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Unformatted text preview: hypotheses requires that therapists take account of all observations
and organize them into a meaningful construct. Thus, the action regarding
hypothesis building is experimental. New information leads to confirmation or
rejection of the working hypothesis followed by the formulation of refined or
altogether new hypotheses.
The value of a hypothesis is not tied to whether or not it is true or false, but
whether it is more useful or less useful as a guide to furnishing the therapist and
family with new information. The hypothesis functions as a discipline to the
treatment and a guide to gathering new information. It helps the therapist track
the interactional patterns. Working through a hypothesis keeps the therapy from
falling into disorder and muddle. Systematic, active hypothesis testing helps
counter entropy. Entropy in a system refers to “the disorder, disorganization,
lack of patterning, or randomness, [and a] decrease in entropy can be taken as a
measure of the amount of information” (p. 6).
Circularity, to Selvini Palazzoli, refers to “the capacity of the therapist to conduct
his [or her] investigation on the basis of feedback from the family in response to
the information he [or she] solicits about relationships and, therefore, about
difference and change” (p. 8). The Milan team defines circularity as the ability to
obtain authentic information from the family. Using a construct from Bateson –
“that all knowledge of external events is derived from the relationship between
them” (p. 8) – suggests that in order for the therapist to obtain authentic
information, every member of the system must describe his or her view of the
relationship between other dyads of the system. For example, a wife would be
asked how she sees the relationship between her husband and their son.
Resistance is lessened if one part of the system comments on another. In this
way, circular questions unearth a wealth of information about the triadic Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic
relationships in the family and effectively break the rule(s) in dysfunctional
families about secrets.
The Milan team offers other suggestions for gathering information:
• Gather information in terms of specific interactive behaviors – not feelings or
ideas – in specific circumstances, e.g., who does what, when, how many
times? • Ask questions about differences in behavior, e.g., who does it the most? the
least? • Get information regarding ranking of behaviors of interactions, e.g., who goes
to church more often? next frequently? least often? • Ask hypothetical questions and listen to h...
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.
- Spring '09