In strategic therapy, therapists employ brief therapeutic procedures often in the form of paradox designed to change undesired patterns.


1. Paradoxical intervention - the therapist works to get the family to alter behavior by encouraging the problematic behavior, creating awareness of control over the behavior or defiance to it, leading to improvement.

2. Symptom prescription - the therapist prescribes the symptom, and what the individual or family may describe as "uncontrollable" is now encouraged by prescribing the problematic behavior as the only one allowed, encouraging the behavior by seeing how much it can be expanded (i.e. how many more tantrums the child can do and how the parents can provide a separate space for the child to do tantrums in a place where he/or she will be safe), or giving the behavior a time and space (i.e. worry from three to four times daily). Power and control structures are discovered within families when this technique is applied.

3. Reframing - this technique provides a positive rationale for treatment, whether or not the therapist believes it, so that it is logical to the individual or family to induce compliance for treatment.

4. Restraining technique/"one down" position - when the client begins to explain that he/or she cannot engage a new skill or behavior due to anxiety or other excuse, encourage the client to not do too much too soon, that clearly he/or she has only enough strength to show up for therapy.