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Ecosystemic Psychology

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Ecosystemic Psychology
Critically compare the epistemologies governing the first and second order cybernetic approaches in terms of the following:
1. How is reality seen by each specific approach?
Defining Reality
Before attempting to describe similarities and differences around how these two approaches view reality, a look into what the word ‘reality’ means would be appropriate. Reality is defined as a real existence or actual being as apposed to imaginary, idealised or false. It is something that actually happens in real life and is comparable with fact (Rooney, 2001; Branford, 1987). The information sources chosen for this definition were Oxford and Encarta. From this definition one could deduce that reality is something which could be observed; something which could be quantified in a finite manner. The definition evokes the idea of reality being something that anyone at a given point in time could notice as well as that what is noticed is now some type of actuality or fact. One wonders where and how this ‘reality’ is perceived.
Another way of looking at reality is to see it as referring to all that which forms an integral part of what an individual believes to be real (Reber, 2001). Here we see that the idea of objectivity is replaced with the notion of personal objectivity or more correctly subjectivity. Perception and belief relates to an individual and hence from this definition the idea of reality becomes a personal reality.
First and second order cybernetics
Already from the definition of reality we have somewhat of an opposing view of what reality is or could be. This difference of view point is similar to how first and second order cybernetics would define reality. From a first order cybernetic perspective one could ask what really is reality? This question would not be in line with a second order approach in that the previous question gives rise to the idea of there being a single construct or value for reality. A truth that is discoverable and obtainable that can



References: Anderson, H., & Goolishian, H. (1992). The client is the expert: A not-knowing approach to therapy Becvar D.S., & Becvar, R.J. (2006). Family therapy: A systemic integration. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Boscolo, L., Cecchin, G., Hoffman, L. & Penn, P (1987). Milan systemic family therapy: Conversations in theory and practice Branford, W. (1987). The South African oxford Pocket Dictionary. (7th ed). Maitland. Cape Town. Griffith, J.L., Griffith, M.E & Slovik, I.S. (1992). Owning one’s epistemological stance in therapy Hoffman, L. (1985). Beyond Power and control: Towards a “Second order” family systems therapy Hoffman, L. (1992). A reflexive stance for family therapy. In McNamee, S., and Gergen, K.J. (Eds), Therapy as a social construction (pp7-24) Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapies. London: Tavistock. Reber,E.S., & Reber, A.S. (2001). Dictionary of Psychology (3rd ed). Penguin books. p. 601 Rooney, K Watzlawick, P., Weakland, J.H., & Fisch, R. (1974). Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution Philip Baron. 2007.

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