Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 19, Iss. 1, January, 2015, pp. 13-39
@2015 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Pathway to Psychological Change from the Structural Stability Theory

Roger Cerf, Universite de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France

Abstract: We show that a path not yet considered exists in the parameter space of the cusp catastrophe that constitutes a ”target-trajectory,” along which psychological change may be achieved in a variety of situations by taking advantage of the protagonists” resistance. The parameters Pathogen - the pathogenic agent - and Therapy, or Dissent and Remedy, are used depending on whether the theory is applied to psychotherapy or conflict, respectively. This proposed target-trajectory offers: (a) conditions optimised in therapy with regard to the intrinsic limitations for the reduction of a patient”s pathogenic agent, and in conflict with regard to the ”red-lines” of the protagonists, and (b) the benefit of a step of rapid decrease in the potential barrier to change. Questions raised concern the benefit that a patient may obtain from performing his cognitive task in psychotherapy with minimal requirement for the reduction of his pathogen, and the role that a step of rapid decrease in a potential barrier may play in decision-making, in particular when it comes to end a conflict. The argument is developed in detail for psychoanalytic resistance, relying on principles and procedures described in numerous texts of psychoanalysis. The theory deals with scaling laws - power laws - rather than strict equalities.

Keywords: emergence, resistance, psychoanalysis, conflict, decision