Applying Watzlawick's Interactional View

Chapter 14


Directions: Be prepared to apply the interactional concepts of the 1) family as a system, 2) content and relationship messages, 3) punctuation, and 4) symmetrical and complementary communication to analyze the situation. Then apply reframing as a way to help these families work out these particular problems.


Scenario 1

Danielle is frustrated because Joe never seems to want to do things with her children anymore When they first started living together, he played with her children all the time - in fact, he spent more quality time with the children than their own father. Although she's afraid to say it, Daniel asks Joe if he doesn't feel a bond with her children anymore because they are not married and he is not legally their stepfather. As she expresses her dissatisfaction, Joe sits in his favorite recliner, clicks through television channels in search of an interesting program, and responds with"hmmmm" and "umm."


Scenario 2

Scott is upset with Missy's shopping habits. Just last month Missy ran up a $600 credit card bill. Scott points out that Missy's shopping has gotten out of hand and threatens to take away her credit cards if she doesn't get things under control. She defended her purchases by stating, "But Scott, you know I only shop when I get bored. And you've been working late for the last three weeks and golfing with your friends on the weekends. I dont really think buying things that we need and use is 'out of hand'!"


Scenario 3

Elizabeth and Jacque haven't been getting along lately. Jacque points out to Elizabeth that something needs to be done because their relationship has been relatively unsatisfying in recent months. Elizabeth replies, "Okay Suzy Fix-It. What do you suggest? You're soooo perfect that I need you to tell me what I've been doing wrong."


Scenario 4

Usha has recently returned to college to take classes toward her nursing degree. Mohammed points out to Usha that she has been spending so much time on college that she has been neglecting the children and the house. Usha responds by saying, "Pardon me! You're such the perfect father. That's why the kids' play gym is still waiting to be fixed. And why haven't you checked on getting my car fixed?" And so on.


COM 512 Theories of Interpersonal Communication

Fall, 2012


"See, here we can learn about interpersonal communication!"

Dr. Marcia Dixson

Office: NF 230B
Office Phone: 481-6558 Home Phone: 485-2720
Office hours: T 4:30 - 5:30; R 12:30 - 2:30 and by appointment