Dealing with Double Binds
With Robert Dilts
What is unique about this programme?
A "double bind" is a special type of conflict which creates a "no-win"
situation; i.e., a situation in which one is "damned if you do, and damned
if you don't." According to anthropologist Gregory Bateson, who originally
defined the notion of the double bind, such conflicts are at the root of
both creativity and psychosis. The difference is whether or not one is able
to identify and transcend the bind in an appropriate way.
Double binds often have quality of circularity, making them into a type
of "Catch-22," and leading to a sense of confusion and helplessness. A classic
example would be that of the Salem witch trials, in which one of the tests
to see if a person was a witch was to bind the person and cast her into
the water. If the person floated and survived, then she was determined to
be a witch, and was put to death. If the person sank and drowned, she was
exonerated with respect to being a witch, but was, of course, also dead.
Thus, the essential structure of a double bind is:
If you do not do A, you will not (survive, be safe, have fun, etc.). But
if you do do A, you will not (survive, be safe, have fun, etc.).
The most emotionally intense double binds occur in the context of significant
interpersonal relationships. They often involve what appears to be a power
struggle in which one person is trying to "make the other person wrong."
Such a struggle can also occur between the inner "parts" of a person.
These types of insolvable struggles are often at the root of both mental
and physical illness. They can also arise during a person's attempts to
heal, and thwart progress towards wellness. Yet, even though double binds
can appear formidable, it is possible to get out of them, given the appropriate
skills and conditions. Getting relief from a double bind situation essentially
comes from recognizing and addressing the "conditions" which are required
to produce the double bind. In his book Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Gregory
Bateson defines the essential 'ingredients' for a double bind. This presentation
will cover ways to identify double binds, and the underlying conditions
which create them, and some of the ways in which double binds can be resolved
About the Trainer
What people are saying
"This is profound! I think that I probably got more form these 3 days
than any other. It's beautiful to watch Robert work. He not only has great
command over his subject, he puts it over so well too!" GB - Training
"I was able to learn effortlessly and with great enjoyment. He helped
me to relax with the learning, entertained and interested me. He was great!"
LC - Marketing Consultant, Surrey
"I found Robert extremely generous and warm to people. He made no attempt
to sell, simply to share which was wonderful for me and others mentioned
this too" KB - Berkshire
Dates: 28 February - 1 March 2004
Venue: Central London
Price: £410 + vat
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article posted 21/10/03