The application of general systems theory and communication theory to
psychiatric thinking (part II)
Theoretical concepts, derived from systems and communication theory as explained in part one, are applied in a description of therapeutic communication (part two). In this description Haley's views (Haley, 1963) on hypnosis, directive-, non-directive-, and family therapy are summarized. In spite of the large differences in theoretical background and techniques between these different therapies, the common elements, the therapeutic paradoxes, are isolated:
- the use of the metacomplementary position by the therapist,
- the benevolent ordeal,
- the technique of (overtly or covertly) prescribing the symptom.
In the final discussion the advantages and limitations of the above frame of reference are indicated. Throughout the paper it is argued that this frame of reference leaves room for other theoretical positions and that theories should be judged in the first place on their practical applicability. An attempt is made to summarize the different ways in which the technique of prescribing the symptom can operate from a cybernetic and communicative point of view.