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Paradoxical Intention

Description of the Strategy

Of the techniques that fall into the classification of therapeutic paradox, paradoxical intention has been the most common to appear in the literature of behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy. This popularity is perhaps due to two factors: It is effective with a wide variety of anxiety disorders, and it is easily incorporated as a primary or ancillary procedure into behavioral treatment programs.

The procedure requires individuals, paradoxically, to intend to do the very thing that they are trying not to do. A common example of its use occurs with some clients complaining of sleep onset insomnia. The paradoxical intention instruction requires, when they go to bed, that they remain awake as long as possible. The instruction ...

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