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Paradoxical Interventions

Paradoxical interventions have acquired a certain ‘fame’, because they appeared so different, so clever and so effective. And actually, from a metatheory viewpoint, they seem a favourable tool for using the guiding processes acceptance and personal responsibility in order to enable change, where change is not wanted. “I would suggest that tomorrow, in the meeting, you deliberately try to annoy your colleague Maier!” Such interventions only appear paradoxical (here = contradictory), if one sees effecting change as a task in counselling. If, as proclaimed in this approach, the task consists of allowing the client to explore how he creates the situation under which he suffers, how he stabilises it by fighting against it, or how he feels like a victim, how he belittles his problem and himself and thus maintains it (“I can’t do that!”), then interventions which encourage the client to purposefully carry out that which he does not want to do, is very sensible. To purposefully pay attention to something which one disdains and thus wishes to ‘do away with’, serves the same principle. Therefore, in many respects, this technique is categorised as a change-effective principle of metatheory psychodynamics.



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