Modern Family Therapy : Gregory Bateson 's Work With Communication Therapy Essay

1191 WordsOct 2, 20165 Pages
Modern family therapy was seeded by Gregory Bateson’s work with communication therapy. The Bateson Project members were particularly interested in communications systems. The application of cybernetics to communication, and the framework of general systems theory led his group to essentially begin family therapy. Communication was (and is) an easily detected gauge of interpersonal relationships; communication is relayed in all interpersonal transactions. It is, however, not always verbal. Furthermore, communication can be constructive or destructive. As Paul Watzlawick, a member of Bateson’s camp determined: one cannot not communicate. The presence of indirect communication is crucial for therapists to recognize, analyze, and often, address. Family counseling, indeed, all counseling, involves emotional communication, and being cognizant of this hidden level of communication can often cut to the heart of presenting issues. Bateson stated in 1951 that all communication has two levels. These levels are the report function, and the command function (Nichols, 2013). A report is overt and implicit-it tells the listener some information; the second is covert, and implies some sort of action is expected to be taken. This second message is known as metacommunication; meaning it relays a message about a message. Further application of system theory to communication involved the idea that families are governed by family rules and maintained homeostasis within the family via positive

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