Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Double Bind Theory of Family System

  • Samuel MajorEmail author
  • Adam R. Fisher
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_259

Name of Theory

Double Bind Theory of Family Systems


Double bind hypothesis; Double bind theory of paradoxical communication; The double bind theory of schizophrenia


During the advent of the field of marriage and family therapy in the 1950s, Gregory Bateson assembled the Palo Alto Group – a team of scientists and psychiatrists to further study the nature of communication as it related to self-regulating systems via mechanisms of information, control, and feedback (Gibney 2006). This group from Palo Alto, California, was particularly interested in communication patterns in families where a member had developed schizophrenia, hoping to reject the strictly biological model of schizophrenia that was popular during that time (Nichols and Schwartz 2001). As a result, the group produced the landmark report Toward a Theory of Schizophrenia (Bateson et al. 1956), which offered the hypothesis that schizophrenia was not biologically caused, rather it was “caused and/or...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  2. 2.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  • Bahareh Sahebi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.The Family InstituteNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA