A discussion of contributions by Gregory Bateson and Carl Rogers via an analysis of two seminal papers


Patric Pentony


The paper begins with an examination of the logical premises on which Gregory Bateson and his associates based their "Double Bind" hypothesis of the etiology of schizophrenia. It goes on to demonstrate that in the specification of the hypothesis, the authors failed to adhere strictly to these premises with the result that confusion arose as to what was meant by a "double bind." Having located the source of confusion the paper then takes up Ackerman's point that the classical paradoxes, in which an incongruity in messages at different levels is buried in a single statement, is not an appropriate model for understanding interactional sequences. His alternative showing how classificatory type messages buried in interactional sequences can result in entangled communication is developed both to indicate the core of value in the "double bind" approach and to outline the wider implications of the issues involved. These wider implications are then brought out in an analysis of a logical defect in Carl Rogers's paper on "The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Therapeutic Personality Change." Finally it is shown that the "Reflection of Feeling Response" developed by Rogers and his students utilizes different levels of communication in achieving its effects.