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DOUBLE BIND: Mind Control in the TTI

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DOUBLE BIND: Mind Control in the TTI

I want to point out the most crucial concept, component, and history from which the TTI has drawn from. This is the Double Bind, and despite it’s complexities, it’s simple function is to covertly rob you of your autonomy.

What is the Double bind?

DOUBLE BIND-A paradoxical interpersonal relationship involving (1) two or more individuals in an intense relationship, e.g., in family life, captivity, love, loyalty, (2) the communication of a statement that is manifestly contradictory to what it says, e.g., an order to disobey the order, a punishment that is assertedly done for love (see paradox), and (3) the inability of the addressee of the statement to step out of the relationship with the significant other, the inability to METAcommunicate or to withdraw from the situation. The effect of a double bind is that the addressee cannot decide what is real and may develop pathologies.

Double bind

In 1956 in Palo Alto Gregory Bateson and his colleagues Donald Jackson, Jay Haley and John Weakland[14] articulated a related theory of schizophrenia as stemming from double bind situations. The perceived symptoms of schizophrenia were therefore an expression of this distress, and should be valued as a cathartic and trans-formative experience. The double bind refers to a communication paradox described first in families with a schizophrenic member.

Full double bind requires several conditions to be met:

•   a) The victim of double bind receives contradictory injunctions or emotional messages on different levels of communication (for example, love is expressed by words and
hate or detachment by nonverbal behavior; or a child is encouraged to speak freely, but criticized or silenced whenever he or she actually does so).

•   b) No metacommunication is possible; for example, asking which of the two messages is valid or describing the communication as making no sense

•   c) The victim cannot leave the communication field

•   d) Failing to fulfill the contradictory injunctions is punished, e.g. by withdrawal of love.

The double bind was originally presented (probably mainly under the influence of Bateson's psychiatric co-workers) as an explanation of part of the etiology of schizophrenia; today it is more important as an example of Bateson's approach to the complexities of communication.

The double bind is not a simple "no-win" situation in which either choice is a bad one. The double bind requires that the victim deny a certain aspect of the reality that he or she faces. The mother, for example, who asks her son to call her every week, but only if he wants to, but who nonetheless simultaneously insinuates that a loving son would call, succeeds in manipulating the son so that he can't not call, but also can't feel good about it either. At the same time that she has insured that he has to call, she has accomplished more than just receiving the call; she has succeeded in controlling the choices that he makes in a way that robs him of the freedom to act.
it became clear that patients behaved differently when in the dynamics of their family. The interactions within the family unit created “causal feedback loops that played back and forth, with the behavior of the afflicted person only part of a larger, recursive dance.”

The mother’s role was usually considered to play a central role in the breakdown of communication and the underlying controls that were in place. The concept of double bind was used to explain the constant confusion and unresolved interpretations that took place in some families. Depending on the level of deceit (often called a white lie) both parties are unable to acknowledge what the other is really saying or feeling.

The original framework for the “double bind” was a two-person or “dyadic” arrangement. Criticism of the dyadic approach appeared in an essay by Weakland titled, "The Double Bind: Hypothesis of Schizophrenia and Three Party Interaction,” in 1960. Further articles in the 1970s, by both Weakland and Bateson, suggest that this concept referred to a much broader spectrum than schizophrenias. Bateson began to formulate a systems approach which factored in the relationships of family as a coalition. He used an analogy from game theory that described repeated patterns found in families with a schizophrenic member. The pattern that emerged was that “no two persons seemed to be able to get together without a third person taking part.” ... ry_Bateson

And I will add some parts from the original work that resulted from the Double Bind Project.

 “TOWARDS A THEORY OF SCHIZOPHRENIA (1956) Gregory Bateson, Don D. Jackson, Jay Haley, and John Weakland

This is a report on a research project which has been formulating and testing a broad systematic view of the nature, etiology, and therapy of Schizophrenia…… We have now reached common agreement on broad outlines of a communicational theory of the origin and nature of Schizophrenia; this paper is a preliminary report on our continuing research.


Our approach is based on that part of communications theory which Russel called the Theory of Logical Types (Whitehead, Russel 1910). The central thesis of this theory is a discontinuity between a class and its members…..

we must look NOT for some specific traumatic experience in the infantile etiology but rather for characteristic sequential patterns…. The sequences MUST have this characteristic:  that from that the patient will aquire the mental habits which are exemplified in schizophrenic communication. That is to say, HE MUST LIVE IN A UNIVERSE WHERE THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS ARE SUCH THAT HIS UNCONVENTIONAL COMMUNICATION HABITS WILL BE IN SOME SENSE APPROPRIATE.
The hypothesis that we offer is that sequences of this kind in the external experience of the patient are responsible for the inner conflicts of Logical Typing. For such unresolvable sequences of experiences, we use the term DOUBLE BIND.


The necessary ingredients for a Double Bind situation, as we see it, are:

1.   Two or more persons.- Of these we designate one, for purposes of our definition, as the “Victim”…..

2.   Repeated experience.- …. The Double Bind structure comes to be an habitual expectation.

3.   A primary negative injunction.- This may have either of two forms: ( a) Do not do so and so or I will punish you, or (b) If you do not do so and so, I will punish you…. We assume that punishment may either be the withdrawal of love or the expression of hate or anger- or, most devastating, the kind of abandonment that results from the parent’s expression of extreme helplessness.

4.   A secondary injunction conflicting with the first at a more abstract level, and like the first enforced by punishments or signals which threaten survival.- This secondary injunction is more difficult to describe than the primary for two reasons. First, the secondary injunctionis commonly communicated to the child through non-verbal means. Posture, gesture, tone of voice, meaningful action, and the implications concealed in verbal comment may all be used to convey this more abstract message. Second, the secondary injunction may, therefore, include a wide variety of forms; for example, “Do not see this as punishment” ; “Do not see me as a punishing agent”; “Do not submit to my prohibitions”: “Do not think of what you must not do”; Do not question my love of which the primary prohibition is (or is not) an example” and so on….

5.   A tertiary negative injunction prohibiting the victim from escaping from the field.- …. It seems that in some cases the escape from the field is made impossible by certain devices which are not purely negative, e.g. capricious promises of love, and the like.

6.   Finally the complete set of ingredients is no longer necessary when the victim has learned to perceive his universe in Double Bind patterns. Almost any part of the Double Bind sequence may then be sufficient to precipitate panic or rage. The pattern of conflicting injunctions may even be taken over by hallucinatory voices.”

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.

Lifespring was an organization that utilized the ‘Be Spontaneous’ Double Bind. Looking more closely into this analysis of Lifespring there are many other binds as well.

“Following the introduction by the trainer, the group discussed the various motives for coming to Lifespring and how to achieve "full value" from the training. The key phrases, which described the vehicle to personal growth, were "submission," "100 percent commitment," and "spontaneity".  –Pathology as growth-A participant observation study of lifespring ... ring4.html”
Some Double Binds that have been observed in the family setting are,
“I shouldn’t have to ask you to appreciate me.” The persons response can always be interpreted as a directed one, and therefore expressions of appreciation can be seen as ingenuine.

“Man says to wife, you are too dependent on me. I insist you develop a mind of your own.”  Any attempt to do so is at his request, his injunction requires dependence and therefore she can’t satisfy him.

“To son: You are looking sad again. I can’t take being a failure. I try so hard to be a good parent.” The mother has misconstrued a normal moment of sadness to reflect her failure. The child then feels guilty for feeling sad because it hurts his mother. Eventually he learns he should feel bad about himself for having these feelings.

““Double binds in disturbed families….. 1. If an individual is punished for correct perception of the outside world or of himself by a significant other he will learn to distrust the data of his own senses. As a result he is likely to be told by others to try harder in order to perceive correctly, the implication being, “You must be sick or you would not see things that way.” Consequently (a) this person will find it difficult to behave appropriately  in both impersonal and interpersonal contexts, and (b) he may tend to engage in a fruitless search for supposed meanings which the significant other(s) see very clearly, but he himself cannot. This behavior would satisfy the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia. 2. If an individual is expected by a significant other to have feelings different from those which he actually experiences, this individual will eventually feel guilty for being unable to feel what he ought to feel in order to be approved by the other person. This guilt feeling may then itself be labeled as one of the feelings he should not have. A dilemma of this kind arises most frequently when a childs normal, occasional sadness is construed by the parents as a silent imputation of parental failure. The parent then typically reacts with the message “after all we have done for you, you ought to be happy.” Sadness thus becomes associated with badness and ingratitude. – Double Bind: the foundation of the communicational approach to the family, Sluzki, Beavin ”

The Double Bind has been reproduced and analyzed in controlled experiments.

“ Smith EK (1972) The Effect of Double Bind Communication upon the State Anxiety of Normals: The Double Bind as Punishment plus contradictory Material.

…Their experimental task was to interpret the meanings in the letters, which contained ambiguous and contradictory material. Two kinds of punishment were involved: false feedback to the subject about the appropriateness of her interpretations, i.e., she was wrong but everyone else got it right, intended as an operation of Sluzki et als (1967) disconfirmation of ones own perceptions; and three seconds of white noise (at annoyance but not painful levels), intended as an analogue of the nonverbal punishment in the double bind situation. Increase in anxiety was used as a criterion measure of disruption of the subjects ego functioning. Results were interpreted as supportive of double bind theory: The no punishment-no contradictory materials condition (control) was least anxiety arousing; conditions of punishment alone and of contradictory materials alone were equally anxiety arousing and more so than the control condition; the combination of these two components (the double bind analogue) was the most anxiety arousing. Furthermore anxiety levels increased to a point and leveled off in the punishment alone and contradictory materials alone conditions. No such leveling off occurred in the combined elements condition. The behavior of the subjects after the procedure offered corroboration of disrupted functioning; some subjects remained upset and kept apologizing for their inability to get the answers right, even after the experimental procedure had been explained to them….

She is asked what is really meant in the letter that said,  “Youre getting awfully fat.” And “ I’m going to show you how much I love you by sending you a box of your favorite cookies.”  Subject answers, is told that her answer is inappropriate, and that most everybody else’s answers were better. Subject is surely puzzled, as the task does not seem so very difficult, though ambiguous, and notes that everyone else seemed able to do better. Blast of white noise. This situation continues for about two hours, during while the subject continues to be wrong while the others are right, cannot ask anyone what she is doing wrong, cannot get consensual validation for her perceptions, indeed is continually disconfirmed in those perceptions; further more there is an annoying blast of white noise every time she is wrong. She cannot figure out why or how she is wrong, but it must be her, since others are doing things right. I think we can well understand this situation as very anxiety arousing for the subject. I think Smith has devised an effective experimental analogue of the disconfirmation of simple assumptions and its crazy making effects.

Note the attraction of the subjects to the situation; they hung onto it and kept trying to get it right; they sought information afterwards about what they had done wrong- this after being debriefed, when debriefing should have rendered such questions obsolete; experimental escape was difficult. This phenomenon closely resembles the effect of double binding.  
She must begin to doubt her perceptions of her experience. She is, so to speak, invited to “distrust her senses and see the world as it really is. “

“There is also the consideration that a subject’s experience in this situation necessarily poses a threat to relationships in general- past present and future, including relationships with internalized others. One simply cannot cope with the world without a minimum level of shared meaning. Without tacit faith in the fair reliability of ones perceptions and interpretations of even trivial (and especially trivial) raw data, perceptions of ones experience, history, etc., including relationships are subject to rewrite, and the present and future become tenuous indeed.”

“It is as if researchers have begun to agree that experimental paradigms shall involve some kind of impossibility joined with some kind of negative consequences and that some kind of disruption or anxiety shall be the criterion measure. The kind of impossibility must be paradox; the negative consequences must be the invalidation of an important relationship, and the criterion measure must be something like conceptual paralysis.” --- Double Bind: the foundation of the communicational approach to the family, Sluzki, Beavin ---
And the Double Bind is a control method for the TTI as well, inherently enmeshed in its makeup and function.  A ‘Troubled Teen’ program would contain all of the elements of a Double Bind.

•   a) The victim of double bind receives contradictory injunctions.
•    b) No metacommunication is possible
•   c) The victim cannot leave the communication field
•   d) Failing to fulfill the contradictory injunctions is punished
•   e) an intense relationship, e.g., in family life, captivity, love, loyalty,

Innumerable Double binds emerge from the TTI framework. The first Double Bind is the one contained in the label ‘troubled teen’ and the result of that label being ‘therapy’.
The child is given the identification label ‘troubled’ simply by being placed in a program.  He is also in a therapeutic environment and is motivated (in various ways) to progress in therapy BECAUSE of the label. The paradoxical injunction is that therapy is by nature a choice to accept help in changing. The context in which the therapy is held presupposes the patient be open, honest, trust the therapist, and accept a social position in which he is to take direction and advice, and it necessarily would betray the rules within the context of therapy by making any assertions that the therapists is misguided, inaccurate, unethical, or give advice in any way.  The therapist is not the candidate for change in such a situation, the therapist has the inherent power, and to be challenged in those areas constitutes an interpretation of that communication as coming from the patients ‘false’ perception of reality. Any such challenge, or behavior, will be punished.

Upon being placed in this Double Bind their every action/interaction will be scrutinized and analyzed under the context of therapy. The teen may attempt to meta- communicate in order to remove the situation by saying, “I don’t deserve to be here, not troubled, I don’t have these problems, I don’t want your help” or attempt to deny the therapeutic atmosphere, but doing so will only work to further identify him as ‘troubled’ by construing his attempts with more labels like ‘closed off’, ‘isolating’, ‘resistant’ ‘defensive’or ‘in denial’. These labels will then be used as evidence that he needs therapy and he will be held accountable (suffer consequences, punishment) for his failure to make progress. Eventually the teen will conclude that the only way out of the situation is to ‘get well’, which consequently requires admitting they are in fact troubled. At this point they may lie about how they feel about their problems or lie about their problems all together.

At this point the Double Bind has forced the child into a situation where he must “play at not playing” the game of getting well. A citation that expounds on this from Watzlawick, in ‘Change. P.70’ :

“…The patient is considered unable to make the right decisions by himself- they have to be made for him and for his own good. If he fails to see this, his failure is yet another proof of his incapacity. This creates a terribly paradoxical situation requiring patients and staff to “play at not playing” the game of getting well. Sanity in the hospital is that conduct which is keeping with very definite norms; these norms should  be obeyed spontaneously and not because they are imposed; as long as they are imposed, the patient is considered sick.

This being so the old strategy for obtaining ones speedy release from a mental hospital is more than a joke:

(a) Develop a flamboyant symptom that has considerable nuisance value for the whole ward;
(b) Attatch yourself to a new doctor in need of his first success;
(c) let him cure you rapidly of your symptom; and
(d) make him thus into the most fervent advocate of your regained sanity.”

In the TTI, this ultimately becomes the function of the Double Bind that maintains the illusion of success. Another quote that describes this well,

““… whatever else these institutions do , one of their central effects is to sustain the self- conception of the professional staff employed there. Inmates and lower staff levels are involved in a vast supportive action- an elaborate dramatized tribute- that has the effect, if not the purpose, of affirming that medical- like service is in progress here and the psychiatric staff is providing it. Something about the weakness of this claim is suggested by the industry required to support it.

….’ Mental patients can find themselves in a special bind. To get out of the hospital or ease their lives within it. They must show acceptance of the place accorded them, and the place accorded them is to support the occupational role of those who appear to force this bargain. This self alienating moral servitude, which perhaps helps to account for some inmates becoming mentally confused, is achieved by invoking the great tradition of the expert servicing  relation, especially its medical variety.’
--Double Bind: the foundation of the communicational approach to the family”

Within the framework of this Double Bind in a ‘troubled teen’ program, this first step of ‘playing at not playing’ the game of getting well, (or pretending to be serious about getting well), is the first step towards adding binds during the course of treatment to further control behavior and mold habits. There is no avoiding progressing to a point of admitting they have a problem. The very obvious distress due to being taken captive is expected to be shared openly in the context of therapy. The teen that tries to avoid playing into the therapy game in such a situation must hide their own distress with meticulous self control in order to not be observed in such a state. Otherwise they will have to give in to expressing their honest feelings with the knowledge that it will only work to strengthen the bind that they are in.

At this point the Double Bind confuses the ability of the child to perceive certain meanings. The concepts ‘help’ and ‘hurt’ become synonymous or take on their opposites when trying to interpret even simple interpersonal communications. The teen is approached with helpful, loving, benevolent attitudes but the transaction is one that disqualifies and hurts him. This could come from the statement, ‘You want to be here, you just don’t know it.’ Additionally he is supposed to pretend he is accepting of these transactions as help when they are really perceived as hurtful. If he shows that he perceives their ‘help’ as hurt he will be seen as sick and resisting. Eventually this can distort how he perceives the meanings contained in normal friendly interactions. The context containing loving, benevolent attitudes may cause him to act agreeable, open, and friendly as a defensive action against what he perceives to be threatening.

The Double Bind pattern in the TTI at this point is as follows:

The first double-bind is due to the expectation that programs place on teens that in order to progress in therapy they must admit they have problems. This with the knowledge that to accept that fact will only support the accusation that he is ‘troubled’ so deeply he cannot make decisions for himself.

The second double-bind is in implying to the child that all the actions being taken are entirely for his or her own good and should not be seen as punishment. It is presented as a result of this situation that encompasses the conflicting messages sent within the contexts of ‘force’ and ‘therapy’. That is, there is undeniably a utilization of force in a TTI program via the use of various reward/punishment motivators, yet the actions will be taken as a testament to their individual progress in therapy.  Therapy itself, within the context of force, is a punishment. The punishment ends up being one where the victim must pretend to believe he understands it as help and play the part of getting better. These conflicting messages are heard clearly, yet meta-communication is not possible as it is seen as a challenge to their authority. The messages ‘You will be punished for not making progress’ and ‘Take ownership of your work’ are in open conflict, yet to avoid being labeled ‘sick’ action must be taken that denies the reality that force is involved. This is done by challenging the victim to make statements that he is genuine, accountable, honest etc. essentially teaching him how to play the game of maintaining the illusion of therapy. If they progress it is due to accepting accountability while actions suggesting they don’t want to be there are cast off as ‘sick’ and therefore the focus of more ‘therapy’ or punishment .

The third double-bind is to view another as sick and damaged and then express love and compassion for them. The child must take messages that negate him, but gratefully as they are coming from the standpoint of love and care.

A fourth Double Bind Emerges out of the peer group framework in which teens graduate together in different stages. Individual growth in the TTI is dependent on a process of group growth. This brings about a core concept in the TTI which is that each child is there to support each others growth in therapy. It will be a requirement  for the child to progress individually by supporting positions and adopting attitudes in concert with the therapy when interacting with peers. This environment where the patients are acting as each other’s therapist means that it is implied that, just as each person is to enforce the rules, each person is to also act from the standpoint of care, love and help to overcome each others assumed maladjustment, just as the staff of the program are supposed to behave. This bind becomes important in a highly structured environment because a stated rule that says, ‘you must love and support each other, or you will be punished’ makes it impossible to know for sure whether caring communication is honest or just given under orders. In an environment that demands each person be seen as open, honest, and caring under threat of punishment, a simple casual moment between friends can lose its meaning and become ambiguous, undefined and lead to confusion. Even the most genuine attempts at friendly communication can be invalidated.

These Double binds form an invisible cage in which every action is just an attempt to win a zero sum game. This is how the messages would come across if the TTI were to simplify their paradoxical injunctions.

“You are sick for thinking we are forcing you to treatment for our own selfish reasons, we are only doing this for your own good. You are sick because you think you don’t want treatment. You are so sick you don’t know what you want. You are not yourself. You must believe that our treatment of you is an act of selflessness, sympathy, and compassion for the damaged individual you are. Your isolated and confrontational attitude is a measure of your level of sickness and inability to understand the generosity of the staff peers who care about you getting well. You must believe our claim that you are troubled and must take responsibility and be accountable for the fact that you are not in control of yourself. Then you can learn to get in control of yourself by learning to deny your perceptions of reality in favor of ours.”

What are the dangers of the Double Bind?

The Double bind, as stated, imposes a context in which one must deny certain aspects of reality.  In a sense it is a forced hypnosis that requires that a person repress, or cover up, their spontaneous feelings and reactions to their perceived reality and rely on re-representing them via imaginary constructs to successfully navigate their environment.  This means the person will be dissociated from themselves and reality. This dissociation of self is an inherent function of the Double Bind and, as the original theory suggests, dissociation is a focal point of a rich history in psychology that seeks to understand mental illness. An immense topic that comprises a huge portion of psychoanalysis, dissociation is presumed to account for a variety of mental illnesses along the spectrum Bi-polar, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Schizophrenia, and Multiple Personality Disorder.

The dangers of TTI programs are that if a person that cannot escape or transcend the communicational field they can suffer serious psychological damage as a result. This is because as humans we must be able to handle communication involving multiple logical types that convey information on different levels of abstraction. When communicating we must identify signals that allude to the communicational mode being used. Examples of communicational modes:

Play, non-play, fantasy, metaphor, humor. We tend to rely on non-verbal communication to meta-communicate (communicate about our communication), like posture, tone of voice, gesturing, facial expressions etc.  In this way we frame and label messages, and as in humor we re-frame our messages perhaps communicating something literally at first and then reframing it metaphorically. Like when someone betrays another, and that other yells out in pain, turns his back and says, ‘take this knife out of my back.’

The correct logical typing of communicational modes is a learned skill that is necessary in order to feel stable in your social environment. In the TTI there will be much ambiguity due to a context that presumes that others are falsifying their mode-identifying signals whether it be a manipulative simulation of friendliness, artificial laugh, contrived emotions, the confidence trick. This context which interrupts successful meta-communication disrupts the ability to discriminate communicational modes between the self and others. Eventually this will lead to difficulty in assigning the correct communicational mode to his own messages, thoughts, sensations and perceptions. Maintained within a structured environment this falsification of signals can become habitual and unconscious as well as the falsification of the child’s understanding of another person’s mode identifying signals. He may mistake benevolence for contempt etc.  Eventually simple day to day social contact can constitute a threat to ones stable sense of self.

The TTI through clear lenses:  Coercion as treatment and results that defy logic.

The TTI itself capitalizes on their own errors in logical typing when communicating the meanings of the words ‘therapy, symptom, patient, treatment, cure, and results’. There are two errors of logical typing that redefine the meaning of these words within the TTI framework.

First is the one that identifies the symptom (problem) on the level of family, but treats an individual member. This family system is the original unit of analysis when identifying the disruption and the strategy to regain stability. Yet the identified symptom will then be treated as it applies to the individual with the result given in terms of ‘personal growth’. This process of treatment constitutes a breach in logical typing that says a class cannot be a member of itself nor can one of the members be the class. (A class of pencils is not a pencil, a pencil is not a class of pencils.) In this way a class of individuals (family) can define a problem, but applying the solution to the individual (member) constitutes the error of logical typing that identifies the member as the class within which it belongs.

The second is the one that re-defines ‘therapy’ (or fails to) under the context of force. Under the context of the Double Bind individual, ‘personal growth’ cannot be evaluated, in fact it necessitates understanding that these results can’t be determined under such a heading.  The presupposition in such a situation is that the victim has no choice, and so individual achievements are an illusion and personal pride for such is to take accountability for the behavior changes that others forced on you. This is another error of logical typing that does not recognize the different levels of abstraction that occur in contexts requiring proper delineation of ‘self’ and ‘other’, at the consequence of misinterpreting ‘force’ and ‘free choice’.

Within such illogical thought processes the logical meanings of the words ‘ therapy, treatment, cure, patient’ come to mean ‘coercive persuasion, punishment, dominating, and victim.’

The lines of logic that we must follow is that to truly gain perspective on the results and effectiveness of the TTI we would have to be able analyze how the Double Bind effects those results. This would require a control experiment that reproduced a TTI model without Double Binds to compare the results. The simple fact of the matter is that the TTI would not be able to function. This being the case we can ONLY see the results as being a function of the Double Bind, and the TTI as a whole can only exists as the paradoxical result of its own pathological thinking.

There is also another dilemma that prevents us from being able to decipher the results of the TTI. This is the ethical problem that prevents us from conducting more conclusive investigations into the Double Bind. In order to replicate the Double Bind in the TTI, it could not be properly represented by using volunteers, as it is not a choice given to the teen. As well there is a violation of ethics, even in a voluntary circumstance, present in conducting an experiment where the theoretical result is to cause psychological harm. Adding to this:

“Let us put it his way: if one were intrigued by a sequence of events proposed to account for certain types of pathology in communication, and that sequence is formalized as a theoretical proposition about what happens when important basic relationships are chronically subjected to invalidation through paradoxical interaction, and it is further specified that an intense relationship, repeated experience, and inability to comment upon or escape the situation are all necessary components, would one do an experiment with college sophomores or VA volunteers? Probably not.
--Double Bind: the foundation of the communicational approach to the family”

And I would further this comment by saying, why would we experiment on teenagers against their will?

For those dedicated readers I’ll leave you with a final quote from R.D. Laing in his book ‘Knots’.

“They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing  I see the game.”



--- Quote from: "Awake" ---DOUBLE BIND: Mind Control in the TTI
--- End quote ---
A very informative and thought provoking post

--- Quote from: "Awake" --- For those dedicated readers I’ll leave you with a final quote from R.D. Laing in his book ‘Knots’. “They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing  I see the game.”
--- End quote ---
Awake is killing me softly with this one.

I thought these articles were a good addition.

this one is interesting on schizophrenia

All are good, but this one from the firs link, I thought, was most relatable to the troubled teen industry.

Double Binds

A double bind is a kind of baited trap. It is like a lobster pot or a similar type of animal trap - the trap is initially attractive and easy to get into, but then turns out to be much harder to get out of. Unlike an animal trap, a double bind works on a psychological level rather than a physical one. A double bind tricks a person into doing what the controller wants, while giving an illusion of choice.

A double bind offers some kind of benefit as its bait. With the FWBO, the bait is the promise of personal and spiritual growth. Eg.:

'Buddhism offers clear and practical guidelines as to how men and women can realise their full potential for understanding and kindness. Meditation is a direct way of working on ourselves, to bring about positive change in our lives. We teach two simple and complementary meditations. One helps us develop a calm, clear, focused mind; the other transforms our emotional life, enabling us to enjoy greater self-confidence and positivity towards others.' [1]

On offer are: greater understanding and kindness; mental calmness, clarity and focus; and greater self-confidence and positivity. How could anyone refuse?

Of course, a person could refuse, but then that might be taken to imply arrogance on their part. Refusal could be taken to imply that they believe they are already perfect, that they have already achieved their full potential for understanding and kindness, etc. That's already a little bit of a double bind.

However, the double bind only starts to kick in once a person takes the bait, once they start to feel that there are aspects of their lives they would like to improve, and that they might benefit from following a course of study and training, with the FWBO or any other organisation offering to teach people how to realise their full potential.

They don't need to have absolute faith in the group's teaching, only to give it some degree of credence, or at least the benefit of the doubt.

In general, groups offering to teach people how to develop their full potential, will put forward the idea that the reason why they are failing to realise their true potential, is because they are subject to certain psychological or cognitive or emotional blocks and obstacles, which they may be unaware or unconscious of. These obstacles block their energy and cause frustration and unhappiness.The group's teaching can help them to become aware of and then overcome these obstacles.

Different organisations have different ideas about the nature of the obstacles which hinder personal growth. In the FWBO, they are said to be the result of unconscious conditioning, ignorance, fear of change, etc. In a Christian based group such as the Moonies, any doubts or reservations which a student may have about the group's teaching, may be blamed on Satan putting evil thoughts into the student's mind in order to try and prevent them from reaching towards God. In Scientology, such doubts or reservations may be ascribed to the influence of 'engrams', unconscious conditionings from past lives which block the student's energy and awareness.

In a way it doesn't much matter which factors the group identifies as the reasons why a person might have failed to realise their full potential. The two key ideas are that a person has unrealised potential, and that the group's teaching can enable them to overcome any unconscious hindrances and realise that potential. These two ideas together form a potential double bind.

The double bind works in the following way: If you believe you might be failing to live up to your true potential, because of unconscious conditioning or similar factors, then what do you do about it? Do you:

(a). Give in and accept the situation?


(b). Try and break free of your conditioning?

You can of course refuse to answer the question. However, if your answer is (b), then this implies some agreement with the idea that you are 'conditioned'. To the degree that you accept that idea, to that degree you have entered into an insoluble paradox and double bind.

The paradox is: how can you attempt to break free when any or even all of your thoughts and actions may be at least partly the result of 'conditioning' (or pride, or ignorance, etc.)? If you decide on a course of action on your own account, how can you be sure that your decision isn't partly or wholly the result of your 'conditioning' (or of some other unconscious factor). How can you be sure that you are actually making a free decision, and that you haven't simply been conditioned and programmed to act in a particular way?

If a person accepts that they are conditioned to some degree, and they want to break free of their conditioning, then logically they cannot really do it by themselves, because the chances are that they will simply go round in circles, unconsciously repeating their own conditioned behaviour. They need some external help and guidance, from a teacher who has already broken through their own conditioning (to some extent at least), and who has a good understanding of the processes involved in this kind of breakthrough.

This is the whole point of setting up this kind of paradox and double bind - to make a person think they need a teacher, so that they then become dependent on the teacher. Potentially the teacher can then misuse this power, without ever being held responsible for any psychological harm their teaching may cause their students.

There is a wide variety of groups and organisations which offer teaching and guidance for people who believe that they might be failing to live up to their true potential. Some are religious or quasi-religious, offering guidance on how to grow closer to God, or to the deity of your choice. Others are more secular, offering to help people to realise their true potential, or to discover their true inner selves, or to become one with the universe.

Some of these groups and organisations may provide valuable resources; others may be cults, and it can be very difficult for an outsider to tell them apart. Many of these groups are self-regulating, which among other things means that there are no independent and objective ways to test how beneficial the group's teaching might be, the only way is to test it subjectively, by trying it out for yourself.

If, after a period of time, a person does begin to experience tangible benefits from following the practices and lifestyle advocated by the group, then all well and good. If however they experience initial benefits but then become stuck at a certain level, or if they experience no benefits at all, then at what point do they cut their losses and drop out of the training?

If they are failing to thrive, they cannot be sure where the problem lies. Does the problem lie with their own understanding and practice, or with the group and its teaching? Should they have faith and persevere, or should they drop out?

They are in a double bind because, having accepted that they might be subject to ignorance or unconscious conditioning to some degree, they can never really be sure that any doubts or reservations they may have about the group's teaching, aren't simply the product of their own unconscious conditioning. And they can never be sure that valuable insights will definitely not result from attending the next training course or residential weekend offered by the group. Or from the next course after that.

On the other hand, if they decide to drop the training and leave the group, they can never be sure that they aren't making a terrible mistake. They can never be sure in their own minds that their doubts about the quality of the teaching are reasonable and justified, nor can they prove to anyone else that their concerns are justified (because of the nature of the double bind, and because double binds work on a subjective and psychological level, and leave no objectively verifiable physical evidence to reveal their existence).

In short, they can never prove that they are right, and the group is wrong. This is one of the reasons why many religious/human potential type groups are effectively unaccountable to any outside authority for any psychological harm their teaching may cause their students.

A group only becomes a dangerous cult when it starts to abuse the teacher - student relationship and its inherent double bind. The problem with non-accountability is that, if such abuse does begin, it is likely to continue unchecked for many years, and may even become institutionalised within the group.

Using the double bind system, anyone can set themselves up as a personal growth teacher, with very little risk of ever being held responsible for any psychological damage their teaching might cause their students. Indeed, with non-accountability, low overheads, and the availability of tax-exempt religious charity status, the personal growth/spiritual fulfillment market provides an ideal business opportunity for the unscrupulous and the deluded to milk their students.

This is some of the best reading I have seem
Thanks for the insight of how these places and the ppl who run them work.


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