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Formative Communication Vanna Boffo. The Communication. What is the communication? Why is the communication important ? Where is situated the communication?. The Communication. Theoretical aspects

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Formative Communication

Vanna Boffo

the communication
The Communication

What is the communication?

Why is the communication important ?

Where is situated the communication?

the communication1
The Communication

Theoretical aspects

Communication is the word that shows the exchange of the messages from unicellular to pluricellular animals, from a mechanism to the machines, from a man to another man.

The shapes of the communication are studied from Psychology, from Sociology, from the Theory of Information, from the Linguistic, Cybernatic depending from the fuynctions and the destinations

the communication theoretical aspects
The CommunicationTheoretical aspects
  • The communication shows the specific character of the human relationships, as they are, or can be, relationships of comprehension or reciprocal partecipation
  • The word is the synonimous of «co-being» or «life-with-others», shows the specific ways through which the human life can appear or can be
  • (Abbagnano N., Dizionario di filosofia, Torino, UTET, 1971, pp. 143-144).

The Structure of Communication

There are three factors explaining every shape of communication

(Jakobson R., Linguistica generale, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1963, p. 185).

The context

This is very important for understanding the message from the sender to the recipient

The code

The collection of rules, the system of symbols, the sequence of characters must be common at the sender and at the recipient

The contact

This must established between the sender and the recipient by a phisical channel and by a psychological channel


communication s models
Communication’s Models
  • In general the theory presents two types of Communication:
  • Verbal Communication
  • Non Verbal Communication
verbal and nonverbal communication
Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

Verbal and NonVerbal Communication are different aspects

of a same communicative process

  • Movements of the body, actions, gestures, expression of the face, attitudes, approaches, manners of be
  • Crying, laughhter, silences, break
  • The position of a men in the space
  • The distance between the Self and the others
  • The make-up, the clothing
verbal and nonverbal communication1
Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

The process of non verbal communication is established

by cultural factors.

The process of non verbal communication is changed by the psychological situation of the subjects in interaction


Each Communication is a social act in both direction:

The communication is between two or more person

The communication is in the inner of self or in the interior dialogue between the person and the self

Each sign is making in corrispondence of common experience or on the base of common cultural sistem



Formal Relationships among signes without any reference to the contents


Analysis of the relationships among the signes by the content. It is important the significance of the word and of the relations among the words


Analysis of the relations among the signes through their use during the life

models of the communication
Models of the Communication

Linear Model (Sender-message-recipient)

Interactive Model (Pragmatic of the human communication, Linguistic acts, Socio-Linguistic, with feedback)

Dialogical Model (The Communication is circular, the feedback is continuos)


Pragmatic of the Human Communication

(Watzlawick P., Beavin J. H., Jackson D. D., Pragmatica of the Human Communication, Roma, Astrolabio, 1971)


1. It is not possible no-communication

(The being haven’t an opposite side. Doesn’t exist a no-being). One Cannot Not Communicate

Every behavior is a form of communication. Because behavior does not have a counterpart (there is no anti-behavior), it is impossible not to communicate. Even if communication is being avoided (such as the unconscious use of non-verbals or symptom strategy), that is a form of communication. “Symptom strategy” is ascribing our silence to something beyond our control and makes no communication impossible. Examples of symptom strategy are sleepness, headaches, and drunkenness. Even facial expressions, digital communication, and being silent can be analyzed as communication by a receiver.

2 axioms
2° Axioms
  • Every communication has a content and relationship aspect such that the latter classifies the former and is therefore a metacommunication.
  • All communication includes, apart from the plain meaning of words, more information. This information is based on how the speaker wants to be understood and how he himself sees his relation to the receiver of information. Relationship is the command part of the message or how it is non-verbally said. Content is the report or what is said verbally. Being able to interpret both of these aspects is essential in understanding something that a communicator said. The relational aspect of interaction is known as metacommunication. Metacommunication is communication about communication. Relationship messages are always the most important element in communication.
3 axioms
3° Axioms
  • The nature of a relationship is dependent on the punctuation of the partners communication procedures:
  • Both the sender and the receiver of information structure the communication flow differently and therefore interpret their own behavior during communicating as merely a reaction on the other's behavior (i.e., every partner thinks the other one is the cause of a specific behavior). To punctuate a communication means to interpret an ongoing sequence of events by labeling one event as the cause and the following event as the response. In a situation with communication, if one thing happens, something else always happens. For example, a female in a relationship with a male is feeling depressed. The male in the relationship with the female feels guilty. One who observes this situation might ask, "Is she depressed because of his guilt, or does he feel guilty because of her depression?"
4 axiom
4° Axiom
  • Human communication involves both digital and analogical modalities:
  • This axiom refers back to the use of non-verbals and system strategy explained in the first axiom. It is mostly related to the digital content of communication within a relationship.
5 axiom
5° Axiom
  • Inter-human communication procedures are either symmetric or complementary:
  • This axiom focuses on metacommunication with two main components called symmetrical interchange and complementary interchange. Symmetrical interchange is an interaction based on equal power between communicators. In accordance to that, complementary interchange is an interaction based on differences in power. Within these two interchanges there are three different ways they can be used: one-up, one-down, and one-across. With a one-up communication, one communicator attempts to gain control of an exchange by dominating the overall communication. A one-down communication has the opposite effect. A communicator attempts to yield control of an interaction or submit to someone. The final message is a one-across communication. This communication moves to neutralize a situation. This is also called transitory if only one communicator is attempting this style. When two communicators use the same style of one-up, one-down, or one-across, it is symmetrical. If they are opposing one another it is complementary. This axiom allows us to understand how an interaction can be perceived by the styles a communicator is using.
pragmatics of the human communication s pathological aspects
Pragmatics of the Human Communication’s Pathological aspects

1. It is impossible not communicate

To Disqualify the Communication

The Human Communication as the Sign (Warning)

2. The Structure of the Communication

Level of the Content

Level of the Relationships

3. The Punctuation of the Event Sequences

4. Mistake in the translation of the communication

5. Pathological interactions

Symmetrical Escalation

Stiff Complementarity

paradoxal communication
Paradoxal Communication

What is a Paradox?

It is a contraditory statement that comes from correct and coherent precondition

There are three types of paradoxes

Logical/mathematical paradoxes (level of logical syntax)

Semantic paradoxes

(level of semantical statements)

Pragmatic Paradoxes

(level of pragmatic statements or behavior)

double bind
Double Bind
  • Anyone who has ever read a time travel novel probably understands what a paradox is. Can a man travel back in time to meet his grandfather if his presence in the past might result in the grandfather's premature death, thus rendering himself unable to ever be born? And if the man traveled back in time and his presence in the past actually DID result in such, then he would have never been born to travel back in time and alter the path of his grandfather's life in the first place. A paradox can make a person think and stretch their abilities to use both logic and imagination. Another popular example of a paradox: If someone says, “I am lying,” and we assume that his statement is true, then it must be false. The paradox is that the statement “I am lying” is false if it is true.
double bind1
Double Bind
  • When does the paradox become a double-bind?
  • When there is not an equal balance of power and a trusted person says to one in crisis, “I am lying”.
double bind2
Double Bind
  • A double-bind is two distinctly different sets of instructions given by the same source, such that to obey one set of instructions is to disobey the other. It is the classic no-win situation. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. This doesn't just happen to people when they are children in abusive households, it often happens to them again in therapy when they grow up and look for help.
double bind3
Double Bind
  • Gregory Bateson and his colleagues defined the double bind as follows[3] (paraphrased):
  • The situation involves two or more people, one of whom (for the purpose of the definition), is designated as the "victim". The others are people who are considered the victim's superiors: figures of authority (such as parents), whom the victim respects.
  • Repeated experience: the double bind is a recurrent theme in the experience of the victim, and as such, cannot be resolved as a single traumatic experience.
  • A "primary injunction" is imposed on the victim by the others in one of two forms:
  • (a) "Do X, or I will punish you";
  • (b) "Do not do X, or I will punish you".
  • (or both a and b)
  • The punishment may include the withdrawing of love, the expression of hate and anger, or abandonment resulting from the authority figure's expression of helplessness. A "secondary injunction" is imposed on the victim, conflicting with the first at a higher and more abstract level. For example: "You must do X, but only do it because you want to". It is unnecessary for this injunction to be expressed verbally.
  • If necessary, a "tertiary injunction" is imposed on the victim to prevent them from escaping the dilemma. See phrase examples below for clarification.
  • Finally, Bateson states that the complete list of the previous requirements may be unnecessary, in the event that the victim is already viewing their world in double bind patterns. Bateson goes on to give the general characteristics of such a relationship:
double bind4
Double Bind
  • When the victim is involved in an intense relationship; that is, a relationship in which he feels it is vitally important that he discriminate accurately what sort of message is being communicated so that he may respond appropriately;
  • And, the victim is caught in a situation in which the other person in the relationship is expressing two orders of message and one of these denies the other;
  • And, the victim is unable to comment on the messages being expressed to correct his discrimination of what order of message to respond to: i.e., he cannot make a metacommunicative statement.
pathologies and communication communicative pathological behavior
Pathologies and CommunicationCommunicative Pathological Behavior
  • Double bind
  • Mistification
  • Tangential Answer

Adult Educator and Adult teacher/trainer

Defensive Strategies or Projective


The process whereby, in a close relationship, as betweeen mother/child or student/teacher, parts of the self may in unconscious phantasy be thought of as being forced into the other person

wilfred bion s group theory
Wilfred Bion’s Group Theory

Bion’stheory is based in large part on his work managing a rehabilitation unit for psychiatric patients in the British Army during World War II and later with small groups at the TavistockClinic. The central concept in Bion’s theory is that in every group, two groups exist: the “work group” and the “basic assumption group”.

The work group is that element of group functioning that is concerned with the primary task or work of the group. The mature work group is aware of its purpose and can define its task. Its members work cooperatively as separate and discrete members who willingly choose to belong to the group because they identify with the interests of the group. This group tests its conclusions, seeks knowledge, and learns from its experience. Bionnotes that this level of maturity in the work group is very rare.

wilfred bion s group theory1
Wilfred Bion’s Group Theory
  • Of primary interest to Bion was the question of why groups employ ineffective and self-contradicting behavior that lessens the effectiveness of the group. Bion suggests that this is because in addition to the work group, the basic assumption group is at play. The basic assumption group can be thought of as the “as if” group, meaning that the group behaves “as if” certain tacit assumptions were held by the members. These assumptions are hidden in the group subconscious, outside the awareness of group members. Bion identified three types of basic assumption groups – the dependency, the fight-flight, and the pairing groups.
wilfred bion s group theory2
Wilfred Bion’s Group Theory
  • The primary goal of the dependency group is to have its members protected by one individual, usually the leader. The group’s behavior implies that the leader is all knowing and allpowerful, and that group members are ignorant, inadequate and immature. The intelligence and power of the leader are never questioned or tested by the group. Because no one can possibly fulfill this role, the leader inevitably arouses the disappointment and hostility of the group. Eventually, the group will dismiss the leader and appoint another group member in her place. Unfortunately, the new leader is destined to face a similar fate.
wilfred bion s group theory3
Wilfred Bion’s Group Theory
  • The fight-flight group assumes that it must preserve itself at all costs, and that this can be done only by fighting or fleeing from someone or something. The group has no tolerance for weakness and expects casualties since salvation of the group is more important than the needs of individual members. The fight-flight leader must inspire great courage and self-sacrifice, and lead the group against a common enemy. If none exists, the leader will create one. A leader who fails to afford the group the opportunity for retreat or attack will be considered ineffective and ultimately ignored
wilfred bion s group theory4
Wilfred Bion’s Group Theory
  • The pairing group assumes that the group has met for the purposes of reproduction, to bring forth a Savior or Messiah. In this group, two people (regardless of gender) get together to carry out the task of creating a new leader who will solve all the group’s problems, save the group from its own incompetence, and bring them into Utopia. A new leader or idea resulting from the union often will be annihilated by the group, allowing the group to maintain an air of hope and anticipation that another, as yet unborn leader will save it from feelings of despair and destruction (both its own and others).
team building
Team Building

The contents:

1) The balance between individual needs and the general aims

2) The observance of the diversity

3) The respect of the person/context

4) The building up of the group/institution

5) The growing up of the self (capability and competences of the self)

The methods

The conversation: every problem of the insitution must be discussed

The partecipation: every person partecipates to the discussion

team building1
Team Building

According to Bion, each of us has a tendency to enter into the unconscious aspect of group life

to a different degree, just as everyone has a tendency toward differing levels of cooperation within the work group. For effective functioning in groups, it is important for members (particularly leaders and group facilitators) to be aware of which basic assumption group

they lean toward.

the conflict
The Conflict


  • Evoid the Dogmatism and the escalationof the conflict
  • Evoid the manipulation
  • Make concrete the discussion
  • Encourage the partecipation
  • Evoid the change of the focus
  • Evoid the hard critics
  • Change the judjement in a positive sentence
  • Be positive
  • Be reflective
  • Be Flexible
no time dogmatism you must do no flexibility changing the direction don t do this
No time


… You Must do

No flexibility

Changing the direction

Don’t do this!!

Pathologies of the team communication

A. Wrong Intentions

B. Wrong Communications

C. Specific Rules

The Conflict can be born from

the mixture of these factors

Team Buildin and Conflict


Five guidelines for Reflexive Communication

Be concrete

Describe the feelings and the emotions

Describe the raisons

Be authentic

Be emphatic

Be congruent



  • Thank you very much to everyone