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Interventions in which clients are directed to engage in a mildly noxious activity each time they engage in the targeted symptomatic behavior.


Instructing a symptomatic person to pretend to exhibit his or her symptom, which reclassifies that symptom as voluntary and not really "real".


Therapist accepts and exaggerates the client's stance on an issue.

restraining change

Encourage the client to "go slow" or not to change too much.

prescribing the symptom

Instructing the client to have more of a symptom. (Paradoxical injunction)


You put a positive connotation on behavior that is usually considered to be undesirable.

circular causality

Explains that behavior occurs in cycles and in a context, rather than as a result of cause and effect.

double bind

A communication that leaves the receiver in a no-win situation.


The tendency within a system to seek and maintain balance by maintaining the current situation and resisting change.


Use of language to give new meaning to a situation.

first order change

Change in which the fundamental rules of the system remain the same.

negative feedback

A process to correct system deviations by reestablishing the previous state of equilibrium.


Human interaction is typically complex and cyclical, in which people often attribute different meanings to events because they arbitrarily bracket or focus on different parts of the cycle.

positive feedback

The morphogenic, change-activating process within systems.

second order change

Strategies involving alteration of the fundamental rules or context in which a problem is embedded.

digital message

The content of the message.

circular causality

A contextual, cyclic view of behavior, as opposed to linear, cause and effect explanations of behavior.

analogic message

non-verbal, contextual part of a message -- can also be metaphorical or symbolic message.


Therapeutic tasks aimed at breaking inappropriate sequences of behavior.

paradoxical intervention (therapeutic paradox)

Involves a seemingly illogical intervention to bring about change

communication theory

Developed in Bateson's schizophrenic project, this became the roots of strategic therapy

paradoxical techniques

Erickson's work with hypnosis; commonly used in strategic therapies.

MRI model

Basis for Milan systemic model.


Strategic approach to changing rules; changes interpretations of behavior.

family hierarchy

Haley believes most family problems to be the result of ...


Caused by positive feedback loops.

structural problems

Caused by incongruous hierarchies.

functional problems

Caused by people trying to protect or control each other covertly.

hidden power alliances

Milan group believes problems to be caused by...

(strategic) paradoxical injunctions

Paradoxes in family communications; demanding a behavior that should be spontaneous.

reframe technique of positive connotation

Difference between Milan group and Haley in perception of client knowledge of issues which allows families to see things differently.

problem-maintaining sequences

Paradoxical interventions are used by strategic therapists.

problem stage

During this stage, Haley looks for clues about triangles and hierarchies.

interaction stage

During this stage, Haley looks for clues about coalitions.

high-conflict divorce

Example of Haley's artful common sense.

Milan group

5 stages: presession, session, intersession, intervention, post session discussion

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