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3 styles of therapy
  • management
  • problem solving
  • healing, growth orientation
counseling vs. therapy
  • counseling = educationally-oriented, content-based (what?)
  • therapy = process-based (how?), less direct
1 guarantee of psychosis
Don Jackson''s Communications Theory Primary Precepts

  • One cannot not communicate (all behavior is communication)

  • Communication has a report and commant level

  • To understand one''s communication/behavior, it MUST be seen in context

  • All communicative systems are characterized by rules according to which Homeostasis is maintained and the system preserved

  • All communicative relationships are either symmetrical or complimentary

  • Everyone punctuates our reality in different ways -- behavior and communication is deduced and experienced relative to the epistemology of the observer

  • Problems are maintained within the context of recursive feedback loops or recurrent feedback loops of communication

origin of cybernetics
  • Norbert Weiner
  • Greek word referring to steering, military etiology
  • refers to the way in which feedback and interaction from part of a system inform and influence behavior of another part of the system -- and vice versa
positive and negative feedback
  • part of cybernetics
  • positive amplifies change
  • negative dampens change
Norbert Weiner
  • came up with cybernetics
  • never practiced therapy
  • tendency of a system to bring forth behaviors that serve to maintain status quo
  • tendency of systems to "naturally" maintain status quo for stabilization
  • how the behavior of one influences the behavior of others
  • "I am with you as you are with me as..."
systemic or family rules
unspoken rules in a system that, often rigidly, govern the system and allow or disallow certain behaviors and define the roles of the individuals/parts within
systemic patterns
  • stronger reference to communicative habits/rules
  • primary informer of behavior
  • primary issue that must be addressed to solve problems
  • if pattern interrupted at 2nd order level, behavior must change
1st order change
  • superficial, simple change in a system that does not, itself, change
  • symptomatic behavior change that does not change the rules that govern the system
  • very high relapse
2nd order change
  • complex change in the systemic rules
  • may also include the epiphany "the world is different," not just the symptom
  • always spontaneous
  • no relapse on that issue
1st order cybernetics
  • a simplistic view of relational dynamics and behavior/problems
  • the idea that an observer can observe without influence
  • content-oriented
2nd order cybernetics
  • a more complex, expanded, contextual view of relational dynamics and human behavior/problems
  • the understanding that the observer influences what he/she observes
  • observer is part of the system
  • process-oriented

  • tendency of a system to include the new, change, go a different direction

double bind
  • contradicting messages on different levels leading to a stuck, trance-like state prohibiting healthy change and adjustment
  • Bowenian, MRI, strategic
  • notion that problematic symptoms serve a needed function for the system (most often homeostatic)
integenerational systems (funnel)
  • part of systems that explains/intervenes in behavior from a perspective that systemic rules and processes are passed via generations
  • the notion that one can intervene in a system in many different points and ways and still (potentially) end with the same result
  • the solution to a problem may have nothing to do with the cause
Lyman Wynne
  • rubber fence
  • effects of communication and family roles on Bx - communication deviance with thought disorder
  • pseudohostility
  • pseudomutuality
RD Laing
  • mystification
John Bell
  • Family group therapy ideology's influence on family therapy
Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy

  • network therapy

  • relational justice

  • existential guilt

  • ledger

  • ethical contributions

  • trust

  • loyalties

  • model not AS universal and somewhat less extensive but on exams

Murray Bowen
  • founder of intergenerational family systems
  • Family Therapy in Clinical Practice
  • Menniger Clinic
  • Schizophrenia studies, initially with mother-infant symbiosis
  • oldest sibling from large family
Bowen Family Systems/Intergenerational
  • a structural, normative model
  • family functions as a unitary whole, an organism of itself
  • foundational idea is that behavior is about balancing powerfully opposing forces of individuality and togetherness
  • role of anxiety and emotional neutrality, logic
  • insight oriented
  • normative
  • long term
  • change mostly in session due to increased insight
  • therapist as expert
  • goal:increase differentiation and detriangulation
Goal of BFS

  • increase differentiation and detriangulation

Bowen said you can't understand one's behavior without...
...knowledge of generational patterns going back at least 3 generations
  • used in Bowenian
  • descriptive, schematic diagrams listing family members and their relationships to one another
differentiation of self
  • bowenian concept
  • two levels:
  • 1. intrapersonal/intrapsychic differentiation, intellect governs emotion
  • a. fully able to experience and express emotion
  • b. don't make decisions based on that emotion
  • 2. interpersonal differentiation, relationships
  • a. able to be fully intimate
  • b. relationship not needed for validation
  • healthier in most ways: able to adjust, better parents, better sexual performers, better able to handle stress, manage conflict with others, decision makers, etc...
  • bowen not very hopeful that people make significant leaps in differentiation level from family of origin
description of undifferentiation
  • fusion
  • intellect is flooded with feelings so that objective thinking is difficult/impossible
  • act on feelings
  • echo others when asked what they believe
nuclear family emotional process

  • bowenian

  • formerly called undifferentiated family ego mass

  • all families are emotional systems

  • all family members have feelings

  • all families build rules around expression of feelings

  • reactive dynamics in the family that operate in patterns leading to further emotional reactivity from one to another often leading to fusion and ongoing unhealthy behavior

family projection process
  • bowenian
  • definition: the process by which parents transmit their lack of differentiation to their children
  • parents "select" one child to be object of emotional intensity
  • parents become anxious & overly-concerned about this child
  • This child becomes the least differentiated, other children often go up a level while this child goes down
multi-generational transmission process
  • bowenian
  • definition: process of family projection of problems across generational lines, or from one generation to the next
  • description: examples such as abuse, violence, various disorders (depression, anxiety, phobias)
sibling position
  • bowenian
  • birth order characteristics
  • bowenian
  • definition: when a two-person system (dyad) is under stress, a 3rd party is brought in to deal with the stress (Mom/Dad, child, friend, affair, addiction)
  • The goal of triangles: to reduce the anxiety and tension to preserve equilibrium with 2 way consequences
  • pathological
  • homeostatic effect
  • families made of multiple interlocking triangles
emotional cutoff
  • bowenian
  • definition: the way people deal with unresolved fusion to their family of origin/a way to manage undifferentiation between generations, and/or ongoing anxiety and tension in the family of origin
  • physically move and/or emotionally cutoff
3 things:
  • reflects a problem
  • solves a problem
  • creates a problem (replication)
societal emotional process
  • bowenian
  • definition: society has some of the same forces/processes taking place that occur on the individual and family system level
  • examples: wars (triangles), cold fighting (cut-offs), politics (projection) etc.
pathology in Bowenian
problems result of
  •  emotional fusion
  • increase in the level of emotion and anxiety in the family
  • upset to a fused relationship that has formerly kept the triad stable
  • occur when "vertical" problems passed on from parent to child interact with "horizontal" problems
  • a brief, strategic model
  • typically done in 8-12 meetings
  • out of Palo Alto, California
  • stuck not sick
  • do as little as possible to produce change, then get out of the way
  • clients should get to choose what to discuss
  • founded by Jackson, though he didn't practice it
  • arguably the most purely systemic model
  • functionalism
  • based exclusively on interactional theory
  • subtle and firm but eloquent
  • clients are doing the best they can all the time
  • non-normative - focus is exclusively on what works
  • almost exclusively indirect
  • no focus on notion of cause
  • designed from years of study on paradox in communication and difficulties of change
  • designed to avoid homeostatic behavioral patterns that limit one's behavioral repertoire and ability to change
black box

  • MRI

  • input-output only focus

  • only concerned with behavior between people, not intrapsychic phenomenon

isomorphic change

  • MRI

goal of MRI
  • interupting homeostatic patterns and stopping
  • allowing client to "free themselves in whatever way they choose"
  • do as little as possible to produce change, then get out of the way
  • behave in a way that the system's rules must change
  • in a minimalistic, indirect manner, interrupt current pattern and expand your client(s) behavioral repertoire to problem situation to allow for adjustment that works.
  • What works, as defined by the client, is all that matters.
pathology in MRI

  • Redundant failed attempted solutions

  • "more of the same"

primary techniques of MRI brief
  • implication
  • restraint and mild paradox
  • one down stance
  • reframing and framing
  • use client's language
  • interactional adjustment and maneuvarability
  • no negations
  • normalizing
  • bellac ploy

  • MRI technique

  • process level

  • the full use of indirect, subtle communicative behaviors


  • MRI technique

  • instruct people not to change, or to go very slow in changing and sometimes talk about the dangers of change or wonder if client should change

  • intended to have paradoxical effect

one-down stance

  • MRI

  • therapist takes on non-expert role


  • MRI technique

  • finding more useful or beneficial ways to think of situations


  • MRI technique

  • all behavior addressed as normal (since it makes sense in context)

  • interactional model idea and homeostasis defeating

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