Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Updating the descriptive biopsychosocial approach to fit into a formal person-centered dynamic coherence model - Part I: Some few basics.

Thomas Frölich, F F Bevier, A Babakhani, H H Chisholm, P Henningsen, D S Miall, S Sandberg, A Schmitt


The current biopsychosocial model is predominantly descriptive and ontological semantic and formal issues need to be integrated to it in order to update this approach. Covering aspects of both human biology and human personhood requires the level of discretised facts, the level of underlying coherences and their meaning to be taken into account. For the intended and needed update to the biopsychosocial approach, the resulting model must be congruent with both science and humanities. Prevailing models of health/illness and resultant beliefs have considerable power to define which experience of sickness is valid, and who is alleviated from suffering. As a corollary, the responsibility to be as critical, and careful as possible when accepting, using, or developing, a model of human health and the development of illness is imperative. We propose that one way to address this responsibility is to formalise the most insightful and theoretically promising concept of health and the development of illness to date, George Engel’s „biopsychosocial model“ (BPS) [1]. The intention is to inform and influence healthcare research and practice towards more practicable and beneficent treatment of people within the healthcare and allied systems. The groundwork for this is presented in part I and it differentiates this paper from any other so far on the BPS. A new perspective on ancient philosophy helps to avoid separating topics that are indistinguishable, and compounding topics that should be addressed separately. Part II and part III apply this foundation to more specific issues in person-centred healthcare.


Actuality, biopsychosocial model, discretisation, dynamic coherence providers (DCPs), epistemology, formalisation of meaning, hermeneutics, humanities, informatics, narratology, non-Cartesian approach, ontology, personal individuality

Full Text:



Engel, G.L. (1977). The need for a new medical model: A challenge for biomedicine. Science 196, 129-136. doi: 10.1126/science.847460

Robinson, G.C. (1939). The Patient as a Person: A Study of the Social Aspects of Illness. New York, The Commonwealth Fund.

Brown, T.M. (2000). The rise and fall of American Psychosomatic Medicine. [Lecture] New York Academy of Medicine. 29t h November 2000. Available at:

Damasio, A.R. (1994). Descartes’ Error .Avon Books, G. P. Putnam's &Sons New York.

Schmitt, A. (2011). Denken und Sein bei Platon und Descartes. Universitatsverlag Winter, Heidelberg.

Descartes, R. (1911). Philosophical Works. Translated by Haldane E.S. & Ross, G.R.T. Cambridge University Press, London. Available at:

Olveira, G. (2014). Substanz denken - philosophische Untersuchungen zu Aristoteles und A. N. Whitehead. Verlag Dr. Kovac, Hamburg.

Knaup, M. (2015). Leib und Seele oder mind and brain? Zu einem Paradigmenwechsel im Menschenbild der Moderne. Verlag Karl Alber, Freiburg im Breisgau.

Aristotle, Metaphysics, available at:

Bevier, F.F. (2002). Die Physik der Information, bussole InformationsVerlag, Winden.

Bevier, F.F. & Frohlich, T. (2014). Grundlagen der Informationsmathematik. An attempt to describe information in a mathematical way. Researchgate, Technical Report, available at:, DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1270.5606/1

Hamilton-Wieler, S. (1988). The Fallacy of Decontextualisation. Indiana University, Education Resources, Indianopolis. Available at:

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, New York.

Sandberg, S., Paton. J., Ahola. S., McCann. D.C., McGuinness, D., Hillary, C.R. & Oja, H. (2000). The role of acute and chronic stress in asthma attacks in children. Lancet 356, 982-987



  • There are currently no refbacks.