Posts filed under ‘Interactional View’

The Interactional View Class Notes

“The belief that one’s own view of reality is the only reality that is the most dangerous of all.” — Paul Watzalwick

Family system – a self-regulating interdependent network of feedback loops guided by member rules; the behavior of each person affects and is affected by the behavior of another

View – leans toward interpretive/scientific

Tradition – cybernetic tradition

Paul Watzalwick b. 1921

Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher

Inspired by antrhopologist Gregory Bateson

Scientific contributions include:

  • Works on radical constructivism
  • “Double Blind” Theory of Schizophrenia
  • Works on Communication Theory – 4 Axioms of Interpersonal Communication

The family as a system

Relationships are complex functions that link multiple variables (characteristics, events, etc.) to each other

Each person inside the family plays a role in how other family members react

The system focuses more on the “how” the behavior affects members instead of “why” the person behaves in such a way.

Fresno State Professor of Counseling Dan Smith says the family system idea deemphasizes the blaming of all the family’s problems on one person and with proper identification of problems, a change for the better can actually occur.

Axioms of Interpersonal Communication

One cannot NOT communicate

Symptom strategy: ascribing our silence to something beyond our control that renders communication justifyably impossible

  • “I wouldn’t mind talking to you, but something stronger than I, for which I cannot be blamed, prevents me.”

The interactional View in a family strives for “family homeostatis”

  • The tacis collusion of family members to maintain the status quo.

Communication = content + relationship

Content – the report part of a message; what is said verbally

Relationship – the command part of the message; how it’s said nonverbally

Relational aspect of interaction is considered metacommunication or communication about communication.

The nature of relationship depends on how both parties punctuate the communication sequence.

  • Interpreting an ongoing sequence of events by labeling one event as the course and the following event as the response

All communication is either symmetrical or complementary

  • Symmetrical interchange: interaction based on eqal power
  • Complementary interchange: interaction based on accepted difference of power
  • One-up (attempted domination), one-down (attempted submission), one-across (believing of powers)

Reframing – the process of instituting change by stepping outside of a situation and reinterpreting what it means

Sudden “aha!” moment when looking at things in a new light

Critique: Pros

Axioms stand as base for interpersonal communication

More people are taking the axioms and applying them to their lives

Critiques: Cons

Vagueness of the family systems

First Axiom: we cannot NOT communicate


October 11, 2010 at 4:59 am Leave a comment