The Site Author
Author: Andrew Gunner
- BSc. Hons. Applied Maths,
- Social Work BSW,
- MSW by research.
- worked briefly at the Bureau of Meteorology; my applied maths qualified me to become a climate scientist,
- worked in a geophysics research team in Antarctic waters on a ship, the USNS Eltanin,
- worked for a petrol company and a petrochemical company for 20 years as an operations researcher, using maths and computers to guide decision-making,
- demonstrated from a rubber raft during the Franklin River Blockade,
- studied social work,
- worked as a counsellor for 17 years, including ten years as an addiction counsellor, working with problem gamblers,
- completed a master’s degree by research into the way I worked with clients,
- article published in the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy,
- volunteered for a climate-solutions think tank, and
- developed this website, starting in 2009.
Gunner (2002). “Problem gambling development and recovery: A reflective counsellor’s practical construction based on feedback”. (Unpublished master’s thesis). The University of Melbourne.
Gunner (2006), “Feedback Loops in Clinical Practice: An Integrative Framework”. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, September 2006, Volume 27, Number 3, Pages 143-152.
- urge action on climate change, and
- present “amplifying feedback” as a tool for understanding climate change and as a general organising principle.
Amplifying feedback in problem development
As a counsellor, I sometimes talked to clients about how their attempts to escape from difficulties actually increased those difficulties. For example, problems in a relationship led the person to escape to the pokies, leading to money losses, which worsened the relationship and led to more gambling. This vicious cycle tends to escalate their relationship problems, gambling escapes, and gambling losses.
|More attempts to escape from problems by gambling||More gambling losses|
|Increased relationship problems||*|
People can get stuck in escalating compulsive habits like this. This approach uses the “systems theory” concept of “amplifying feedback”, and I completed a master’s degree by researching this way of counselling.
Amplifying feedback in climate change
Amplifying feedback is also a critical part of climate change, so this site describes some feedback loops that threaten our liveable climate, e.g., the permafrost feedback cycle:
|Higher global temperatures||More melting of permafrost|
|More greenhouse gases||More CO2 and methane in the atmosphere|
Amplifying feedback in recovery
Understanding the vicious feedback loops that tend to escalate a problem is a diagnosis and can be helpful. (The problem can be problem gambling or global heating.) However, the critical task is to tackle the problem by fostering virtuous feedback loops that can produce hope and drive recovery. So, this site emphasises vision, progress, and benefits, a trio that can form a self-reinforcing causal cycle:
|More commitment to the vision||*|
|More benefits||More progress toward the vision|
While this dynamic is dominant, (1) more commitment to a vision leads to (2) more progress toward the vision, leading to (3) more benefits that lead to (4) an increased commitment.
The site name: Feedback Reigns
The broad relevance of feedback to climate change, human functioning, and more led to this website’s name: “feedback reigns”.
To contact me, please see the Contact Page.
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Updated 15 June 2021