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Double Bind

  1. Roger E. Enfield

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0282

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Enfield, R. E. 2010. Double Bind. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. West Central Georgia Regional Hospital, Columbus, GA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Double bind is a concept characterizing an ongoing pattern of communication that imposes painful no-win situations on its victim through two processes: first, through contradictory demands made at different levels of communication, and second, by preventing the victim from either discriminating and commenting on the bind or withdrawing from it. Originally studied in the relationships between schizophrenic adults and their families, the double bind was viewed as having had causal relevance for their schizophrenia through having impaired their capacities to derive clear meaning from communications and to participate in normal social relationships.


  • communication processes;
  • family therapy