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Institute for Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research

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

The Institute for 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




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 for 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


  • MSc Benjamin Aas, dissertation at the LMU Munich (D)
  • Mag. Karin Bacher, dissertation at the LMU Munich (D)
  • Dipl.-Psych. Nora Daniels-Wredenhagen, MA (D)
  • Mag. Clemens Fartacek, dissertation at the Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt (A)
  • Mag. Denise Hebesberger (A)
  • Mag. Priscila Hereing (A)
  • Dipl.-Psych. Benjamin Kraus, dissertation at the University of Konstanz (D)
  • Dipl. Psych. Luca Lindenthal, dissertation at the University of Konstanz (D)
  • Mag. Dr. phil. Damir Lovric, dissertation at the PMU Salzburg (A)
  • Dr. Miran MozinaLic. phil. Judith Patzig, dissertation at the LMU Munich (D)
  • Dipl. Psych. Elke Pauly, Psychosomatic Hospital, Bad Zwischenahn (D)
  • Dipl. Wirtsch.-Phys. Katharina Viol (D)

Completed Master's degree theses and diploma works

  • Laura Bierschneider
  • Valerie Dirnberger
  • Katharina Helm
  • Sarah Mayer
  • Katharina Sungler, freelance employee
  • PD Dr. Dr. Guido Strunk, Complexity Research Vienna, planned habilitation at the PMU Salzburg (A)
  • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Eberling, Advanced Technical College of Northern Switzerland, Olten (CH)
  • Dr. Heiko Eckert, Centre for Complex Systems, Stuttgart/Munich (D)
  • Dr. Martin Plöderl, Christian Doppler Hospital Salzburg (A)
  • Dr. Sebastian Wallot, University of Aarhus (DK)


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

Phone: +43 (0) 57255-56709