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Unformatted text preview: y creative transformations and prevent the symptom from spiraling into
chronic behavior patterns. That is, how does a therapist prevent morphostasis
and encourage morphogenesis? It is important that therapists not interpret
conflict or apparent dysfunction as an omen of impending disaster, but rather
“that pressure toward a new and more complex integration is mounting” (p. 55).
Understanding various aspects of communication and the affect of messages is
also important. Hoffman discusses the related concepts of paradoxical
injunctions and double and simple bind communication. Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic
A paradoxical injunction is a statement “that intrinsically contradicts itself
unless teased apart into a ‘report ‘ level and a ‘how this report is meant’ level, the
second level inclusive of the first” (p. 62). This concept corresponds to what the
Palo Alto researchers called the double bind in which a message is given to
another person requiring contradictory, mutually exclusive, responses, i.e., do
something and do not do something. This concept was initially used to describe
the communication patterns in families in which one member was diagnosed
with schizophrenia. Hoffman notes, however, that such contradictory messages
are common throughout society and do not usually result in madness. Instead,
she refers to them as sweat-boxes since they indicate a mild or severe threat to
the continuity of the relationship and the system. She asserts that these types of
pressures may be a necessary precondition to morphogenesis.
But, she makes an important distinction between the double bind message and a
simple bind message. In the double bind, whatever response the message
recipient gives, his/her “leap in behavior” is disconfirmed; whereas, in the
simple bind, the new response is rewarded. “In other words, the double bind is a
simple bind that is continually imposed, and then continually lifted” (p. 64).
Hoffman offers the example of a teenager whose mother exhorts him to behave
in a more mat...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '09