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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




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


Methods and Technologies in Teaching Complex Systems

Friday, July 17th, 2020, 10:00 AM - 01:00 PM (CEST Amsterdam, Berlin, Rom, Stockholm, Wien)

Meeting-ID: 860 9633 9220
Passwort: no password required

Opening speech: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sperl, Rector of the Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg

Chair and discussant: Franco Orsucci

Didactic Tools for Teaching Complex Systems – an Overview
Günter Schiepek

Kindergarden Everywhere: Active Learning in Neuroscience and Human Interfaces.
Franco Orsucci

Complexity in Education – New Trends from Neuroscience and Technology
Manoj Singh

Simulation for Teaching: The PsySimulator
Helmut Schöller, Günter Schiepek

Systems Gaming
Wolfgang Eberling, Günter Schiepek

Nicoletta Sala


Building the Bridge Between Nomothetics and Idiographics

Friday, July, 17th, 2020, 02:00 - 05:00 PM (CEST Amsterdam, Berlin, Rom, Stockholm, Wien)

Meeting-ID: 851 3739 4955
Passwort: 730278

Field Theory is the Bridge Between Nomothetics and Idographics
Sergio Salvatore

New Ways of Case Formulation: Idiographic Systems Modelling and Personalized Process Monitoring
Günter Schiepek

Steps onto the Formalization of Idiographic Clinical Models
Julian Burger

Formalization as a Tool for Advancing and Personalizing Cognitive Behavioral Theories of Psychopathology
Don Robinaugh

A Thematic Analysis of Idiographic System Models
Robin van den Bergh, Benjamin Aas, sysTelios Think Tank, Merlijn Olthof, Serena Daalmans, Roy Otten, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, Günter Schiepek

The Instability Index as an Instrument of Anticipatory Diagnosis and Therapy
Gerhard Krautstrunk


Self-Organization of the Brain

Friday, July 24th, 05:00 – 09:00 PM (CEST Amsterdam, Berlin, Rom, Stockholm, Wien)

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


Three more are in the planning stage. Details will be provided here soon.

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


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 for Synergetics and Psychotherapy

Phone: +43 (0) 57255-56709