The Psychological Meaning of Chaos: Translating Theory Into Practice

Pages: 323
Item #: 4317910
ISBN: 978-1-55798-429-6
List Price: $24.95
Member/Affiliate Price: $19.95
Copyright: 1997
Format: Hardcover
Note: This book is out of print and no longer available for purchase.

The Psychological Meaning of Chaos: Translating Theory Into Practice introduces practicing psychologists to the concepts, implications, and applications of the chaos theories that have revolutionized scientists' concept of the physical world over the past 30 years. This new way of seeing—variously called chaos, nonlinear dynamical systems theory, deterministic chaos, and the broader sciences of complexity—stands in sharp contrast to the linear, reductionistic models that have dominated most psychological thinking.

In this new model, unpredictability and instability are accepted as intrinsic to complex systems and essential in any transformative process. Chaos is seen as a healthy and essential part of the creation process, without which new order is impossible. The implications of this new model of systems dynamics for understanding the human change process are enormous.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

—Paul E. Rapp


  1. Introduction: The History, Meaning, and Implications of Chaos and Complexity
    —Phyllis A. Perna and Frank Masterpasqua

I. Self-Organization in Developmental Processes

  1. Toward a Dynamical Developmental Understanding of Disorder
    —Frank Masterpasqua
  2. The Self-Organization of Psychological Defenses
    —Marc D. Lewis and Natalka Junyk
  3. Dynamics of Development in Relationships
    —Alan Fogel and Maria C. D. P. Lyra

II. Chaos, Complexity, and Psychopathology

  1. Regression as Evolutionary Process: A View From Dialectics and Chaos Theory
    —Phyllis A. Perna
  2. Dissociative Disorders in Chaos and Complexity
    —Deborah Derrickson-Kossmann and Lynn Drinkard
  3. Reciprocal Causality and Childhood Trauma: An Application of Chaos Theory
    —Catherine J. Lasser and David S. Bathory

III. Psychotherapy

  1. Complexity and Psychotherapy: Promising Dialogues and Practical Issues
    —Michael J. Mahoney and Amy J. Moes
  2. Systematic Chaos: Self-Organizing Systems and the Process of Change
    —Marc R. Kossmann and Susanna Bullrich
  3. Chaos and Order in the Psychotherapy Group
    —Virginia Brabender
  4. Reflections on the Therapeutic System As Seen From the Science of Chaos and Complexity: Implications for Research and Treatment
    —Phyllis A. Perna
  5. Complex Psychological Systems: Synergetics and Chaos
    —Wolfgang Tschacher and Christian Scheier

Future Directions
—Phyllis A. Perna and Frank Masterpasqua



About the Editors

Reviews & Awards

This edited volume is a timely presentation of the basic concepts from the world of complex dynamical systems, with particular focus upon chaos and autopoesis (self-organization), as applied to the study of human psychological, developmental, interpersonal, and therapeutic processes. The editors have selected an array of chapters notable for impressive range without sacrificing the unity and interpretation of the volume and its primary focus. Many of the writers hail from different sub-disciplines within psychology, and perhaps not surprisingly they deploy systems concepts in sometimes markedly different, if not contradictory, ways…Perna and Masterpasqua provide a concise tour of chaos concepts and terminologies that is immediately accessible to scholars and novices alike…The Psychological Meaning of Chaos will be a welcomed reference text for social scientists and will be viewed in retrospect as an important harbinger of the systems paradigm shift.
—Praxis Review, Spring 1998, Vol 1, No 4