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Paradoxical techniques are used as strategies in psychotherapy and behavior therapy to help client reframe their difficulties. Broadly with this approach therapists encourage clients to continue with their symptoms and the supporting behaviors. The paradox is then that the person they have asked to help them reduce their difficulties is telling them to continue with their problems.
When is such an appproach useful
When used with subtlety this strategy can be helpful in a number of ways.
- With anxious clients asking them to continue may reduce their anxiety and may help build rapport. They woill feel relieved that they are not being expected to change to quickly.
- When said in the context of ""It is your life and you can continue to do this if you wish, there is nothing I as a therapist can do to stop you" it can help dependent clients face their central issue - that they must take responsibility for themselves, as no one else can do it for them.
- It can help stuck and addicted clients look at the absurdity of their situation anew.
How does it work
The approach may work at a number of different levels sometimes simultaneously.