Key Concepts (from Family Therapy Sourcebook)

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From the first chapter in this book

Analogic communication

The nonverbal aspect of communication. (Bateson, 1972)

Autpoiesis

Humberto Maturana combined auto (meaning self) with poiesis (meaning creation) to describe the "autonomous processes that characterize living sysmtes."

Biopyschosocial systems approach

The physician George Engle (1977) developed this approach to viewing the necessary relationship between a person's health and that person's mental and social condition (mind-body connection).

Constructivism

An epistemological paradigm. Constructivists view knowlege as actively constructed by the individual, and although not denying an ontological reality, "deny" the human experiencer the possibility of acquiring a "true representation" of reality (von Glasersfield, 1988).

Control

Bateson believed that no part of a system could have unilateral _______ of that system. Haley viewed the issue of _____ (and power) as central to understanding family dynamics, and therapy as the struggle for control of the relationship. Issues of _____ and power are also very important to femminist thinking and narrative therapy, because both models view inequities of control and power as embedded within political, economic, ethnic, sexual, cultural, and gendered contexts.

Cybernetics

Coined by Norbert Weiner. The science of communication and control in man and machine. Patterns of organization (or systems) maintain stability and control through levels of feedback.

Digital communication

Verbal content of a communication transaction.

Double bind theory

Bateson. Communication that seemed to provoke characteristics of schizophrenizia. Necessary components:
1. Two or more people, one of whom is designated as the "victim."
2. The double bind is a recurring theme in the experience of the victim.
3. The victim is caught in a situation where the other person is sending contradictory or incongreutn messages that are both enforced by punishment or signals that threaten survival.
4. The victim cannot escape the field and cannot comment on the incongruence of the messages expressed (Weakland).

Ecological Approach

As developed by E. G. Auerswald, this approach takes a holistic view that stresses the importance of working with families within their neighborhood setting and including all members of the community sytem, from professionals to extended families, to community figures to community institutions.

Epistemology

The science (or theory) of methods of knowledge and answers the question "What is knowing?"

Family Life Cycle

The progression of the family unit through nodal events or transitional periods. Nodal events often require the family to rewrite family rules or renegotiate family roles in order to remain functional.

Feedback

Information that produces action in response to change in a system.

Hermeneutics (or exegesis)

The activity of understanding achieved through the interpretation of texts.

Homeostasis

The notion that families develop recurring interactional patterns to maintain stability and balance, especially in times of stress. (Don jackson)

Information

As defined by Bateson (1972) _______ is "a difference which makes a difference."

Marital schism

Spouses who are unable to achieve role reciprocity due to preoccupation with their own problems.

Marital skew

A marital relationship in which one spouse is viewed as strong and the other as weak.

Metaphor

A device for seeing something in terms of something else. It brings out the thisness of a that, or the thatness of a this.

Morphogenesis

The process by which a system changes its structure to adapt to new contexts.

Morphostasis

A system's tendency toward stability and dynamic equilibrium and the ability of a system to maintain stability in the context of change.

Negative restraints

Cybernetic explanations offer _______ and provide logical proofs through elimating all choices but one. For example, a person placing a jigsaw puzzle piece is restrained by the shape of the other pieces to select only one piece.

Psuedohostility

The use of superficial anger to mask family members' needs for intimacy and affection or deeper issues of chronic conflict and alienation.

Pseudomutuality

These families fail to establish a strong sense of personal identity since the predominate family theme is togetherness. Efforts to establish an individual identity are viewed as a threat to the family and discouraged.

Recursiveness

The repeating connectedness of a process.

Report

The ____ aspect of a message conveys information or data and is synonymous with the content of the message.

Rubber fence

How psychotic and schizophrenic families resist outside influences.

Rules

Repeated communication patterns that serve to stabilize family relationships.

Second-order cybernetics or Cybernetics of cybernetics.

Heinz von Foerster conceived _____ as the cybernetics of observing systems. There can be no independent observer of a system because any observer is a participant who both influences and is influenced by that system.

Second-order family therapy

An approach that truly respects second-order cybernetics such that the therapist is always reflexively and collaboratively involved with that system. (Hoffman)

Social constructionism

Knowing and knowledge are socially constructed through language and discourse and are context dependent. (Ken Gergen)

Structural determinism

The structure of the system acts to self-maintain the organization of the system.

System

A complex of interacting components. (von Bertalanffy). It is an invention used to describe regularities or redundant patterns we observe between people and other phenomena.

Trance

Was viewed by Erickson as both an ordinary and clinical phenomenon in which a person's attention is focused and he or she is able "to utilize the competencies that exist within him/her at both a psychological level and physiological level.

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