The theory of personality system interactions (PSI Theory)

The PSI Theory, developed by Julius Kuhl in 2001, subsumes salient hypotheses from different personality theories, integrating psychological and neurobiological research findings. In the model of action control, the PSI Theory describes four central systems that are vital for controlling action and hence the achievement of personal goals.

Our brain is highly complex and provided with a multitude of the most differing individual functions that are largely widely distributed over different cerebral areas. Nevertheless, there are networks that perform very specific functions. To make this complexity somewhat more concrete, we have taken the liberty of simplifying the processes a little and will here concentrate on the co-operation between four very central functional areas in your brain that exemplify the process of digesting and learning. Sustainable learning and action resulting from it are only possible when both hemispheres of your brain work together smoothly and thus also the four major areas of intuitive behaviour control, object recognition, holistic processing and strategic networking, described in the following.

The left hemisphere of your brain processes information above all step by step, one item after the other. The left hemisphere of the brain processes numbers, signs, letters and facts in particular. By contrast, the right hemisphere of the brain can process a great deal of different information at the same time and thus very rapidly. It specializes in processing extensive and complex information simultaneously, e.g. images, music or experiences from the environment. For this topic, please also look at our explanatory film from our Coaching Campus Offers.

So that you can understand which systems we refer to in our coaching, we will simplify the action control model as follows.

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Conscious thought, planning, analyzing and development of action steps, control over intention memory Intention Memory (IM)
Creative problem solving, fi nding ideas, processing feedback results, regulation, coordination and action from the overview Extension Memory (EM)
Detail oriented perception, analyzing and collation of result, failure analysis
Object Recognition System (ORS)
Intuitive programmes, routines, spontaneous realization Intuitive Behavioral Control System (IBCS)

For more information please click on the sections of the illustration.


For more information please click on the sections of the illustration.

How do we utilize this knowledge for COLOUREM®?

In COLOUREM®, four coloured ground anchors serve to explain the different functions of the individual systems and their interaction in concrete spatial terms, to make them come alive motorically and emotionally and become conscious. One of our salient topics is self-regulation through emotional regulation: crucial for self-regulation are above all the interactions between the ‘self’ (manager), which processes information in a parallel and holistic way and whose activity is perceptible in the form of moods in the background of consciousness, the ‘ego’ (planner), which processes information in a sequential and analytical way in the foreground of consciousness, and the ‘controller’, which signals by negative emotion that something is wrong. The activity of the ‘self’ or ‘self-access’ in consciousness is a necessary precondition for identifying authentic goals and solutions to problems.

The ‘correct’ use of our information-processing systems in the brain is essentially contingent on our capacity to control the increase or decrease of positive and negative emotions ourselves, i.e. to influence them actively. This competence can be termed emotion management.

Dynamic Skill Theory

The ‘Dynamic Skill Theory’, developed by Kurt W. Fischer (Harvard University) in 1980, essentially illustrates the parallel development of individual, initially fragmented functions and competences in the dynamic interaction with their environment, considering personal development via different grades of differentiation and levels of integration.

The 13 levels and 4 tiers of development in Fischer’s skill theory.


(adapts from Fischer, K., & Yan, Z. (2002). The development of dynamic skill theory. Conceptions of development: Lessons from the laboratory, 279-312.)

Learn more about the theory of dynamic skills

How do we utilize this knowledge for COLOUREM®?

An understanding of the neuro-functional dynamism of learning and brain development forms the foundations of COLOUREM®. Authentic self-development can only occur in a dynamic process with the inclusion of knowledge about competence development. It is known from neuropsychology that our brain only forms or reforms structures when we are either emotionally moved and/or actively use something repeatedly. So, we acquire new competences in dealing with the social context and our environment. Hence, individual skills and insights are not isolated building blocks, but function together in a complex structure and in reciprocal exchange. So, every competence necessitates the existence of other competences in order to grow in dynamic interaction.

In COLOUREM®, we exploit knowledge about long-term learning and development processes requiring the complex interaction between all systems in order to achieve sustainable results and hence stable integration. ColouRem® helps to reveal, expand and consolidate existing potentials with the goal of guiding the personality towards growth and maturity.

The 8-stage Personality Theory by Erik Erikson

Although Erik Erikson (Berkeley and Harvard University) is ranked among the so-called Freudian psychologists and in his 8-stage theory, like Freud, includes differing stages of development, his theoretical considerations go beyond adolescence into advanced adult age. Erikson places his focus less purely on instinctive urges or the subconscious, but additionally takes a psychosocial or psycho-historical component into account. Moreover, in his consideration of development he rather proceeds from so-called epigenetic stages, i.e. from a sequence in which coping with a development task and learning at one stage act as the foundation for the next stage. His theory postulates that any development task in itself may be linked to conflicts and crises and that sometimes no complete coping takes place at one stage, but that as complete a coping as possible with the development task at one stage facilitates entry to the next stage.

Read more about the 8-stage Personality Theory by Erik Erikson


(adapts from Erikson, E. H. (1994). Identity and the life cycle. WW Norton & Company.)

How do we utilize this knowledge for COLOUREM®?

One of the most important characteristics of our system of the self is its permanent ability to form and develop (neuro-plasticity). In the course of the COLOUREM® process, we observe a person’s development biography and ‘self’. Self-constructs and self-representations emerge in a dynamic exchange between one’s own genetic dispositions and the respective environment. Conflicts and crises registered in the course of COLOUREM® may provide indications of stages of development that may not have been completely mastered.


Psycho-Kinesiology proceeds from the assumption that biographical experiences are stored in the subconscious. If traumatic experiences are not dealt with, but suppressed or separated (‘emotional splitting’), they cannot rise to the surface for conscious treatment. This frequently causes physical symptoms or mental and behavioural disorders. This way, patterns from the past determine the present.
With the aid of psycho-kinesiology, subconscious programmes, acquired patterns of behaviour and deeply rooted non-physiological belief systems can be identified and treated.

Coaching uses the kinesiological muscle test (myostatic test) as a tool of communication to discover subconscious stress factors disturbing or irritating the mental/emotional balance. The kinesiological muscle test is an examination of the normal functioning of the neuro-muscular regeneration or adaptability of the neuro-muscular system. The brain is linked to the muscles of the body via nerve pathways, so that the latter can respond to stimuli from the brain in the tiniest fraction of a second, even when these stimuli are not perceived consciously. Any form of negative stress, be it mental or physical, triggers off specific electrical stimuli in our brain, which in turn ensure that a biochemical imbalance can emerge. A change in muscle tone (tension) indicates whether specific thoughts, emotions or perceptions have positive or negative effects on the body. It is known from neuro-physiology that words spoken are perceived subconsciously, and interconnections are immediately activated in the brain to the corresponding emotional content. So, kinesiological testing methods may reveal limbic conflicts hitherto hidden from consciousness.

Once the cause of stress has been identified, it is a question of resolving it, decoupling it and stimulating processing and integration. Here, different scientifically tested methods may be applied, facilitating bilateral brain stimulation and hence the linking and networking between both hemispheres of the brain.

How do we utilize this knowledge for COLOUREM®?

The methods of psycho-kinesiology serve to supplement and promote the COLOUREM® process. On the one hand, they enable the dominant, constrictive and usually subconscious emotion and its origin to be identified by the kinesiological muscle test. On the other, kinesiological methods support overcoming inner limitations and forming new neuronal links, thus promoting sustainable self-growth.