Introduction -

‘Paradox’ refers to the dilemma  and predicament of  our  human condition. It addresses man’s perpetual struggle with uncertainty.

Of the many psychological aspects that define man, paradox psychology addresses the most basic struggle between the 2 primary issues that dominate the personality: free-will expression and abandonment trauma.

‘Free-will’ is open and expansive; ‘Abandonment trauma’ is fear-based and constricted.

The interaction between free-will and abandonment trauma is the source of constant tension within the personality. As would be expected free-will is creative, light, spirited, a sunny day in the park, hanging out with friends…; while abandonment trauma is sitting under a dark cloud, in a cold pit, in the middle of the desert, chasing away the scorpions… 

Paradox psychology offers perspective on this perpetual struggle.  Research indicates that the type of parental bond will have strong influence shaping personality development. As it turns out, Attachment Theory addresses the nuances of parent bonding. With attachment theory as the common denominator, we gain insights that provide an understanding for free-will and trauma based personality systems. 

For those lucky enough to have attentive parents, their attachment experience leads to the development of a personality that is flexible and adept at making ‘free-will choices.’  However, not everyone has the opportunity for healthy bonding. As a result trauma based personalities tend to turn inward in a manner that emphasizes the isolation of self and constriction of expression.

Fortunately through proper psychotherapy it is possible to have a corrective  ‘attachment experience’.

As part of this corrective experience numerous studies indicate that successful treatment inevitably includes a strong component based on a strong and supportive ‘therapeutic alliance.

As will be discussed, the therapeutic alliance is particularly relevant in addressing the treatment-resistant client; the client who specifically avoids or resists treatment.  While the psychology field has many workable theories and approaches for treating the ‘motivated client’, -the client who wants to change his life- the field offers little direction regarding theory, treatment, and practice for working with those who resist treatment.  

Although it is clear that treatment-resistant clients have often suffered severe abandonment trauma early in life, the main issue seems to be that they have lost their ‘compass’ in telling the difference between ‘light and dark’ and ‘right and wrong’. While the motivated client still has his ‘compass’ intact as he searches for a better life, the treatment-resistant client is often unaware of the extent of his destructive behavior and rigid patterns.

For these people, life often gets turned upside-down; “light is dark and dark becomes light.” As part of their denial  they escape into alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex - and other destructive behaviors.  Due to their denial and upside-down thinking their problems become further compounded with the belief that he is “making a free-will choice to go down the road” toward his destruction.  In his mind he believes that his resistance and rejection of help is evidence of his “independent spirit and free-will.”   

The advantage of paradoxical interventions is that it specifically addresses treatment-resistance in those trapped by their historic trauma.

As will be discussed,  paradox psychology explains the theory and mechanism behind the counter-intuitive nature of paradoxical interventions. Further, we will address how interventions act as a catalyst to influence free-will change in those who have no conscious intent, desire, or motivation to change.              EPK 1-14-12