Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Positioning in Couple and Family Therapy

  • J. Gregory BriggsEmail author
  • Michelle A. Finley
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_299

Name of Intervention



Positioning is employed in the strategic family therapy model and is one of the paradoxical interventions that can be used with individuals, couples, or families. Like all paradoxical interventions, such as prescribing and restraining strategies, positioning is rooted in the assumption that clients resist change and are at times reluctant to adopt new ways of communicating and interacting (Stanton 1981). Positioning is an intervention founded on the expectation that clients will rebel against therapists’ directives (Rohrbaugh et al. 1981). Therefore, therapists employ positioning by accepting or exaggerating clients’ perspective on an issue. This paradoxical intervention is used to get clients to adopt a new and more helpful explanation of the problem in response to the therapist’s embellished perspective. Ultimately, the decision to use a paradoxical intervention and how to apply it (to the whole family or only part) lies in how seemingly...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Counseling, and Family ScienceLipscomb UniversityNashvilleUSA
  2. 2.Antioch University SeattleSeattleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA