Chaos and Complexity: Implications for Psychological Theory and Practice / Edition 1

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The nature of this book is to emphasize the inherent complexity and richness of the human experience of change. Now, the author believes there to be an acceptable "scientific" explanation for this phenomona. Explored here are 30 years of studies to describe nonlinear dynamics, today termed either chaos theory or complexity theory. The connotations of both theories are discussed at length. Offering social scientists validation in their attempts to describe and define phenomona of a previously ineffable nature, this book explores chaos' implications for psychology and the social sciences. It describes the benefits psychology can glean from using ideas in chaos theory and applying them to psychology in general, individual psycho-therapy, couples therapy, and community psychology, and also considers possible directions for research and application.

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Editorial Reviews

Begins by describing the basic notions in chaos and complexity theory, and showing how most of the central fields of psychology are advanced by nonlinear dynamics. The author then takes these theories one step further in their psychological application, putting forward original hypotheses regarding several syntheses of others' work, the notion of time in development and theory, symbolic or metaphorical processes, and novel ideas about coherence in human life forms. For both clinicians and academics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560324195
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 271
  • Sales rank: 942,612
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Chaos and Complexity: Psychology's New Friends? 3
Ch. 2 Cognition, Chaos, and Complexity: A Continuum of Cooperation 27
Ch. 3 Chaos and Complexity: Intrinsic Patterns in Development 51
Ch. 4 Pathology: Linearity or Chaos? 71
Ch. 5 Perceptions of the Growth Process: Seeing Is Believing 85
Ch. 6 Chaos and the Quandary of the Psychological Self 103
Ch. 7 The Storms of Change: Implications for Individual Therapy 121
Ch. 8 Intimate Chaos and Complexity 153
Ch. 9 Patterns of Relations: Self-Similarity Across Dimensions and the Importance of Coherence 175
Ch. 10 Contextual Concerns and Chaos From a Cultural Perspective 205
Ch. 11 Integration of Symbols and Meaning: The Dawning of a New Unification 215
Ch. 12 The Emergence of a New Culture and the Myth in the Distance 227
References 241
Endnotes 261
Index 265
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Interviews & Essays

From the Author

Favorable Review. While the book is rather new -- that is in review circles -- it has already been favorably reviewed and I would like to share the review summary with prospective readers. The reviewer is Allan Combs, an individual wel-known in the field of nonlinear dynamics and psychology for his fairminded and astonishing grasp of the difficult material within the field. The review was published in the journal Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences in January of 1999, and this journal is the field's own worst critic -- a welcome addition to the array of journals covering this topic.

Combs' review of the book is quite favorable, but throughout he highlights the critical points laid out in the text, and does so with great accuracy. Combs' comments on the book are as follows: 'It offers rewarding fare for the sophisticated reader, a dense but lush introduction to the field of chaos theory and psychology for an intelligent lay reader, and an excellent general resource for undergraduate and graduate students alike.' Combs' review is the best review out thus far, and not without its criticisms amid favorable statements like those above. As the author, it is my preference to offer reviews that seem to capture my work, and leave it to prospective readers to find whether they wish to pursue the text further once provided this information. I am happy with the final product, and it is one I hope readers will find enchanting, cautiously optimistic and all the while challenging.
— Michael R. Butz, Ph.D. (, the Author

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