CHANGE: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution by

CHANGE: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution

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An insomniac, aware that he cannot force himself to sleep, ""contrives"" to do so ""spontaneously""; his ""solution"" is the problem. The authors -- practicing psychotherapists -- seek a paradigm for the articulation and solution of this sort of dilemma. Drawing on a broad range of sources such as Wittgenstein and mathematics (groups and logical types), the authors elucidate a model for change involving a ""first order"" (""more of the same""; as in the case of the insomniac, it produces a vicious circle) and a ""second order"" (a ""reframing"" of the problem in a broader model, generating a solution which may appear ridiculous in the first order framework). Example: an independent secretary reacts vehemently to the autocracy of her new boss, prodding him to greater despotism. The ""game without end"" is halted by the use of a ""counter-paradox"": she informs him that his authoritarian manner ""turns her on""; suddenly he becomes deferential and considerate. The authors speculate on the application of their technique to issues such as poverty, crime, and addiction. Much of the book is theoretical -- somewhat abstruse, but not incomprehensible. Many questions are left unanswered (why is a 10 session limit prescribed for psychotherapy?), but the thesis is so provocative that one hopes for a more detailed pursuit of its possibilities in the near future.

Pub Date: March 25th, 1974
Publisher: Norton