Re: scientific status of PCP, & New 'language/action' paradigm

Gary Blanchard (
Tue, 25 Jun 1996 03:45:34 -0700

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Dear Tim -

Thanks for your good post. I want to respond, in part because I
feel you are relating to me as a colleague, open to learning.
I even sense the possibility of some friendship developing between us.
I like that, if only because that's the best way for explorations to
proceed, in my view.

Now, to your post:

>You wrote:
>.... Your post had the sound of a goodbye, and I hope you will still be
> out there to receive this.

My compliments on your sensitivity. I do have a sense that many of the
people on this list are closed to possibility, and demand to be shown new
wonders on their terms, free of charge. I have spent thousands of hours
and dollars, over a 12 year period, learning, practicing and teaching
this new 'language/action' approach to Constructivism. I have no need to
share this, nor any obligation. I do so as a professional courtesy to me

But the response I have received from some members resembles that of many
self-indulgent, disrespectful American teenagers: surly self-entitlement
and role-reversal power struggles. Well, I am not sufficiently competent
in skill or temperament to indulge that attitude, so I was indicating
that I was breaking my current effort off, but would be willing to
continue under different circumstances in the future.

Just showing people something new in a cooperative, friendly way is
time-consuming and challenging enough, as I'm sure you and many others
here are aware. To attempt to do it with people who don't really want you
to, is, for me, impossible. It also indicates, to me, that they have a
big problem with trust, a preliminary issue of significance all by

And I know it is an old story: the new paradigm having difficulty
achieving understanding and acceptance. I thought it would be different
with a population like this. Maybe it yet will be. We'll see.

You continued:
>You wrote of new possibilities and new ways of experiencing the world.
>I would just like to point out that one implication of your comments is
>that there is not just an "old" and a "new" paradigm; there are many old
>paradigms, and an infinite number of potential new paradigms--that's
>what makes constructivism so much fun!
With all due respect, Tim, that to me is just so much idle academic
chit-chat. When we switched from bleeding people to herbs and medecines,
that was a distinctively different practice and approach. When we
switched from riding horses to driving cars, that was, too. When we
switched from cutting people open with no regard for sanitary methods, to
disinfectants and boiling instruments before use, that was, too.

What I am reporting to you and this group is that there is a similar
watershed difference between the way we have always been in language, and
the way we now can be. The only question is: who is brave, interested,
committed, and suficiently able to be a student to learn this new
approach? It is here; I operate with it daily, as my remarks and
operations here attest.

Someone once said that you can't get anywhere new by continuing to go in
the same direction. I am interested in new directons, and have found
that this path takes me there. Each to their own.

So, Tim, what reactions do I trigger in you from all of this, if you care
to say? Pro, con, or otherwise. Anyone else, too. But I will not get
into any p..... contests with skunks!

Best wishes, Gary

To relegate such distinctions and consequences to the status of your
comment indicates that, despite your best intentions, you remain firmly
rooted in the old paradigm, at best aware of the new. This is not to be
critical, insulting, or anything else. It is simply to be honest and

> Cheers,
> Tim
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Tim Connor, M.S. "Psychotherapy is not
> Pacific University an applied science, it
> School of Professional Psychology is a basic science in
> 2004 Pacific Avenue which the scientists
> Forest Grove, OR 97116 USA are the client and his
> <> therapist"
> --George Kelly
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Paradigm Shift

A paradigm shift is defined as a major change in the way things are thought
about, especially scientifically.

Once a problem can no longer be solved in the existing paradigm, new laws
and theories emerge and form a new paradigm, overthrowing the old if it is
accepted. Paradigm shifts are the "occasional, discontinuous, revolutionary
changes in tacitly shared points of view and preconceptions."(Daly, 1980,
p.1) To abandon one paradigm for another is to alter the entire intellectual
basis of a community whether it be scientific, political or otherwise. They
represent "a profound change in the thoughts, perceptions, and values that
form a particular vision of reality."(Capra, p.30) Capra also adds that
paradigm shifts are usually brought about by people who are young or new to
a particular discipline since they are relatively free of established


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Compiled by

Keith Cunningham kc3@cec.wustl.eduLast Updated 10/31/94