Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Paradox in Strategic Couple and Family Therapy

  • James RubyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_296

Name of the Intervention

Paradox in Strategic Couple and Family Therapy


Paradoxical interventions; Paradoxical techniques


Paradoxical interventions are therapeutic techniques that play an important role in couple and family therapy, particularly within communication, strategic, and systemic therapy. The couple or the family is often exposed to contradictory or counterintuitive instructions from the family therapist. By introducing these types of instructions, the clients are placed in a situation that is not resolved by means of logic, sometimes called a double bind (Bateson et al. 1963). The couple or family is forced to change their ways of understanding. This is often referred to as second-order change, which will be discussed in more detail later in this article.

Theoretical Framework

Gregory Bateson, Jay Haley, Don Jackson, John Weakland, and others within the Mental Research Institute in Palo Alto, California, helped transform the nature of family work by...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA