Publication 6885

Barnes G. (2001) Voices of sanity in the conversation of psychotherapy. Kybernetes 30(5/6): 526–550. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/6885
Addresses the problem of psychotherapy coming to understand itself formally as a conversation in which healing of distortions and breakdowns in communication occurs. The paper proposes making concepts the basis for the psychotherapy conversation by linking psychotherapy to second-order cybernetics and utilizing Pask’s conversation theory. The first part describes cybernetics as the context for the study of the distortions and breakdowns in communication. The second part discusses conversation theory as a formal description of the procedures of psychotherapy, as a way to converse in psychotherapy, as a way to talk about psychotherapy and as a way to change the conversation of psychotherapy. The final part discusses four distinctive characteristics of the evolving conversation of psychotherapy where psychotherapy composes itself as a conversation. These characteristics are what psychotherapy is (its definition), what it is about (its object), how it proceeds (its methods), and what it is for (its value).

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