Publication 5697

Watzlawick P. & Poerksen B. (2004) Reality: We can only know what it is not: Paul Watzlawick on the axioms of communication, on the hidden realism of psychiatric diagnoses, and on the constructivist vision of human existence. In: Poerksen B. (ed.) The certainty of uncertainty: Dialogues introducing constructivism. Imprint Academic, Exeter: 173–191. Fulltext at
Excerpt: Shortly after his arrival in the USA, Watzlawick started to work as a research associate of the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto – an Institute whose members had implemented, both in their therapeutic work and in its systematic investigation, the general insights of Gregory Bateson and Don D. Jackson concerning the essential character of insane and pathological behaviour. In 1967 Watzlawick began to teach at Stanford University, was active as therapist and communication scientist, advised companies and concerns, and in his books described paradoxes and snares in communication. These publications demonstrate, in particular, the practical consequences of constructivist and systemic thinking: one realises how conceptions arise that lead to suffering, how they become rigid, and how they may be – owing to successful intervention – liquefied and dissolved again.

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