Paradox and Orthodox: Folie A Deux?

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In the recent family therapy literature, therapists have been cautioned to use paradoxical looking techniques as a last resort, and they have been advised to refrain from using such actions with specific problems. These stances arise from a rigid adherence to a set of orthodox viewsfrom which these actions appear contradictory. Similar to family systems, when such orthodox therapy systems do not question or alter their own premises in the face of contradiction, they tend to attribute either badness or madness to the action and try to exorcise the badness or to banish theaction. The literature that either prescribes "paradox as a last resort," or that proscribes it altogether, is reviewed and critiqued. Walter Buckleys' process-adaptive system model is recommended as a positive alternative view from which such previously paradoxical actions may often be elected as alogical and effective first choice.

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