Is systemic thinking really extraneous to common sense? Systemic-narrative theory of therapeutic change assumes but does not prove that persons: a) normally do not use triadic hermeneutics b) are able, thanks to the therapist’s interviewing techniques, to cooperate in constructing triadic explanations. To test these 2 assumptions the study analyses the explanations (provided by 400 undergraduates) of an unexpected behaviour framed into 4 stimulus situations where the breadth of observation field was manipulated. The results show that triadic explanations are rather unusual, but not completely extraneous to common sense and they increase significantly with the widening of the observation field from the monad to the triad. It is especially the triadic "enigmatic" situation - adding a puzzling discrepancy between the actors’ behaviours - that elicits a higher production of triadic explanations. These results, if confirmed by a clinical sample, support therapeutic techniques that favour reframings actively constructed by the patient instead of "pre-packed" ones. Moreover, they seem to suggest to therapists to explore, together with their patients, the contradictions often disclosed by the widening of the observation field.
Keywords: Systemic thinking, triadic explanations, systemic psychotherapies, causal attributions, narrative therapy, social constructionism.
Valeria Ugazio, Lisa Fellin, Roberto Pennacchio, Attà Negri, Francesca Colciago, in "TERAPIA FAMILIARE" 92/2010, pp. 31-56, DOI:10.3280/TF2010-092002