1) Focus on: No-Frills Predicting / Forecasting

No-frills predicting includes many aspects common to all paradoxical interventions. It might be considered the ‘Brand X’ of paradoxical interventions since it covers its most basic concepts. An appreciation of no-frills predicting therefore provides a foundation for subsequent interventions.

Here as with all interventions, it is important to acquaint oneself with the orbits-gravity paradigm. The paradigm offers the basic theory that supports the counter-intuitive nature of the method. As explained elsewhere, the orbits-gravity model can be seen as an ‘alive system.’ This parallels the alive quality of the human personality. The model indicates that shifts in gravity / attachment influence change in orbits / repetitive behavior. Since both systems function as a single whole, the model suggests that when a shift occurs in one orbit, there is a simultaneous shift for all orbits of that system.


Background and Examples:

Conceptualizing a no-frills predicting intervention is relatively simple. The clinician needs to identify a repetitive pattern of behavior by the client and simply mirror or ‘predict’ the pattern back to the client.

Often the client views his pattern as spontaneous and believes that the occurrence is unexpected. In the client’s mind his ‘unexpected spontaneity’ is proof that he has a distinct character and reinforces his perception as a ‘special and unique’ individual.

However the down-side of being ‘special and unique’ is that this contributes to his belief that he is ‘abandoned and alone’.

By predicting the behavior, the intervention has the powerful effect of soothing underlying fears related to abandonment. By reducing underlying tension related to abandonment, the intervention allows the client to relax in a way that increases a wider range of choices and thereby helps undo habitual behavior.

Again, the intent here is not to ‘trick’ the client with reverse psychology, but rather to advise him of the objective reality and predictability of his habitual patterns. 

Behaviors that no-frills predicting can effectively influence are ‘train schedule’ type cyclic patterns that include: Anger patterns- arguing, getting suspended, fighting, etc.; compulsive behaviors- clutter, door checking, hand washing, etc; habitual lateness; habitual lying; panic attacks, anxiety, etc.; and others.


Brief Summary -

‘Active Ingredient’ for change:  Promotes ‘joining’; strengthens the therapeutic alliance; thaws abandonment trauma.

Therapeutic Message: “I know you so well … I can forecast ‘when, where, and with whom’ you will have your next episode.”

Advantages: No-frills predicting is able to quickly engage the treatment-resistant client; bypasses resistance; avoids power struggles; acts as a catalyst to help client self-reflect; effective treatment does not depend on client’s “willingness to cooperate and participate.” 

Clinical Process: As the saying goes: “that the handle of the axe which chops the forest comes from a tree in the forest itself” (Sanhedrin 39b).

The role of the clinician is to ‘strengthen the alliance.’ This is accomplished by ‘joining with’ the client’s cyclic and repetitive patterns. In unexpected fashion, the intervention utilizes the exact habitual behavior that treatment seeks to extinguish as the channel to reinforce the alliance.

By attaching to habitual behavior, the client is unable to escape or avoid the therapeutic bond. In essence the intervention uses the client’s own behavior as leverage to undo the behavior.

By predicting a repetitive pattern, the clinician conveys in a non-confrontational manner that the client has ‘forfeited his free-will’ over that pattern. As the client recognizes that his predictable responses indicate a ‘loss of free-will’, his natural tendency is to react in a manner to regain his ‘free-will status.’

Strategic Use: As discussed elsewhere, strategic interventions are useful in targeting ‘hard-to-reach’ behavior. Such hard-to-reach behaviors are those patterns that happen infrequently, and have long stretches in their cyclic occurrence.

These hard-to-reach behaviors are often volatile and dangerous behaviors of primary treatment concern. Such behaviors include: problem sexual behavior (PSB), fire setting, explosive (mounting tension) violence, etc. Although such behaviors have a repetitive flavor, due to their infrequent occurrence, they do not follow a strict “train schedule” as is seen in more frequent patterns. 

In addressing infrequent behaviors the clinician needs to utilize a strategic approach. This is done by addressing high frequency secondary orbits that are less volatile. The understanding here is that since the ‘personality system’ acts as a single whole, when shifts occur in secondary orbits that reflects simultaneous shifts in less frequent but more volatile behaviors as well.

In strategic paradoxical interventions the clinician addresses orbits that are generally non-crimenogenic and usually of lesser treatment concern (i.e.; anger, social skills, trust issues, manipulative behaviors, etc.) By impacting these behaviors, interventions have simultaneous influence on volatile crimenogenic behaviors.

No-frills predicting is a powerful tool to strategically address hard-to-reach volatile behaviors due to their ability to effectively impact high frequency repetitive orbits of behavior.

Astronomer: In doing a predicting intervention, the clinician needs to think of himself as an ‘astronomer’ whose intent is to simply track the movements of planets. While this may initially seem passive, in fact, the paradox clinician is quite active in the treatment process. This active role however, occurs by being a ‘catalyst’ for change, rather than one who attempts to orchestrate change directly.

As a catalyst for change the clinician / astronomer focuses on: 1) being an unbiased ‘witness’ who accurately observes facts as they occur; 2) maintaining ‘unconditional positive regard’ with no personal agenda regarding what a client’s orbits “should be.”  It is therefore not his role to ‘judge’ whether a behavior (orbit) is going ‘in the right direction’, is ‘too fast’, or ‘too slow’, etc.; 3) identifying the ‘rate, range, and frequency’ of past orbits, so that he can ‘hypothesize’ likely future events and situations.

As an ‘astronomer’, the clinician’s role is to maintain an ‘even keel’ detached and ‘scientific’ stance. In so doing he is impartial as he collects data, and seeks to remain impartial when offering his “forecast.” In this fashion, the clinician identifies the progression and details of past conflicts. He then uses these details based on past performance to predict ‘when, where, and with whom’, the next event series will likely take place.

The role of an astronomer has an ‘effortless’ quality since he makes no attempt to change orbits that he observes. In similar fashion, in doing no-frills predicting it is not the clinician’s role to engage in power struggles around client behavior or referee disputes between family members. By eliminating customary client-clinician power struggles,-when done correctly- paradoxical interventions are effortless to implement.


Where’s the beef?!

At this point, from a ‘logical point of view’, the reader may say, “Where’s the beef?!” The intervention doesn’t seem “to do much of anything.” All we have done is acknowledge what the client does already! What have we accomplished?! After all, we have offered no deep analysis, no insight, no instructions, and no reward - to promote change! Predicting appears to be a quite ‘superficial approach!’


How does ‘no-frills predicting’ impact the client?

As it turns out, one of the main advantages of predicting is its ‘simplicity’. As such, the intervention is easily underestimated by clients and clinicians alike.

In fact, the ‘act of predicting’ addresses the client’s essense as a ‘free-will being.’ The superficial aspect allows the intervention to come across as non-threatening. This allows the clinician to gain entry in an easy and unobtrusive manner. Although seemingly superficial, the intervention actually impacts the client in conscious and unconscious ways on various simultaneous levels; behaviorally, cognitively, and emotionally.

1) Self-reflect: The intervention impacts the client on numerous levels. In an unassuming way, the process does not advise, instruct, or reward the client to change. However, in simple fashion the process moves the client ‘to see himself as others do’. This allows him to ‘reflect’ on his own behavior, and thereby gain a new and broader awareness of himself. 

While ongoing patterns and habits are often obvious to those who know the client, those same obvious behaviors are often outside the client’s own self-awareness. Predicting forces the client to gain a ‘bird’s eye-view’ of himself. In this way, he suddenly sees himself as others do. Reactions that he always considered as being ‘free-will and spontaneous expressions’, he suddenly recognizes how others see as ‘predictable’ and ‘expected.’

For clients who had mistakenly assumed that their habitual and disruptive behavior were a result of free-will, this unexpected perspective sheds new light on old behavior.

2) Re-owning Free-will: The client often experiences the intervention ‘as a dare’ to his free-will expression. As such it touches the deepest levels of his ‘human pride’ and ‘self-esteem.’ In a seemingly off-hand and casual way, ‘predicting’ confronts the client without verbally saying, “OK, I’m now confronting your free-will!” 

While it is understood that animals might be ‘stuck’ in their orbits of instinctual behavior, the essence of man seeks to transcend his animalistic behavior. Transcending his animal nature allows the individual to own the superiority of his human status, and thereby experience the ‘reward’ of increased self-esteem.

Although it is quite possible to calculate and predict lower animal behavior due to their dominant instinctual nature, the notion of predicting human behavior is absurd. With this in mind, the intervention is designed to spark the client’s desire to re-own his free-will potential.

While it might be expected that high IQ people would be aware that it is absurd to question their free-will, it turns out that even those with low IQ recognize the absurdity. The ridiculous of predicting often helps the client to be more focused and energized in his efforts to prove the prediction wrong. It is by indicating the stark error of the prediction that he proves to himself and others the dominant nature of his free-will spirit.

3) Self-esteem: Predicting utilizes a win-win double-bind methodology to raise client self-esteem. There is an automatic increase in self-esteem when the client is able to ‘take responsibility’ for his actions. To this end, the nature of ‘no-frills predicting’ will place the client in the dilemma of a win-win double-bind.

The significance of the win-win double-bind is that no matter which way he turns, he “wins.” ‘Winning’ in this case refers to the predicament of having to ‘take responsibility’ for himself and his actions - whether he continues or refutes his predicted behavior. In this way, the intervention forces an increase in self esteem!

If he does the predicted behavior, the client is to be congratulated for doing his ‘usual behavior’ and proving the clinician’s calculation correct. Here, his actions make him ‘responsible’ for the strengthening of the therapeutic alliance. If he does not do the predicted behavior, this means the client ‘took responsibility’ to undo his habitual pattern.

The win-win double-bind is often a ‘positive but uncomfortable’ experience for one who is accustomed to a ‘lose-lose lifestyle’. Someone who has always lived a ‘lose-lose lifestyle’ is familiar with that role; however in a (therapeutic) twist of fate he becomes entangled in a win-win double-bind that places him in the unexpected and unfamiliar position of ‘winning.’

One might assume that in order to feel an increase in self-esteem, the individual needs to first resolve his double-bind. In interesting fashion, even when the win-win double-bind is not yet resolved, the nature of the intervention serves to raise client self-esteem. This occurs by his mere recognition that he is in a win-win dilemma. In contrast, since animals can never grasp or comprehend a win-win predicament the client intuitively understands that his human status is being addressed. In this way, the combined focus on a free-will / win-win paradox heightens the client’s awareness of his human spirit and ‘forces’ an increase in self-esteem.

4) Abandonment Trauma: The intervention effectively thaws the cold isolation of abandonment trauma. Through no-frills predicting, the client suddenly realizes that his perceptions of being “unseen and alone” are revealed as false.

While the client will likely feel challenged, the intervention is oriented toward his future behavior thereby making any protests or verbal arguments to the prediction pointless. The intervention thereby creates a dynamic that stretches the client through time as it reminds him that “his actions are being observed” by the clinician and others. In this way the intervention ‘imposes’ upon the client that he is connected and seen by others in a way he had not anticipated.

By challenging the client in the ‘here and now’, the intervention brings him into the awareness that today is a new day. Rather than letting him wallow in the isolation of past trauma, the intervention reminds him of his ongoing connection with others. In this way, the clinician undermines the debilitating effects of historic abandonment trauma.

No-frills predicting creates an experience that projects the reality of his intrinsic connection with other people. The message conveyed is: We are so connected that we can predict what you will do, before you do it!

5) Therapeutic Alliance: No-frills predicting compels the strengthening of the therapeutic alliance. In a matter-of-fact way the intervention establishes a palpable connection between the clinician and client. In so doing, the client clearly recognizes the clinician as an active observer and witness to the forecasted events. By predicting habitual behavior, the clinician hijacks the alliance so that there is no way to escape or avoid the clinician’s shadow.

6) Totally Absurd: No-frills predicting highlights the absurd quality of all paradoxical interventions. In reality it is absurd and illogic to attempt to predict human behavior.

Although it is possible to predict animal behavior due to the limited range of their instinctual existence, the discrepancy of man’s personality makes it pointless to consider predicting human behavior in the same way. Yet it is this exact paradox and ridiculous aspect of the intervention that challenges the client to take self-responsibility to prove the superiority of his human existence.

The upside-down quality of the intervention promotes a humorous tone that bypasses the client’s habitual defenses. In bizarre fashion no-frills predicting confronts the client in an unexpected manner that “breaks through” his usual defensive barriers in a way that systematic logic can not touch.    

By predicting behavior in a linear and logical manner, the intervention insinuates that the client ‘lacks free-will!’ This places him in a dilemma. In this way without ‘advising or instructing’ the client to ‘reclaim his free-will’, the intervention becomes a ‘catalyst’ in motivating him to undo habitual patterns and re-own his free-will status.

7) Without planning or forethought – Conventional wisdom assumes that for change to occur, the client must plan or have the conscious intent to change. As strange as it may sound, no-frills predicting instigates change in a manner that does not rely on the client’s overt desire to “make changes.”  Just as water flows effortlessly down hill so too the intervention facilitates a process that results in effortless change.

In general, the treatment-resistant client has difficulty changing due to ‘false beliefs’ that he assumes are ‘absolute reality.’ In his assumption that his world view is true, he creates a perpetual lifestyle that supports his erroneous perceptions.

The most basic false beliefs are that he is ‘abandoned and alone’ and that habitual defiant behaviors are an ‘expression of free-will.’

No-frills predicting conveys in a non-threatening manner that he is neither abandoned nor alone, and that his habitual patterns are not expressions of his free-will.

By conveying to the client a deeper and more relevant truth, the process of change becomes natural and effortless. By suddenly gaining a broader world view of self and others, there is a natural and organic movement in which the personality gravitates toward the reorienting of one’s attitude and behavior. 

Rather than attempting to convince, instruct, or reward the client through external means, the primary innovation of the paradoxical method is that it is a catalyst toward influencing an internal existential re-orientation. As a result the process of change occurs effortlessly in a manner that occurs without planning or forethought.

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