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Overcoming obstacles in learning cybernetic psychology

Philip Baron (Electric and Electronic Engineering, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 3 November 2014




When reviewing the prospectus of mainstream universities that offer psychology majors, one would be hard-pressed to find any cybernetic approaches included in their course material. This is an unfortunate observation as most psychological problems arise in a relational context. Reasons for this status quo are presented. The purpose of this paper is to reduce obstacles for prospective learners in cybernetic psychology, with the hope that cybernetic psychology may be assimilated and seen as an equal footing paradigm in mainstream psychology teachings.


A popular cybernetics web site is often used by students who are learning cybernetic psychology. Using the responses from students who frequent the online resource, solutions are presented based on the questions that students have asked the author of the site.


Students are taught different therapy paradigms in terms of models; the psychodynamic model, the medical model, the person-centred model; the systems model and so forth. Their position to the model is external and they can critically evaluate the different models and apply each model in an interpretation and analysis of various psychology case studies. Cybernetic psychology becomes problematic when that line of thinking is used.

Practical implications

Cybernetic psychology stands as an ethical choice for therapy. Reducing the boundaries for cybernetic therapies to be assimilated in the mainstream context, especially if offered by universities as an equal footing paradigm, which would be in keeping with the WHO's call for responsible ethical therapy interventions.


There is limited information on how to perform cybernetic psychology. This is understandable owing to the nature of cybernetics; however, reliable and stable approaches should still be available for students who are new to this epistemology. There needs to be an entering point into this way of thinking so that cybernetic psychology remains accessible to newcomers.



Baron, P. (2014), "Overcoming obstacles in learning cybernetic psychology", Kybernetes, Vol. 43 No. 9/10, pp. 1301-1309.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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