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The Family as a System
- Paul Watzlawick believes that individuals must be understood within the context of the family system.
- Relationships are complex functions resembling equations linking multiple variables.
- The axioms comprise the rules of the game.
- Games are sequences of behavior governed by rules
- Each family plays a one-of-a-kind game with homemade rules and creates its own reality
- Watzlawick, Bavelas and Jackson present kep axioms describing the tentative calculus of human communication.
- Puctuation concerns how a person marks the beginning of an interpersonal interaction.
- Punctuation becomes a problem when each person sees himself or herself as only reacting to, rather than provoking, a cyclical conflict.
Axioms of Interpersonal Communication
- family homeostasis is the tacit collusion of family members to maintain the status quo.
- the only way to recognize this destructive resistance to change is to understand the axioms
- one cannon not communicate
- Communication is inevitable.
- Communication=content + relationship
- Every communication has a content and a relationship aspect such that the latter classifies the former.
- Content is what is said
- Relationship is how it is said
- Metacommunication is communication about communication
- Relationship messages are always the most important element in any communication, but when a family is in trouble, meatcommunication dominates.
- Sick family relationships only get better when members are willing to engage in metacommunication.
Changing the game by changing the rules
- The processof altering punctuation and looking at things in a new light.
- Destructive rules can be changed only when members analyze them from outside the system.
- Accepting a new fram means rejecting the old one.
- Adapting a new interpretive frame usually requires outside help.
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