Metacommunication in Couple and Family Therapy
Metacommunication means communication about communication. Verbal, nonverbal, or behavioral metacommunication cues, codes, and contextualizes interpersonal transactions and relationships (Watzlawick et al. 1967). Such metacommunication may or may not be congruent or coherent with overt messages (Bateson 1972) contributing to family disruptions and pathology. This understanding of the metacommunication shaped the development of family therapy approaches to change. A first-order level of change aims to resolve symptoms, which may not be sufficient unless a second order of change aims to transform and change how metacommunication occurs. While modern family therapy approaches focused on changing the family structure and dynamics of metacommunication, postmodern nonstructural approaches focused on the influences of language and societal norms on familial metacommunication. Such second-order meta-change processes are facilitated by therapeutic metacommunication which occurs...
- Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Jason Aronson Publishers.Google Scholar
- Becvar, D. S., & Becvar, R. J. (2014). Family therapy: A systemic integration (8th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
- Kiesler, D. J. (1996). Contemporary interpersonal theory and research: Personality, psychopathology, and psychotherapy. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Nichols, M. P. (2014). The essentials of family therapy (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc.Google Scholar
- Satir, V. (1983). Conjoint family therapy (3rd ed.). Palo Alto: Science and Behavior Books Inc..Google Scholar
- Watzlawick, P., Beavin-Bavelas, J., & Jackson, D. (1967). Pragmatics of human communication. New York: W. W. Norton publishers.Google Scholar