What comes to your mind when you hear the statement “The symptom is the cure”?
How can the symptom become medicine to cure it? Are you curious?
We are going to talk about the Paradoxical Theory of Change.
Webster reveals to us that the word paradox is derived from the Greek para (beyond) and dox (opinion). We can also translate it as the “statement contrary to common belief”.
The theory states that change happens when one becomes what he/she is, not when he/she tries to become what he/she is not.
The truth is the more you try to be something that you are not, the more you will stay right where you are.
When it comes to our emotional/mental well-being, we can’t change the way we feel/react only by trying, forcing, or pushing ourselves into what is right. The change in the way we feel/react happens when we invest our time, energy and focus on BECOMING the change.
- Choose to look at the symptom (negative emotion, uncomfortable feeling, negative thought, or negative behavior) as an opportunity to learn more about yourself;
- Allow yourself to feel the symptom without trying to change it. Be present with it. Don’t judge it, don’t fight it, don’t run away from it;
- Allow yourself to ACCEPT the symptom “to the best of your ability”;
- Repeat these three steps 7 to 12 times or until you become aware that the symptom is disappearing as you are actively accepting it.
Milton Erickson has taught us that whenever a thought or an emotion is completely experienced, it disappears fully. This is the Paradoxical Theory of Change in action.