Wolfgang Tschacher

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wolfgang Tschacher

Wolfgang Tschacher (* 1956 in Hohengehren , Germany ) is a Swiss psychologist and university professor . He is a professor at the University of Bern and best known for his system-theoretical research on psychotherapy and psychopathology , especially from a cognitive science perspective and taking into account self-organization theory and synergetics . He develops time series analytical methods for modeling psychotherapeutic processes.

At the center of his research are embodiment , non-verbal synchronicity in social interaction and the relationship between body and mind in general: dualism has not been overcome, it is all about how to deal with it. I doubt any kind of reductionism , be it constructivism or a reduction that seeks to reduce the mind and experience in psychotherapy to brain processes. Embodiment, on the other hand, means taking body processes seriously without naturalizing the mind. Empirical findings in recent years show that the body influences the therapeutic alliance in different ways: therapeutic communication is embodied in the form of synchrony. Synchrony, the significant correlation between the motor and physiological patterns of the client and therapist in the therapy session, is closely related to the process and outcome of therapy. Embodiment is one of the general active factors of psychotherapy.


After studying psychology with a psychiatry internship in New York (Veterans Administration Hospital, Montrose, NY), a few semesters of philosophy at the University of Tübingen and his doctorate in psychology (1990), he first worked as a family therapist and research assistant in Tübingen. In 1992 he took up the position of head of research at the Social Psychiatric University Clinic (SPK) in Bern (Switzerland). In 2002 he founded the Department of Psychotherapy at the University Psychiatric Services Bern (UPD).

Wolfgang Tschacher was one of the initiators of the Society for Mind-Matter Research and is currently a board member. From 2007 to 2010 he was President of the European Chapter of the Society for Psychotherapy Research (SPR). He is a founding member of the ethics committee of the Canton of Bern . In 2018 he was a Fellow of the Freiburg Institute of Advanced Studies ( FRIAS ) at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau . He is the father of three sons and lives in Bern.


Together with Günter Schiepek and Ewald Johannes Brunner, he founded the Autumn Academy conference series in 1990 on the subject of synergetics , systems theory and embodiment in psychology and social science. Up to 2019, 20 autumn academies were held with the participation of Hermann Haken , on topics such as Embodied Cognition (2000) in Ascona with Andy Clark , Thomas Metzinger and Esther Thelen or Embodied Aesthetics (2017) at the University of Heidelberg with Thomas Fuchs , Vittorio Gallese , Hartmut Rosa , Winfried Menninghaus and others.

In his post-doctoral thesis «Process Design», Tschacher opens up the dynamic systems and complexity theory for application to various fields of psychology, thereby combining the current discussion with the psychological tradition of Gestalt theory. The dimension of "time" in psychology is the focus of this work. The need to understand psychological issues as processes, as dynamics, is invoked again and again, but rarely consistently taken into account in research and methodology. This deficit should be remedied by the “process forms” through the synthesis of Gestalt psychology and scientific self-organization research. The aim of this approach is to open up the diverse field of dynamic phenomena to empirically conducted psychological research. The “procedural shapes” systematically introduce dynamic theory and methodology and illustrate their potential on the basis of extensive studies (including on psychotherapy research, social psychology and psychiatry).

Starting in 2008, Wolfgang Tschacher and Martin Tröndle investigated the aesthetic perception in the museum experimentally in the project “eMotion - Mapping Museum Experience”. The transdisciplinary research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) focused on the “psychogeographic” effect of the works of art on the viewer's experience. The continuous collection of physiological and behavioral data during the museum visit was innovative. The research project "Experimental Concert Research" (beginning of 2019) initiated by Martin Tröndle and funded by the Volkswagen Foundation extends these art psychological questions to the musical experience and synchronization processes in (classical) concerts.

In the field of psychotherapy and psychiatry Tschacher deals with the implications of the embodiment approach, for example with Karl Friston on the application of predictive coding in schizophrenia research, with Sander Koole and Fabian Ramseyer on non-verbal synchrony in social interaction and psychotherapy.

Tschacher and his team in Bern developed a questionnaire for a comprehensive survey of mindfulness .

He recently worked with Hermann Haken on a Fokker-Planck modeling of psychotherapy processes as the interaction of coincidental and deterministic forces, recorded in the book Tschacher & Haken (2019).


  • W. Tschacher, F. Ramseyer, SL Koole: Sharing the now in the social present: Duration of nonverbal synchrony is linked with personality. In: Journal of Personality. 86, 2018, pp. 129-138.
  • W. Tschacher, F. Giersch, K. Friston: Embodiment and schizophrenia: A review of implications and applications. In: Schizophrenia Bulletin. 43, 2017, pp. 745-753.
  • J. Kriz, W. Tschacher (Ed.): Synergetics as a folder. The structuring effect of Hermann Haken's interdisciplinary ideas. Pabst, Lengerich 2017.
  • M. Storch, W. Tschacher: Embodied Communication. Communication begins in the body, not in the head. 2nd, expanded edition. Hans Huber Publishing House, Bern 2016.
  • SL Koole, W. Tschacher: Synchrony in psychotherapy: A review and an integrative framework for the therapeutic alliance. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 7, 2016, p. 862.
  • W. Tschacher, R. Genner, J. Bryjová, E. Schaller, AC Samson: Investigating vision in schizophrenia through responses to humorous stimuli. In: Schizophrenia Research: Cognition. 2, 2015, pp. 84-88.
  • W. Tschacher, U. Junghan, M. Pfammatter: Towards a taxonomy of common factors in psychotherapy - Results of an expert survey. In: Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy. 21, 2014, pp. 82-96.
  • W. Tschacher, GM Rees, F. Ramseyer: Nonverbal synchrony and affect in dyadic interactions. In: Frontiers in Psychology. 5, 2014, p. 1323.
  • C. Bergomi, W. Tschacher, Z. Kupper: Measuring mindfulness: First steps towards a comprehensive mindfulness scale. In: Mindfulness. 4, 2013, pp. 18-32.
  • W. Tschacher, S. Greenwood, V. Kirchberg, S. Wintzerith, K. van den Berg, M. Tröndle: Physiological correlates of aesthetic perception of artworks in a museum. In: Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts. 6, 2012, pp. 96-103.
  • F. Ramseyer, W. Tschacher: Nonverbal synchrony in psychotherapy: Coordinated body-movement reflects relationship quality and outcome. In: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 79, 2011, pp. 284-295.
  • W. Tschacher, C. Bergomi (eds.): The implications of embodiment: Cognition and communication. Imprint Academic, Exeter 2011.
  • W. Tschacher, H. Haken: Intentionality in non-equilibrium systems? The functional aspects of self-organized pattern formation. In: New Ideas in Psychology. 25, 2007, pp. 1-15.
  • M. Storch, B. Cantieni, G. Hüther, W. Tschacher: Embodiment. Understand and use the interaction between body and mind. Publisher Hans Huber, Bern 2006.
  • W. Tschacher, J.-P. Dauwalder (Ed.): The Dynamical Systems Approach to Cognition. World Scientific, Singapore 2003.
  • W. Tschacher: Process design. The application of self-organization theory and the theory of dynamic systems to problems in psychology. Hogrefe, Göttingen 1997.
  • W. Tschacher, G. Schiepek, EJ Brunner (Eds.): Self-Organization and Clinical Psychology. Empirical Approaches to Synergetics in Psychology. Springer, Berlin 1992.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Tschacher - The power of doubt . In: 40 years of systemic practice and research, 40 years of family dynamics . ( kraft-des-zweifelns.de [accessed on July 1, 2018]).
  2. Process design - Hogrefe, Verlag für Psychologie. Accessed July 1, 2018 (German).
  3. Wolfgang Tschacher, Hermann Haken: The Process of Psychotherapy: Causation and Chance . Springer International Publishing, Cham 2019, ISBN 978-3-03012747-3 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-030-12748-0 ( springer.com [accessed June 10, 2019]).