham

Organisations- und Teamentwicklung

(German Language – Sprache: Deutsch)

Montag, 27. Juli 2020, 9:00h-15:00h


Moderation: Jessica Brachat, Marion Walz, Marcus Hausner

09:00 Uhr    Einführung: Organisations- und Teamentwicklung als selbstorganisierende Prozesse
                      Günter Schiepek

09:45 Uhr    Lerngruppenbegleitung mit SNS in der Weiterbildung- ein Beitrag zur
                      Erhöhung der Selbstwirksamkeit
                      Wolfgang Eberling

10:20 Uhr    Pause

10:35 Uhr    Wie gelingt digitaler Wandel? Kultur, Selbstorganisation und Führung
                      Renate Grau, Jonas Konrad, Timna Rother

11:15 Uhr    Change Monitoring in Unternehmen
                      Heiko Eckert, Kai von Rappard

11:50 Uhr    Pause

12:05 Uhr    Kompetenzen im Umgang mit komplexen Systemen
                      Christiane Schiersmann, Marcus Hausner

12:45 Uhr    Übertragung des synergetischen Modells auf Selbstorganisationsprozesse in Unternehmen -
                      Wie können damit organisationale Veränderungen unterstützt werden?
                      Marion Walz, Jessica Brachat

13:20 Uhr    Pause

13:35 Uhr    Critical Chain Projekt-Management
                     Wolfram Müller

14:15 Uhr    Anwendung von SNS im Rahmen eines Radical Change – ein Praxisbericht
                     Sarah Faber, Desirée Heiden

15:00 Uhr    Ende der Veranstaltung

Dynamic Patterns of Psychotherapy

Monday, July 27th, 17:00h-21:00h (5PM – 9PM CEST)

Meeting-ID: 881 2965 9241 // Password: 157634

Conversations with the Sphynx - from Synchronization to Quantum Fields
Franco Orsucci

The Application of Dynamic Systems Methods in Developmental Psychology
E. Saskia Kunnen

The Reciprocal Relationship between Alliance and Early Treatment Symptoms: A two-stage Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis
Christoph Flückiger, Julian Rubel, Jacques Barber, Adam O. Horvath, Bruce E. Wampold

What Differentiates Good and Poor Outcome Psychotherapies? PCA and Phase Transition Analysis
Giulio de Felice, Günter Schiepek

Experiential Balance in Psychotherapy: An Integrative Approach
David Pincus

Hypnotherapeutic Treatment of Childhood Traumata in an Adult – Monitored by the SNS
Thomas Schopf, Michael Antes

Monitoring and Feedback of Therapeutic Process in a Family Psychiatric Day Clinic Setting
Verena Zok, Thomas Neubauer, Rieke Oelkers-Ax

Head and management team

Head of the institute: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Günter Schiepek (Professor at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich as well as a visiting professor at the Alpen-Adria University in Klagenfurt and at the Danube University in Krems. 


Expanded management team:

Deputy head of the institute: Priv.-Doz. Dr. Wolfgang Aichhorn, MBA (specialised physician in psychiatry and psychotherapeutic medicine, psychotherapist for Katathym-Imaginative Psychotherapy, head of the special mission for stationary psychotherapy at the Christian Doppler Hospital Salzburg).
Work and research focuses: Traumatic stress disorders, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders, psychotherapy research.

Deputy head of the institute: Prof. Dr. Isa Sammet (specialised physician in psychiatry and psychotherapy as well as in psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy, leading physician in the psychotherapy section of the Münsterlingen Hospital in the Switzerland).
Research focus: Psychotherapy process research; most recently under the paradigm of the theory of complex systems.

Assistant to the institute management: Benjamin Gregor Aas, MSc. (Master in Clinical Psychology and Research Master of Psychology, since January 2013 doctorand of Prof. Günter Schiepek (LMU Munich), employee at the Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research and the Centre for Complex Systems – CCSYS).
Scientific interests: Philosophy of psychology, psychotherapy research, theory of complex systems, psychology of virtual worlds.

Institute members


Dr. Helmut Schöller (

Dr. Kathrin Viol (


Current Doctoral Students

MSc Lisa Pfitzner, PhD candidate at LMU München (D)

MSc Benjamin Aas, PhD candidate at LMU München (D)


Former Habilitations

Dr. Dr. Guido Strunk, Complexity Research Wien, Habilitation at PMU Salzburg (A)

Dr. Wolfgang Eberling, Fachhochschule der Nordwestschweiz, Olten (CH)

Dr. Heiko Eckert, Center for Complex Systems, Stuttgart/München (D)

Dr. Martin Plöderl, Christian Doppler Klinik Salzburg (A)

Dr. Sebastian Wallot, University of Aarhus (DK) 


Former doctoral students

Mag. Helmut Schöller, PhD at LMU Müchen (D)

Dipl. Phys. oec. Kathrin Viol, PhD at LMU München (D)

Mag. Karin Bacher, PhD at LMU München (D)

Dipl.-Psych. Nora Daniels-Wredenhagen, MA (D)

Mag. Clemens Fartacek, PhD at Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt (A)

Mag. Denise Hebesberger (A)

Mag. Priscila Hiering (A)

Dipl.-Psych. Benjamin Kraus, PhD at Universität Konstanz (D)

Dipl. Psych. Luca Lindenthal, PhD at Universität Konstanz (D)

Mag. Dr. phil. Damir Lovric, PhD at PMU Salzburg (A)

Dr. Miran MozinaLic. phil. Judith Patzig, PhD at LMU München (D)

Dipl. Psych. Elke Pauly, Psychosomatische Klinik, Bad Zwischenahn (D)


Completed Master's degree theses and diploma works

Laura Bierschneider, Valerie Dirnberger, Katharina Helm, Sarah Mayer, Katharina Sungler


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Günter Schiepek
Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy

Phone: +43 (0) 57255-56709