Paradoxical intention

Paradoxical intention

In psychotherapy, paradoxical intention is the deliberate practice of a neurotic habit or thought, undertaken in order to identify and remove it (Man's Search for Meaning - Victor Frankl). Frankl considers that coping with neuroses is often hinderd by the fear of failing to suppress their symptoms. Failure to suppress the neurotic behaviour or sympton adds feelings of inadequacy and depression to the original problem.

Developed by Viktor Frankl as a therapeutic technique, clients are encouraged to intensify their symptoms in order to increase their awareness of the symptom and its consequences. It also aids clients to see the absurdity of their symptom. Frankl cites the case of a man who feared sweating when in social situations. Frankl encouraged him to attempt to sweat copiously when in social situations: revelling in the symptom sparked the patient's humor and gave him a sense of control, eliminating the nervous tension driving the sweating.

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