Causation and Chance: Integrating the Dynamical Systems Approach with Statistical Thinking

  • Wolfgang Tschacher
  • Hermann Haken


We view psychotherapy from an explicitly process-based perspective. The general goal of the book is to model the process of psychotherapy as an interplay of chance and causation. This means that deterministic interventions as well as random fluctuations must be considered, both as functions of time. Fluctuations can be influenced by means of stochastic interventions. Several mathematical models have been put forward for the modeling of such dynamics, from which we choose the Fokker-Planck approach. The fundamental prerequisite of dynamical modeling is that we can measure and monitor the processes of psychotherapy. We therefore discuss the problems of psychological measurement, especially how we may measure mental and experiential processes, which are first-person phenomena, i.e., not objective data. Psychology uses scales to get access to such data. We must rely on operationalizations as the fundament of psychological measurement, as is true in all empirical research in psychology. Psychotherapy is, in principle, based on the social interaction of therapist and client and their alliance; thus we will also have to model this two-dimensional system.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Tschacher
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hermann Haken
    • 3
  1. 1.Universitätsklinik für Psychiatrie und PsychotherapieUniversitäre Psychiatrische, Dienste BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)Universität FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Institut für Theoretische Physik und SynergetikUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany

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