Research and systemic processes
Is systemic thinking really extraneous to common sense?
Article first published online: 4 MAR 2011
© 2011 The Author(s). Journal of Family Therapy © 2011 The Association for Family Therapy and Systemic Practice
Journal of Family Therapy
Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 53–71, February 2012
How to Cite
Ugazio, V., Fellin, L., Pennacchio, R., Negri, A. and Colciago, F. (2012), Is systemic thinking really extraneous to common sense?. Journal of Family Therapy, 34: 53–71. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6427.2011.00538.x
- Issue published online: 25 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 4 MAR 2011
- systemic thinking;
- triadic attribution;
- narrative therapy;
- social constructionism;
- triadic reframing
Systemic therapists assume, but have not yet proved that ordinary people: (i) normally do not use triadic thinking and (ii) are able, thanks to therapists' interviewing techniques, to construct triadic explanations. To test these assumptions this study analyses the explanations provided by 400 undergraduates of an unexpected piece of behaviour framed in four stimulus situations where the breadth of the observation field was manipulated. The results show that triadic explanations are unusual and increase with the widening of the field of observation from the monad to the triad. It is the ‘enigmatic’ triadic situation – adding a puzzling discrepancy between the actors' forms of behaviour – that elicits more triadic explanations. This suggests that therapists should explore with clients the contradictions disclosed by the widening of the field of observation and support reframings actively co-constructed with them instead of ‘pre-packaged’ ones.