European Chapter of the Society for Psychotherapy Research SPR-EU
Methods Workshop & Symposium
Pathways of Change
24-27 April 2019, Certosa di Pontignano, Siena
University of Siena
Mind Force Society
Istituto di Psicoterapia Integrata
Società Italiana Terapia Comportamentale e Cognitiva SITCC
Complexity Science in Psychotherapy, Special Interest Group SPR-SIG
Topics of the Workshop
The general goals are the modeling of the temporal/longitudinal evolution of therapies, the application of methods of dynamical systems theory (such as time-series analysis), and the discussion of new meta-models, which can integrate different technical tools.
1. self-organization, synchrony (based on empirical findings that regular patterns of interaction arise in the therapist-patient relationship)
2. detection of attractors (attractors describe stable states of a process, e.g. the stability of a disorder a patient suffers from. They can be detected and described based on empirical time series)
3. phase transitions (when there are two attractors –e.g. severe depression and normal functioning–, we may observe transitions between them)
4. synthetic differential equations, models (processes, time series, attractors can be modeled by mathematical equations, i.e. synthetically)
5. comparison of empirical and synthetic models (in complexity science, like in all psychotherapy research, we struggle with the mapping of theory to measurement)
6. qualitative meaning of complexity (how are complexity and attractors linked with traditional questionnaire measures?)
7. fractal dynamics (a specific kind of self-similarity found in time series, e.g. physiological time series)
8. translational processes and procedures from research to clinical practice and vice versa.
Goals of the workshop
As the complexity science field is rather new in psychotherapy research, but at the same time is considered increasingly important to the development of the field, we decided to offer methodological support to those SPR members who are interested in this approach. These members are commonly PhD students or young post-doc researchers; thus it was agreed that an SPR methods workshop would be the appropriate format to meet this demand.
The first goal is to acquaint the participants with the basics of time series analysis. This type of analysis often has the aura of being overly sophisticated, which is actually not true. Quite simple statistical methods are the fundament of many time series methods, and we wish to introduce these in the workshop.
Concepts of complexity science address common phenomena known to psychotherapists, who however use many different terminologies to express them. Thus, it is a goal to do translational work, i.e. equate clinical observations from psychotherapies with concepts of complexity science. At the same time, we would like to explore more in depth the processes and procedures by which psychotherapy research is translated into clinical practice and vice versa.
Complexity science methods are appropriate only for specific datasets. Thus, it is a goal of the workshop to show how such datasets can be sampled and discuss the technological tools and algorithms for measurement.
In current research, some specific concepts have been developed, such as nonverbal synchrony, Bayes and Markov network models, motion energy analysis as a video-based approach, differential equation modeling. It is a further goal to provide short introductions into these fields of research and analysis.
The Workshop is continuing into a Symposium where experiences and projects of research developed along the lines of complexity science are shared and discussed in an open and multidisciplinary way.
Venue of the Workshop & Symposium
The University of Siena (Tuscany, Italy), has a meeting center at the Certosa of Pontignano, close to Siena. It is an idyllic medieval charterhouse converted into a meeting and study retreat centre with all the appropriate facilities:
The Certosa offers meeting space as well as accommodation and a restaurant at very affordable prices.
Consistence with goals of SPR
The main goal of SPR and its regional chapters is to encourage the development of scientific research on psychotherapy, to foster the communication, understanding, and use of research findings. It is also common understanding that available funds may also be used to support student members specifically, e.g. by the student travel awards. We have realized that many young SPR members have been attracted to topics of complexity science in psychotherapy, this being a major one of the reasons for founding the SIG in the first place.
Topics from the field of complexity have been covered increasingly at recent SPR conferences, especially synchronization phenomena and nonverbal aspects of therapy process. We therefore recognized a definite demand for learning about the methodological underpinnings of such topics.
Wednesday, 24th of April
Arrival of attendees; dinner with semi-informal dinner-lecture TBD
Thursday, 25th of April
Opening of the workshop setting up goals and pathways:
Svenja Taubner, Wolfgang Tschacher, Franco Orsucci
Morning Session: Data Analysis
Wolfgang Tschacher, Bern (nonverbal synchrony, detection of attractors)
Giulio de Felice, Roma (symbolic dynamics and networks)
Johan Kleinbub, Padova (MEA)
Afternoon session: Building Models
Günter Schiepek, Salzburg (synthetic equations, modeling)
Chiara Mocenni, Siena (networks and models)
Omar Gelo, Wien - Lecce (phase transitions)
Friday, 26th of April
Morning session: Translational Clinical Practice
Franco Orsucci, London (semiotic dynamics and translational processes)
Mattias Desmet, Ghent (epistemology of translational processes)
Felicitas Rost, London (clinical research)
Mario Reda, Siena (clinical, theoretical and experimental pathways)
Afternoon session: Sharing Lessons and Questions on Complexity and Human Change
Svenja Taubner (Chair), Wolfgang Tschacher, Franco Orsucci, Felicitas Rost, Mario Reda, Christoph Flückiger, Sergio Salvatore + All
European Chapter of the Society for Psychotherapy Research SPR-EU
Milestones on Complexity Science for Human Change
SPR-Society for Psychotherapy Research & Mind Force Society
Svenja Taubner, Heidelberg
Christoph Flückiger, Zurich
Sergio Salvatore, Lecce
Felicitas Rost, London
Mario Fulcheri, Pescara
Ezio Menoni, Firenze
Other speakers to be defined
Poster session to be defined
- full attendance fee (workshop & symposium)will be of €150
- only the Workshop or only the Symposium the fee is reduced to €100
- students of all levels have a reduced fee of €80 for all the events
your registration is completed with paying the fee to this bank account::
SPR Treuhandkonto/ Corina Aguilar-Raab
IBAN DE11 6725 0020 1003 1184 24
Lodging at the Certosa is very affordable and comfortable within the enchanting landscapes of Tuscany. It can be booked individually at: