Paradoxical Invitations: To Change Or Not To Change

We can invite another person to change in two ways. One is to offer a straightforward invitation. “You are currently X, might you prefer Y?” We can, for instance, invite a patient, friend or family member out of emotional suffering or self-defeating behavior and into a new way of being, feeling or doing.

A second way we can set the stage for change is by paradoxically inviting the person to stay the course and remain in the status quo. My colleague Matt May and I recently taught a short class on this second approach. Matt likens paradoxical invitation to high stakes poker – an image I like quite a lot. Moment to moment, our lives are this high stakes event: moment to moment we can indeed win or lose everything.

About Daniel Mintie

Daniel Mintie is a cogntive behavioral therapist with 28 years' experience treating PTSD. He teaches CBT at universities and training centers worldwide.

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