Citing the mythical Baron von Munchhausen's method of rescuing himself and his horse from drowning by hoisting himself up by his pigtail, Watzlawick uses this collection of essays and lectures to ultimately ask: does our choosing to see the world in a particular way blind us to viewing it in another way that might help resolve our seemingly untenable situations? Photographs.
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Text: English, German (translation)From Publishers Weekly:
The quotation marks in the title matter; for systems therapist Watzlawick of the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., reality is no absolute, but a construct, or "interpersonal convention," built of "first-order" facts and the "second-order" meaning ascribed to them. Thus, in his example, the first-order reality of a red traffic light is the combination of the color we call "red" and the thing we label "traffic light"; its meaning is "stop and wait." Quoting philosophers Wittgenstein and Epictetus, anthropologist Gregory Bateson, cybernetician Heinz von Foerster and hypnotherapist Milton Erickson, among others, Watzlawick ( The Invented Reality ) takes a hard line against "classic, linear-causal" psychiatry while presenting his case for a behaviorist approach to psychotherapy, in particular, systemic therapy with its focus on what is happening within a relationship rather than on why it is happening. Though Watzlawick's prose can be convoluted and vocabulary obtuse ("scientificity," "enantiodromy"), his controversial arguments, especially when illustrated by case studies, are provocative and frequently persuasive.
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