Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology
How to Cite
Shoham, V. and Rohrbaugh, M. J. 2010. Paradoxical Intervention. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–4.
- Published Online: 30 JAN 2010
Paradoxical interventions are psychotherapeutic tactics that seem to contradict the goals they are designed to achieve. For example, a therapist may prescribe that clients deliberately have an unwanted symptom or restrain them from changing. In the classic definition of a therapeutic double-bind or paradox, “an injunction is so structured that it (1) reinforces the behavior the patient expects to be changed, (2) implies that this reinforcement is the vehicle of change, and (3) thereby creates a paradox because the patient is told to change by remaining unchanged” (Watzlawick, Beavin, & Jackson, 1967, p. 241).