Paradoxical intention refers to a technique described by Frankl in which the client is told to consciously attempt to perform the very behavior or response that is the object of anxiety or concern.

The Paradox is that the person will often be unable to do what he/she fears doing when he/she tries to do it intentionally. Paradoxical intention, moreover, is a therapeutic strategy in which clients are instructed to engage and exaggerate behaviors that they seek to change. By prescribing the symptom, therapists make patients more aware of their situation and help them achieve distance from the symptoms. For example, a patient who is afraid of mice may be asked to exaggerate his fear of mice, or a patient who hoards paper may be asked to exaggerate that behavior so that living becomes difficult. In this way individuals can become more aware of and more distant from their symptoms.

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