Thank you for this resource, which I excerpt below:
"Why is the Double Bind important?
The discovery of the Double Bind led it’s visionaries to produce a variety of works dedicated to understanding the use of paradox and the double bind to overcome resistance and motivate change (much of it necessarily covert manipulation) within a therapeutic context. They, especially Bateson, would be influential in the formation of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), which seeks to understand how people are programmed by experience and focuses on how interpersonal communication patterns can be used as a model to promote change. (The groundbreaking work. ‘The Structure of Magic: A Book about Language and Therapy’ -Bandler and Grinder)
... a short bit on NLP...(NLP was born initially as an alternative school of psychotherapy in California, USA, during the mid-seventies. It was initiated by John Grinder, a linguistic professor, and Richard Bandler, a mathematician, at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC).
The two co-founders were at the time students of Gregory Bateson at UCSC, and published their first book "The Structure of Magic, I" in 1975. In this book, they tried to extract the rules of human verbal communication, which would be equivalent to linguistic grammars or to mathematical formulas, by modelling such genius "therapeutic wizards" as Milton H. Erickson, the most important hypnotherapist , Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt Therapy and Virginia Satir, one of the authorities of family therapy.
Some books from the members of the Double Bind group that expand upon their theory:
The Tactics of Change: Doing Therapy Briefly - Weakland
Pragmatics of Human Communication: A study of interactional patterns pathologies and paradoxes- Watzlawick, Beavin, Jackson. (Great book)
The Language of Change- Watzlawick
Change: Principles of problem formation and problem resolution – Watzlawick, Weakland, Fisch.
... And others. For more I’d do a quick search of the individuals involved in the Double Bind project, Gregory Bateson, Don D. Jackson, Jay Haley, and John Weakland, ...and Watzlawick.
Jay Haley also studied renowned hypnotist, hypnotherapist Milton Erickson and produced,
Advanced Techniques of Hypnosis and Therapy
Uncommon Therapy: The Psychiatric Techniques of Milton H. Erickson M.D.
.. . One more great book that provides an overview of the Double Bind exampled in various ways,
Double Bind: The foundation of the communicational approach to family. Beavin, Sluzki
How can the Double Bind be used to control behaviour?
This basically comes down to the element of the Double Bind that prohibits the victim from meta- communicating (communicating about the communication that is paradoxical) or leaving the situation that stops him from meta- communicating about the situation. That is, a person may be consciously aware that the situation prevents him from meta- communicating about the paradox in communication, yet still must act within the framework. Yet, as in the context of hypnosis, the person may not be consciously aware of the bind that is placed on them and believe their actions and agreements to be their own choice.
A double bind can partly be understood as a communication given that will act as a command, but the presuppositions of this action will be disguised by hiding it within the frame of ‘free choice’.
What are some classic examples of Double Binds?
The most classically referred to example of the Double Bind is the ‘Be Spontaneous Paradox’.
As a person receiving the injunction ‘be spontaneous’ within a social setting, it is not easy to comment on the awkward situation they are placed in. Spontaneity occurs without intention, and a spontaneous action would need to occur outside of one’s conscious awareness. A person cannot choose to be spontaneous, and to further expound upon the pathological effects of adopting such thinking, they can neither be spontaneous under someone else’s direction.
The only solution is to identify the Double Bind (meta-communicate about the situation) or any action taken can be, intentionally or not, misunderstood , distorted and open to reinterpretation within the social environment which is in-turn the environment that the victim must act upon.
The Double Bind then becomes a feedback loop between the individual and his social environment. Any action (short of defining the bind to the social environment) that is taken under the direction ‘be spontaneous’ will be paradoxical and self defeating. The behaviour of a victim in a Double Bind might be construed as ‘troubled’ or ‘crazy’. It can also act as a way to overload ones neurology and make them less critical of other messages which contain implications of a particular belief system. The person may learn to distrust his own perceptions and instincts and become habitually focused and dependent on signals coming from the binder to give a correct response."
The comment about the preclusion of "meta-communication" as to state being experienced is very important, I think, and this is why so many of the tedious fake conversations in my field, coaching, are monological.
Here is what I 'think'. I think that the "double-bind" was not 'discovered' by Bateson, or anyone associated with this 'research'. I think it is a technique that has been around for a long, long time.
I say this, maybe, because I have studied to reasonable degree what are thought to be the precursors of Werner Erhard's word play, which became est/Landmark-speak.
I am kinda thinking that what is perceived as the influence of ZEN, or even Stanford 'fake' ZEN ala Alan Watts in this nasty-assed way of speaking (with) people is not accurate.
I am thinking that the Fritz Perls' gestalt mind fuckery techniques are more germane...
But, I think it goes deeper, and further back than this...much further.