Kevin Burnette's Archive

First Order Change

7 Commentsby   |  11.02.09  |  Uncategorized

First Order Change More »

Kevin Burnette's Comment Archive

  1. Kevin Burnette on Process
    3:13 pm, 12.05.09

    I think that process level of communication is something that we’re all a lot better at than we realize. I know I find myself being able to infer a great deal of meaning by the intonation of a person’s voice, and the exact words that they do and do not use when they’re trying to communicate an idea. I just think this is a natural knack that a lot of people have. Sometimes I hear it called emotional intelligence. I have a hunch that among our cohort of students, the emotional intelligence level is bound to be significantly (statistically that is) higher than among the general population.

    Sometimes I think that our learning about process level communication has actually been a hindrance in understanding. When I’m gleaning information from someones tone of voice or posture, it comes to me in an intuitive flash. I think trying to slow the process down enough to allow my upper brain to be involved actually makes it harder and makes me more likely to mistake a signal. All this to say, that I don’t think working at the process level is beyond any of us. I just think we have to learn to trust ourselves. The value of our formal learning on the subject is that we have to be able to take our intuitive impressions of process level stuff and be able to articulate them (at least internally to ourselves if not to the client), so that we can know what to do about them and know just be aware of them.

  2. When working on the IFS paper, I ran across an OpEd piece that Richard Schwartz had written in Family Therapy Networker right after the September 11th attacks. I can’t figure out how to post it in this reply, but I can e-mail it to anyone who wants to read it. Anyway, it gave me the excuse to use the word isomorphism in my paper, b/c he was talking about how various elements in our society serve as macro-system level Firefighters, Exiles, and Managers.

    Secondly, alternate reality story-lines are always among my favorite Star Trek episodes. In fact, I love the concept in general. Does anyone remember Quantum Leap, or Sliders…how about The Outer Limits…anyway…

    1) I’m a conspiracy theorist, and I tend to think that the people/groups really pulling the strings are not doing so openly, and they’re not really groups that we know anything about. BUT if I had to name a group, I would name the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. These two groups working in tandem is who really has the power to push a conservative, capitalistic, agenda, and believe me they do…every day.

    2)I’m not sure that it would do any good to go back and change anything because whatever we un-did, someone else, would probably just come along and re-do. I mean if Eve had never eaten the forbidden fruit, Cain, Abel, or Seth or one of their kids or wives probably eventually would’ve.

    3) I definitely think that there is the potential for a great, new, perspective altering theory among our class-mates. Morgan is not a bad nomination, although I also fully expect me and Tommy to get onto the map so to speak with our Minuchin-Haley-Johnson-Burnette Center for Family Therapy.

  3. Kevin Burnette on Resistance
    8:01 pm, 12.03.09

    Man…that video was hard core…Is that guy a dynamic speaker or what *LOL*

    On one level, I do think that resistance is to a large degree a product of inadequate rapport and insight. Not discounting that a therapist can be taken by surprised, but, as noted in the other comments, if the therapist has proceeded cautiously, put some tentative feelers out there to gauge client’s reactions to things, then they ought to have a pretty good idea, before they ever start down a path with the client, whether the client is ready to go down it. If a therapist puts stuff out there that they know good and well that the client isn’t ready to hear yet, then resistance is definitely their fault…unless, a bombshell is dropped on a client for strategic reasons….which brings me to question # 2:

    I think that basically any paradoxical intervention is an example of Milton Ericson’s horse story.

    you guys Live Long and Prosper!

  4. Kevin Burnette on Resistance
    1:48 pm, 12.03.09


    I hope you enjoyed this flagrant Star-Trek reference in your post…hater!

    Check out the you-tube video.

  5. Kevin Burnette on First Order Change
    11:07 pm, 11.02.09

    I’ve been trying to add a couple things to the main body of the post, but for some reason I can’t get word-press to accept my edits.

    Here’s a link for a video (relevant?) discussing the concept of 1st order change:

    If you’re a Foo Fighers fan, check it out.

    Bonus Q4: What should Olive Garden do? If putting in inexpensive menu items is an (unconstructive) 1st order change, what would be an example of a 2nd order change?

    Here’s another video of Paul Watzlowick (Palo Alto Group) speaking German:

  6. Regarding Over/Under Functioning 10/02/09

    Even though I know it’s not how this concept is usually talked about, Dean’s question about parenting made me want to generalize one step more to the concept of sibling rivalry. I just can’t help but think about the experience of my brother and I. As the oldest, I was first in the position to have my achievement evaluated in the public school system, and as a bright child, I did well. “Doing well” became a good reputation that I enjoyed and also an expectancy. I don’t know if we could really be called an over/under functioning pair, because my brother is a smart guy and recorded his own successes, but like a lot of younger siblings, it was easy to think of him not as Sean, but as “Kevin’s little brother.” In late middle school/early high school, I hit the phase of education that requires actual effort instead of just natural aptitude. I also hit that phase of adolescence that turns young boys into terrors on wheels…*LOL* During this time my brother was just hitting his stride, and eclipsed me for a while as the high achieving son. He was winning art contests and geography bee’s, and I was brining home C’s and getting into trouble. With the focus and hopes on him, it almost gave me an excuse for additional slacking off. A few years later he was hitting the above mentioned phase, and now I was the (again) responsible son who was holding down a part-time job and working my way thru community college (although not without a couple of getting into trouble hiccups *LOL*). As I type this, I think that perhaps it’s not the same issue as sibling rivalry, but I do think I have insight into how being in the less/regarded/less favored/less prominent position can be a temptation toward under-functioning if you allow it to be, as well as relief emotionally, at least on some levels.

    *DISCLAIMER: My parents were very fair to both of us, and made their equal love and expectations very clear. A lot of my talk about the “favored” position was an idea that I imposed on myself and built my self-esteem around until I lost the perceived slot.

  7. Kevin Burnette on Content
    5:48 pm, 12.06.09

    Emily, great point. Just the other day when I was recording my final dyad, I found myself starting to try to answer my client’s questions and offer literal solutions to his problems. I kept switching back and forth. I was trying to focus on process stuff, but then I was treating it like it was content in the sense that I found myself thinking well, if A is true and B is true, then C must be true. In other words, if you feel this way about A, and this way about B, then the solution must be C.

    I think for me a sign that I’m focusing on content too much is my personal discomfort in the session. I think that I tend to drift back to content level stuff when I’m not sure what to do with the process level stuff. I mean that in the sense that if I’m uncomfortable, odds are that the client has just put some emotion stuff out there, and I don’t know what to tell them, so if I pay attention, I bet that I will discover that in that moment I’m asking a lot of detail oriented questions.

    The one good thing I can say is that I’m getting to the place that I recognize this in myself, and can force my self to go back to the process level, but it’s hard.

    I do think that paying attention to content is important, and not just for rapport building purposes as Emily pointed out.