Published on

Double Exposure

    Double Exposure
  • Name

Summary of "Reading Naven: Towards the Integration of Culture in Systemic Psychotherapy" by Britt Krause


This scholarly article explores the integration of cultural dimensions into systemic psychotherapy through the lens of Gregory Bateson's ethnographic work, "Naven," focusing on a ritual among the Iatmul People of New Guinea. It discusses foundational concepts such as schismogenesis, feedback loops, and cybernetic principles, aiming to enrich systemic psychotherapeutic practices with a deeper cultural understanding.


The paper begins by highlighting the importance of cultural considerations in psychotherapy, arguing that systemic approaches must evolve to incorporate these dimensions more fully. Krause posits that Bateson's work offers valuable insights into how cultural patterns influence individual and group behaviors, which can be pivotal for therapeutic interventions.

Theoretical Background

  • Schismogenesis: Explained as a process of relationship differentiation that can either be complementary or symmetrical, leading to conflict escalation or resolution.
  • Feedback Loops: Discussed in the context of therapeutic settings, emphasizing how understanding these cycles can help in managing dynamics within families and groups.
  • Cybernetic Concepts: The paper delves into the relevance of cybernetics for systemic therapy, particularly in understanding complex systems and behaviors.


Krause employs a qualitative analysis of "Naven" alongside contemporary systemic psychotherapy literature to draw parallels and extract applicable lessons for modern practices.


The discussion section bridges the gap between Bateson's anthropological findings and their implications for psychotherapy. It suggests that recognizing the role of cultural rituals and symbols can enhance therapeutic outcomes by acknowledging their significance in clients' lives.


Krause concludes that Bateson's ethnographic work offers a rich source of knowledge for systemic psychotherapists. By integrating cultural insights into therapeutic practices, professionals can achieve a more holistic and effective approach to treatment.