The therapist encourages the patient to intend or wish for, even if only for a second, precisely what they fear. oUsed for obsessive, compulsive and phobic conditions (not for suicidal or schizophrenic patients). oUseful in cases of underlying anticipatory anxiety, often works very quickly. oMobilises the human capacity for self-detachment, often with a sense of humour oHans Gerz claims that paradoxical intention is successful in 80-90% of cases The case of the sweating doctor (from Pyschotherapy and Existentialism, p 139) A young doctor had severe hydrophobia. One day, meeting his chief on the street, as he extended his hand in greeting, he noticed that he was perspiring more than usual. The next time he was in a similar situation he expected to perspire again, and this anticipatory anxiety precipitated excessive sweating. It was a vicious circle … We advised our patient, in the event that his anticipatory anxiety should recur, to resolve deliberately to show the people whom he confronted at the time just how much he could really sweat.A week later he returned to report that whenever he met anyone who triggered his anxiety, he said to himself, "I only sweated out a litre before, but now I'm going to pour out at least ten litres !" What was the result of this paradoxical resolution ? After suffering from his phobia for four years, he was quickly able, after only one session, to free himself of it for good. You are the logotherapist
In the following cases, what paradoxical intention, if any, would you recommend ? i)A man is fearful that he will die from a heart attack. Physical check-ups reveal him to be in good health. ii) An obsessive-compulsive comes to you because she is concerned about the number of times she washes her hands each day.
iii) A young man comes to you for help with stuttering. What do you advice ? iv) A schizophrenic is anxious that the people he sees on the tube are out to get him....