Richard Hill and Matthew Dahlitz talk about complex systems. Here are some of the definitions that Richard talks about – from his book The Practitioner’s Guide to Mirroring Hands: A Client-Responsive Therapy that Facilitates Natural Problem-Solving and Mind-Body Healing (Crown House Publishing Ltd, 2017).

Complex System

Many parts are interconnected and interdependent and the whole that arises from the complexity is more that the individual parts of the system.

Non-linear system

The output, outcome, or resulting experience is not directly proportional to the input because of the unknowable combined effect of the interconnections and interdependencies of all the other parts of the system.


Chaos in a complex system is sensitive to the initial conditions. When the initial conditions change by even a small amount, large effects can be felt elsewhere in the system.


Attractors are points of influence in a system that can alter the pattern of flow withing the system and the predictability of the system’s end state.


Emergence is when new properties, qualities, and features are actualized through natural self-organisation where elements of a complex system interact and interconnect.


Self-organization is the spontaneous creation of order in a complex system. Order arises from an initially disordered system in relation to fundamental and organizing principles. The process is spontaneous and occurs without needing control by an external agent.


Feedback is a circular process in which a system’s emergent output, in addition to external introductions, is returned or “fed back” into the system as “new” input.

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