In dealing with anxiety or fear, you can use "Reverse Psychology" to its maximum. "Paradoxical Intention" (Milton Erickson) is one of the techniques based on this commonly accepted method.
When we feel anxious or fearful, our normal reaction is to counteract it by trying not to feel anxious or fearful. However, the harder we try not to feel anxious or fearful, the more anxious or fearful we become. It is like pouring gasoline onto fire; the more gasoline, the bigger the fire. The more mental energy we pour to counteract the anxiety or the fear, the bigger it grows. What if we do the opposite to this "normal intention" for anxiety or fear? In the Paradoxical Intention, you will try to intensify or magnify the anxiety or the fear in order to see how much or how far you can "take it." You should not try this technique to minimize the anxiety or the fear. You should really "challenge" your anxiety or fear. Your intention should be to test your strength or to try to push yourself beyond your limits.
This technique works because the worst fear is the fear of fear. Once you decide to challenge it, the fear of fear disappears and your anxiety or fear quickly dissipates. Reverse psychology or paradoxical intervention can get complex, and tortuous, than the reverse psychology employed most frequently by parents infuriated by their child’s rebellious attitude. I experience the call for to highlight that utilizing paradoxical interventions to deal with hard to deal with problems only appears irrational. In fact, they make just right and usually reflective psychological sense. Paradoxically, by a therapist’s seemingly distorting logic itself, the recipients of paradoxical messages can be provoked to alter both their point of view and behavior. Such interventions, at their best, can be astonishingly effective; particularly when earlier, more clear-cut methods have already missed their spot.
Reverse psychology is not telling someone to do the opposite of what you really want them to do, which regrettably denotes that the technique is little more than deceit–clever manipulation of another’s resistance. In that paradoxical interventions appropriately applied aren’t simply about something you want others to do, it’s about something they should do, something that would in fact be good for them; which means that employing such techniques isn’t solely about outwitting someone, or cunningly imposing your will on them.
An example with the master of such techniques, psychiatrist Milton Erickson who, when his child declined to eat the asparagus, opposed his wife’s insistence by telling his young son that of course he shouldn’t eat his asparagus; giftedly offering him with the unacceptable reason; "You’re not old enough;" which was sufficient to get the unwilling child to straight away set about to consume his asparagus, to show clearly to his parents that, yes, he was certainly old enough to eat the "advanced" vegetable.
Note that in the above example, Erickson succeeds with his child not because he sides with the child’s confrontation but, far more significant, because he speaks the conflict in such a way that the child is newly motivated to try what earlier he had obstinately refused to. It is primarily the reframing that makes a paradoxical intervention work, rather than just telling the child to go ahead and resist; hoping that in so doing the child will show an emotional reaction in direct contradiction to threaten behavioral freedom because he or she experiences their autonomy as threatened.
Reverse psychology is not that if people highlight their negative behaviors to themselves, they’ll somehow be motivated to change them. When people’s thoughts, attitudes, and actions are self-defeating, they generally reveal little or no awareness of it. So they could hardly be expected to set up nonsensical sayings to rebel against and thus be cured. To employ paradoxical intervention, completely understand and reflect on true spirit of reverse psychology.
- My books Table of Contents (tappingintou.org)
- Anxiety in the Elderly: 5 Common Sources (assistedlivingtoday.com)
- How to Choose a Sedation Dentist (topdentists.com)
- Fear and anxiety: coping, reframing, transforming… (beyondmeds.com)
- Number of ‘anxious’ kids skyrockets (stuff.co.nz)
- Why Some People Are Afraid To Relax (medicalnewstoday.com)
- When Someone You Know Struggles With Fear, Anxiety and Stress (managingfear.wordpress.com)
- Why Joining the Enemy Might Be Your Best Bet (carolinechristine.com)