The Relation Between Mental and Social Systems

  • Bernd Nissen
Part of the Springer Series in Synergetics book series (SSSYN, volume 58)


In the following essay I shall try to elucidate the relation between mental and social systems. In my opinion this is one of the most interesting aspects of psycho-social work, because the interactional intersection is important for the understanding of dyadic relationships, for example in therapist-patient relationships, and also in institutional contexts (e.g. social-psychiatric networks (see Nissen, 1991)). I have focussed the following study on the mental system within the interpenetration of mental and social systems and show the necessity of psychodynamic processes for a complete understanding of the interpenetration; i.e. the reduction of the mental system to a cognitive or conscious system is not possible.

Before I start to discuss my system-theoretical point of view (sect. 2), I want to describe a short sequence from a group therapy session, in which the empirical presentation is strongly selected to illustrate the problems and questions concerning the general systems theory touched on in the third part (sect. 3).


Social System Mental System General System Theory Objective Entity Develop Structure 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

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  • Bernd Nissen

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