Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Restraining in Couple and Family Therapy

  • J. Gregory BriggsEmail author
  • David M. Morgan
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_326

Name of Concept



Paradoxical directive


Restraining is a paradoxical intervention employed by strategic family therapists. It can be described as a final step in the process of issuing a paradoxical directive; it can also be described as a specific, self-contained type of paradoxical directive. In either case, as opposed to compliance-based interventions which depend on the cooperation of clients, restraining attempts – and paradoxical interventions generally – are defiance based (Papp 1980). Rather than challenging the client’s resistance in an attempt to induce change, the therapist takes the opposite approach, appearing to dissuade the client from changing. This strategy is based on the assumption that clients will defy the therapist’s apparent expectation, putting energy into disproving the therapist, thereby eventually embracing change. An additional consideration is that all behavior is seen as functional on some level, so the client’s symptoms...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Family ScienceLipscomb UniversityNashvilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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