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 (Unpublished master’s thesis).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 began talking to clients about how their attempts to escape from difficulties increased those difficulties. For example, problems in a relationship led the person to flee to the pokies, leading to money losses, which worsened the relationship and led to more gambling. This vicious cycle tends to escalate the relationship problems, escape, and gambling losses.
|More escape via gambling||———->||More gambling loses|
|Increased relationship problems||<———-||*|
People can get stuck in escalating dynamics like this. I used the systems theory concept of amplifying feedback, and I focussed my social work masters on research into this way of working.
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., for the Arctic sea-ice:
|More global heating||———->||More ice melting|
|Sunlight reflected less & absorbed more||<———-||Less ice & more open water|
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 damaging gambling or planetary heating.) However, the critical task is a cure or recovery, 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 towards the vision|
While this dynamic is dominant, more commitment to a vision leads to more progress towards the vision, leading to more benefits that lead to 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