Publication 774

Keeney H. & Keeney B. (2012) Circular therapeutics: Giving therapy a healing heart. Zeig, Tucker, & Theisen, Inc, Phoenix AZ.
Circular Therapeutics offers a groundbreaking contribution to the application of second order cybernetics and radical constructivism to the performance of psychotherapy. Drawing the distinction between interactivity and narrativity, the Keeneys re-emphasize and expound upon the most important contribution of second order cybernetics to change-oriented interaction: inclusive circularity (bringing the therapist more inside circular interaction). When cybernetic epistemology is embodied in therapeutic performance, therapists act improvisationally, allowing circularly organized interaction rather than interpretive knowing to guide their participation in therapeutic change. This way of “acting in order to know how to act next” becomes the heart of change-oriented performance. The authors trace the history of cybernetic thinking in family therapy, including discussion of the field’s (mis)handling of Gregory Bateson’s ideas. The case is made for abandoning predetermined therapy models, including those that claim to be cybernetic or systemic, as they limit our capacity to interact without benefit of an imposed and presupposed interpretation. Relevance: Klaus Krippendorf writes that “Circular Therapeutics transcends that disconnect and offers compelling accounts of what cybernetics can do when actually embodied in the practices of living.”
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