Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research
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Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research

Head: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Guenter 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 the 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. Guenter Schiepek.

The Synergetic Navigation System (SNS), a web-based real-time monitoring system for change processes, has been brought to Salzburg. The SNS 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 is continuously improved and expanded at the Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research.


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
  • 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" 2021

Human Change Processes

13th Summer School

Seeon Monastery, Bavaria, Germany

Mai, 31th – June, 2nd , 2021

Psychotherapy Research – Neuroscience – Nonlinear Complex Systems

The Summer Schools on Human Change Processes are a forum for exchange in psychotherapy feedback, process research, practical innovations, neuroscience and neuromodulation, team and organizational development, and social sciences.

Planned as real live conference. If it will be unavoidable to realize the Summer School as a virtual conference, it will be realized at the same dates and time slots with the same program.


  • Institute of Synergetics und Psychotherapy Research, Paracelsus Medical University Salzburg
  • European Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • Center for Complex Systems
  • German Society for Systemic Therapy and Family Therapy (DGSF)
  • Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, Department of Psychology

Scientific Organizer

Prof. Dr. Günter Schiepek


Seeon Monastery (Kultur und Bildungszentrum des Bezirks Oberbayern), Upper Bavaria, Germany

Participation Fees:

  • 390 Euro (students: 190 Euro). Includes lunch and coffee/sweets for three days.
  • Early bird registration (until February, 28th): 330 Euro (students: 140 Euro).
  • Tickets for single days: 150 Euro (students: 90 Euro).

Fees for accommodation or breakfast are not included.


By assignment of the participation fee to the bank account:
Hypo-Bank Salzburg
IBAN: AT195500011100006603
Recipient and intended purpose: Summer School


Monday, May, 31th, 9:00 – 18:00

Günter Schiepek
Wolfgang Aichhorn
Wolfgang Sperl

Human Change Processes – An Introduction
Klaus Mainzer

The Linear and the Nonlinear Approach in Process Research and Process Feedback – New Methods and Consequences for Practice
Günter Schiepek

Group-level Analysis of Physiological Coordination during Joint Action Using Multidimensional Recurrence Quantification Analysis
Sebastian Wallot

The Phase Transition Detection Algorithm
Günter Schiepek & Kathrin Viol

Textual Data Analysis: Implications for the Advancement of Research in Psychology
Alessandro Gennaro

A Qualitative Grounded Text Analysis of Psychotherapy Diaries – Can Pattern Transitions Be Identified in Diaries?
Philipp Garrison, Matthias Ochs & Sontje Nordholt

Psychotherapy Feedback. Effects, Mechanisms, Therapeutic Impact
Kim de Jong

Process Monitoring and Feedback in High Achieving Sports
Alexander Schorb


Tuesday, June, 1st, 9:00 – 17:00

The Measurement Problem in Psychology
Markus Maier und Günter Schiepek

Discussion of the Measurement Lecture
Mattias Desmet

What Too Much Method Obscures about the Validity of Outcome Measures
Mattias Desmet

Structure and Flexibility in the Psychotherapeutic Process
Giulio de Felice

Early-warning Signals and Order Transitions in Psychological Time Series
Merlijn J. Olthof, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, Fred Hasselman, Günter Schiepek

The Application of Machine Learning and Neural Network Based Pattern Recognition to Time Series
Fred Hasselman

Idiographic System Modeling - New Ways of Visualization and Experiences from Practice
Helmut Schöller, Günter Schiepek et al.


Wednesday, June 2nd, 9:00-17:00

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

Self-Organization in Networks – From Neuroscience to Systems Biology
Marc Thorsten Hütt

Pathologically Reduced Neural Flexibility Increases during Psychotherapy of OCD-Patients
Kathrin Viol & Günter Schiepek

Mapping Human Hybrid Synchronization: Chimaera and Quanta Dynamics in a Many Selves Perspective
Franco Orsucci

From Metaphor to Computation: Constructing the Potential Landscape for the Dynamics of Panic Disorder
Jingmeng Cui, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, Fred Hasselman

A Thematic Analysis of Idiographic System Models
Robin van den Bergh, Benjamin Aas, Nora Daniels-Wredenhagen, Florian Pommerien-Becht, Florens Goldbeck, Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, Günter Schiepek

The International Complexity Science Master Program
Franco Orsucci


Benjamin Aas, MSc
Ludwig-Maximilian Universität München, Universitätsklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Munich, Germany

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Aichhorn
Director of the University Hospital for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg, Austria

Robin van den Bergh
Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, NL

Jingmeng Cui
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL

Nora Daniels-Wredenhagen
SyTelios Gesindheitszentrum, Siedelsbrunn, Germany

Mattias Desmet, PhD
Ghent University, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Department of Psychoanalysis and Clinical Consulting, Ghent, Belgium

Giulio de Felice, PhD
Sapienza University of Rome, Italy & NCU University, London, UK

Philipp Garrison, MSc
University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany

Alessandro Gennaro, PhD
Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Florens Goldbeck
SyTelios Gesindheitszentrum, Siedelsbrunn, Germany
Department of Physiology, University of Tübingen, Germany

Fred Hasselman, PhD
Professor at the Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marc Thorsten Hütt
Department of Life Sciences and Chemistry, Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany

Kim de Jong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor at the Institute of Psychology, Clinical Psychology Unit, Leiden University, Leiden, NL

Anna Lichtwarck-Aschoff, PhD
Full Professor & Head of the Department, Faculty of Social Sciences (Department Child & Family Studies), Rijksuniversity Groningen, NL

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Markus Maier
Department of Psychology, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klaus Mainzer
Emeritus of excellence of the Technical University Munich, Germany
President of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts

Prof. Dr. Matthias Ochs
University of Applied Sciences, Fulda, Germany

Merlijn Olthof, PhD
Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL

Franco Orsucci, MD
Professor at the University College London, Uk and Head of the Mayfair Institute London, UK

Sontje Nordholt
Department of Psychology, Universität Osnabrück, Germany

Florian Pommerien-Becht
SyTelios Gesindheitszentrum, Siedelsbrunn, Germany

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Günter Schiepek
Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research,
University Hospital for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Paracelsus Medical University,Salzburg and Department of Psychology, Ludwig Maximilian University Munich, Germany

Dr. Helmut Schöller
Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research,
University Hospital for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg

Dr. Alexander Schorb
University Hospital for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sperl
President of the Paracelsus Medical University
Salzburg, Austria

Dr. Kathrin Viol
Institute of Synergetics and Psychotherapy Research,
University Hospital for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics, Paracelsus Medical University, Salzburg

Sebastian Wallot, Ph.D.
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Head of the institute

Head of the institute:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. Günter Schiepek (Professor at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany, as well as a visiting professor at the Alpen-Adria University, Klagenfurt, Austria, and at the Danube University, Krems, Austria). 


Expanded management team:

Deputy head of the institute: Primar Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Aichhorn, MBA (specialised physician in psychiatry and psychotherapeutic medicine, psychotherapist for Katathym-Imaginative Psychotherapy, head of the Department of Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychosomatik at the Christian Doppler University 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.

Institute members


Dr. Helmut Schöller (

Dr. Kathrin Viol (


Current doctoral students

Dipl.-Psych. Yvonne Hülsner, PhD candidate at LMU München (D)

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


Former doctoral students

Dr. Christoph Huy, PhD at University of Erfurt (D)

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

Dr. Kathrin Viol, PhD at LMU München (D)

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

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

Dr. Benjamin Kraus, PhD at Universität Konstanz (D)

Dr. Luca Lindenthal, PhD at Universität Konstanz (D)

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

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

Dr. Heiko Eckert, Center for Complex Systems (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