Education Psychology University

The Process of Change – A New Way to Psychotherapy

Register now for the study program at the University of Basel

Have you ever wondered if there is a psychotherapy that integrates the best interventions from different schools of psychotherapy, applies them in a context- and situation-specific way, and is scientifically validated to be effective? Then perhaps process-based psychotherapy might just be something for you.

What is “process-based psychotherapy”?

Process-based psychotherapy addresses the question of how to initiate and support change processes in a context-specific manner using evidence-based interventions to help clients achieve lasting resolution of mental health problems, reduce symptoms and disorders, and improve quality of life and functioning. The therapeutic conversation and the therapeutic relationship serve as the foundation for promoting and supporting change processes in an evidence-based, moment-to-moment manner.

Process-based psychotherapy is the further development of disorder- or method-specific approaches, focusing on the mechanisms of action of clinically-relevant changes from research and practice. Accordingly, attention is directed to the psychological processes that promote flexibility in human behaviour across the board.

What exactly helps this person in their life context to achieve and maintain change?

In the therapeutic process, this is to be worked out, clarified, and implemented emotionally, cognitively, reflectively, motivationally, and behaviorally in contact with the clients, also taking into account physiological, social, cultural and societal conditions. Process-based psychotherapy thus involves a conceptual paradigm shift towards the central psychological mechanisms and processing that influence the behaviour and experience of clients both within and outside of psychotherapy.

So, what exactly do you learn in “process-based psychotherapy”?

First, we learn the theoretical and conceptual background of process-based psychotherapy, as well as the scientific foundations that are central to the therapeutic stance and approach. This includes, for example, behavioral analysis or psychiatric diagnostics but also practical matters such as dealing with digital possibilities, insurance issues and administration.

In the second part, effective strategies, and interventions for influencing basic and central processes of human experience and behavior are taught, which can be applied across disorders and problems. Process-relevant interventions from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness-based therapy (MBT), compassion-focused therapy (CFT), and others are taught and practiced.

Further, we will learn specific contexts of applicability based on different populations: Psychotherapy across the lifespan (children, adolescents, adults, aging) and in different settings (individual, couple, family, group) and with different minorities (migration, LGBTQIA*). Somatic influencing factors (e.g., addictive substances, food, exercise) and the importance of critical life events (e.g., adaptation processes after serious illness, loss, separation, death, unfulfilled childbearing, job loss, and others) on mental health will also be included.

The program is complemented on one hand by workshops, which take place regularly and parallel to the modules. These workshops offer topics from research and clinical practice and are taught in the form of lectures and group work. On the other hand, the participants’ own clinical work, supervision and self-experience are, of course, a central part of the advanced studies.

Interested? Register now!

The Master of Advanced Studies in Process-Based Psychotherapy is aimed at psychologists with a master’s degree in psychology or physicians with a state examination/master’s degree in human medicine who are seeking a federally recognized specialist title in psychotherapy. You’ll find more info at the website of the University of Basel or you can directly register for online information events via Google Forms. The registration window for 2023 is open as of now.

Article Psychology

Music And The Brain: Is The Mozart Effect Real?

Can you become smarter by listening to Mozart’s music?

The Mozart Effect is a theory which states that listening to Mozart’s music can improve your intelligence, more specifically your spatial reasoning skills. It originated from a research study conducted by Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky, and administered on 36 college students in 1993, where they were subjected to three listening settings followed by a series of tests. One listening condition consisted of listening to Mozart’s double piano sonata K448, the other to relaxation audios, and finally a period of silence. They were then asked to solve one of three standard tests of abstract spatial reasoning. It has been concluded that the participants’ IQ increased by 8 – 9 points for the spatial part of the Stanford-Binet IQ test. The effect, however, only lasted for 10-15 minutes after listening to Mozart (Rauscher et al 1993). 

The claim became popular after the New York Times published an article about how listening to Mozart’s classical music makes children’s general IQ higher, which created a huge misconception about the study and created a mini-industry where families rushed to buy Mozart CDs in order to make their children smarter and better at school. In 1998, the misconception was further taken to a political level when Georgia’s governor Zell Miller launched a program, with a budget of $105,000 yearly, to distribute classical music CDs to every new born baby in his state (Holden 1998). This shows how easy misconceptions can reproduce and be shared as facts by the media and the general public, so it is important to stay vigilant on the sources of the information we read and share. 

To dive deeper into how true the Mozart Effect claim is, we need to discuss other experiments and their attempt at replicating the study. In 1996, a British study that was conducted on 8000 children showed that the effect is not directly related to Mozart’s classical songs, but to whichever type of music the person prefers. The study is known as “the Blur effect” due to the fact that the participants scored better on the spatial tasks when they listened to their preferred songs of Blur compared to when they listened to Mozart. This shows that the positive improvements enjoyed after listening to music have little to do with the music itself, and so much with the listener’s preferences and the feelings evoked from the act (Schellenberg and Hallam 2005). 

As a conclusion, listening to Mozart’s double piano sonata K448 will most likely have no effect on your general intelligence. However, listening to your favourite songs is shown to produce positive effects in terms of attention and alertness, and that is due to the positive emotions you would experience through the music, which in turn leads to a better performance, especially in visual-spatial reasoning tasks. 


Hetland L. 2000. Listening to music enhances spatial-temporal reasoning: Evidence for the “Mozart effect.” The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34(3/4), 105–148.

Holden C. 1998. Mozart for Georgia newborns. Science 279 (5352): 663.

Rauscher FH, Shaw GL and Ky, KN. 1993. Music and spatial task performance. Nature, 365: 611.

Schellenberg, E.G., & Hallam, S. (2005). “Music listening and cognitive abilities in 10 and 11 year olds: The Blur effect”