Power or Pattern? A Brief, Relational Approach
Department of Family Therapy
Family Therapy Magazine
The metaphor of power is an alluring one — it can explain so much: social inequality, challenging and disrespectful family dynamics, domestic violence, and a host of other difficulties we find ourselves entangled with alongside our clients. Gregory Bateson was critical of the notion of power, not because he didn’t recognize the potential for differential influence, or even exploitation in relationships. He rejected it instead because the notion of power inclines us to conceptualize the source of such influence as unilateral, residing within an individual, rather than in terms of relationship—the patterns of interaction that are informed by context, history, and culture. From a Batesonian perspective, the alternative to thinking in terms of power is to think in terms of pattern.
Green, S. K. (2011). Power or Pattern? A Brief, Relational Approach. Family Therapy Magazine, 9-11. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/shss_facarticles/621