The validity of the hypothesis is less important than

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Unformatted text preview: ey have been less numerous in the United States where they have often been absorbed into strategic teams working in the MRI model or using an Ericksonian approach. Chapter 4: Strategic & Systemic During this time, the Milan group was again influenced by Bateson’s writing, particularly the idea of cybernetic circularity as a model for human systems. Boscolo and Cecchin began a dramatic shift in their work from strategic to a systemic view. Their work and teaching then led to the method of circular questioning and the publication of, Hypothesizing, circularity and neutrality: Three guidelines of the conductor of the session by Selvini Palazzoli, Boscolo, Cecchin, and Prata. The team translated Bateson’s ideas of cybernetic circularity into a systemic treatment model. Hypothesizing is the assessment process; circularity and circular questioning is the technique; and neutrality is the basic therapeutic stance. Their systemic hypotheses account for all the elements of the family problem and how they are connected. It is a model that emphasizes that the team and the family are engaged in a research project together. The validity of the hypothesis is less important than its utility in providing new information about how the family operates and helps the family progress. Circular questioning was based on Bateson’s idea that “knowledge is always apprehended by mechanisms that scan for difference” (p. 11). The questions provide feedback to the therapist regarding family relationships. The therapist conducts the investigation and hypothesizing based on information gained about relationships in the family and about differences and change. The questions fall into several categories: differences in perceptions of relationships (who is closer to grandfather); differences in degree (how bad was the fighting this week); now/then differences (did the fighting start before grandfather died or after); and hypothetical or future questions (if grandfather had not died, how would life be different). Therapeutic neutrality grew from Bateson’s assertion that all parts of the system should be accorded equal weight. In being neutral th...
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