Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Feedback in Family Systems Theory

  • Cheryl RampageEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_271


The term feedback was first used in the early years of electronic voice amplification to describe the rather harsh sound that would occur if a speaker got too close to the microphone (Feedback 2015). Later, the word feedback was adopted by the developers of cybernetics to mean information about the results of a process that would either increase or decrease the likelihood of that process occurring in the future (Wiener 1948). However, in its more common usage among therapists, feedback is simply the response of one participant in therapy to the action or communication of another, with the purpose of altering or adjusting that action or communication in future performances (Claiborn 2002; Claiborn and Goodyear 2005).

Theoretical Context for Concept

In its simplest, most easily intelligible form, feedback in psychotherapy is the rational, verbal response of a client to a therapist’s attempt to promote change, whether in the domain of behavior, thought, or feeling. The...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • David Kearns
    • 1
  1. 1.Iowa CityUSA