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(Nichols & Schwartz, 1998).
1. The communication involves two or more people who have an important
2. The pattern of communication is repeated. Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic
3. The communication involves a “primary negative injunction,” (Nichols &
Schwartz, p. 28) or a command not to do something on threat of punishment.
4. The communication also involves a second abstract injunction also under
threat of punishment that contradicts the primary injunction.
5. A third negative injunction both demands a response and prevents escape,
effectively binding the recipient of the demand.
6. The recipient becomes conditioned to respond, and as a result, the entire
sequence is no longer necessary to maintain the symptom.
For example, a father demands that his son engage in a nightly discussion at the
dinner table. When the child attempts to participate, the father is irritated that his
dinner is interrupted. The father is then critical of his son’s lack of conversation.
The son is caught in a bind since both his attempt to talk and his silence are
punished. For the child, the meaning of communication becomes unclear and he
develops a disordered style of communication that is labeled schizophrenia.
During that same period Milton Erickson proposed radical new ways to change
“psychiatric” symptoms and problems. The prevailing theoretical assumption
was that symptoms stemmed from deep psychological problems. “Curing” the
problem required that patients gain insight into the unconscious impulses
governing their behavior. By contrast, Erickson, focused on the specific
symptoms and problems presented by the patient. He believed first, that people
had the ability to solve their own problems if they could be induced to try new
behaviors; second, that change could be swift rather than a long arduous process;
and finally, that the patient’s own natural resistance to change could, ironically,
be used to bring about change. As a hypnotherapist, he developed many
ingenious techniques for “getting people to do something different in the context
of the old behavior, or...
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- Spring '09