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Circular Questioning



The plan of this paper is to explore the question: Does a model that includes the principles of double description, circularity, and coevolutionary change, all accounting for shifts in family coalitions over time and the emergence of problems in connection with these shifts, allow the family therapist to design better methods for the understanding and practice of family therapy?

Concepts of double description, coevolution, and circularity from Gregory Bateson's writing and the research of other scientists describe the translation of these ideas from pure epistemology to the pragmatics of family therapy. Circular questioning developed by the Milan Associates is presented as a practice method exemplifying how these notions of circularity and coevolutionary change — especially changes in family patterns — are used during actual family sessions.