Cybernetic and Social Construction

Topics: Family therapy Pages: 7 (1488 words) Published: September 6, 2015

Cybernetics and Social Construction
LeeAnne Valentine
June 14, 2015
Dr. Everson

Cybernetics and Social Construction
In Marriage and Family Therapy field, cybernetics and social construction play an important aspect in how a therapist works with his or her clients. However, there are some aspects of cybernetics that may not be important in today’s society because of the evolution in humankind from the early 1920’s to today. In this time and age, cybernetics continues to be in tandem with social construction, and continues to affect psychology, especially in marriage and family therapy. This paper will present critical review of cybernetic and social construction. Cybernetics

Cybernetics is defined as a “transdisciplnary approach for exploring regulatory systems, their structures, constracts and possibilities. Cybernetics is relevant to the study of systems, such as mechanical, physical, biological, cognitive, and social systems.” (xx) Guise (2009) stated that there are changes that take place during the treatment process in family therapy which are classified as first order cybernetics or second-order cybernetics. During the first-order change family patterns of interaction or sequences are altered at the behavioral level only but through second-order change the underlying beliefs of premises that govern family members behavior or promote specific reasons are altered” (p. 72). According to Guise (2011) and Keeney and Ross (1983) described cybernetics as “being a system which encompasses a recursive complementary relations between process of change and stability.” The concept of cybernetics is also an important key aspect in the development of family therapy in which includes “self-reference, feedback patterns, homeostasis, and self autonomy. Cybernetics is primarily concerned with understanding and managing the organization of systems” (Cybernetics, 2004). The first-order cybernetics perspective gives rise to the idea of reality. By reality, truth is seen as the absolute while reality is seen that can be proven by observation as an independent of the observer. In this case, the therapist’s role is to discover problems and treat them as an independent observer in order to help facilitate changes without any impact toward the clients. However, with second-order cybernetics, it rejects the concept of the ultimate truth and that reality can be seen with objective perspectives. Second-order cybernetics presents an idea that “persons live in a multiverse o many equally valid observer-dependent realities (Becvar & Becvar, 2006), and at the same time rejects the concept of an independent observation. With second-order cybernetics, the therapy process is impacted by the realities of those involved and the realities cannot be determined as absolute. Second-order therapists acknowledge working with perception and constructions of both clients and themselves (Becvar & Becvar, 2006). Social Construction

According to Ian Hacking (1999), “social construction talk is often applied not only to worldly items – things, kinds, and facts – but to our beliefs about them” (Hacking, 1999). Social construction delves into the idea that any belief that one has – is not necessary the same as others. For example, we considered our belief that dinosaurs once roamed the earth. Not everyone would share the same belief. Some may believe that dinosaurs never existed. If it had not been for proof - the fossils and other scientific evidence that dinosaurs were not real, we would have never come to that conclusion. By having different ideas about dinosaurs, we’ve come to an idea of social construction. However, Hacking (1999) stresses “it is one thing to say that true a false beliefs should be treated symmetrically and quite another to say that justified and unjustified ones should be so treated” (Hacking, 1999). Therapist’s Role

The primary role of a therapist is to understand a client’s changing world. A therapist does...

References: Becvar, R.J., & Becvar, D.S. (1994). The ecosystemic story: A story about stories. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 16(1), 22.
Becvar, D.S., & Becvar, R.J. (2006). Family therapy: A systemic integration. Boston: Allyn &Bacon
Hofman, L., (1990). Constructing Realties: An Art of Lenses. Family Process, 29(1), 1-12
Francois, C. (1999). Systemics and cybernetics in a historical perspective. Retrieved from John Wiley & Sons, Ltd website:
Guise, R. W. (2015). Study guide for the marriage & family therapy national licensing examination. Jamaica Plain, MA: Family Solutions Corp.
Hacking, I. (1999). The social construction of what? Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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