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Effective Types of Linguistic Binds Used in Therapy

Effective Types of Linguistic Binds Used in Therapy

There are a variety of effective types of linguistic binds used in therapy which offer a free choice of two or more comparable alternatives-that is, whichever choice is made leads behavior in a desired direction. Therapeutic binds are tactful presentations of the possible alternate forms of constructive behavior that are available to the client in a given situation. The client is given free, voluntary choice between them; the patient usually feels bound, however, to accept one alternative. Some effective types of linguistic binds in therapy are:

Simple Binds: These are most easily formed by posing questions that give the client an apparent free choice among comparable alternatives. (Eg. Would you like to go into a trance sitting in this chair or that one, or standing up or lying down)

Time Double Binds: A time double bind is designed to evoke a response on an autonomous level. These binds link some element of time to some autonomic response like warmth/coolness/anesthesia etc. (Eg. And when do you think that blushing will start?)

The Conscious/Unconscious Double Bind: By definition the conscious mind cannot control the unconscious mind. So it is useful to presuppose the existence of both a conscious and an unconscious mind. The conscious/unconscious split implies a dissociation which can be utilized to do therapeutic work. (Eg. If your unconscious wants you to enter trance, your right hand will lift. Otherwise your left hand will lift)

The Double Dissociation Double Bind: These binds involve a dissociation that occurs on two levels. (Eg You can as a person awaken but you do not need to awaken as a body (Pause) You can awaken when your body awakens but without a recognition of your body)

The Reverse Set Double Bind: This double bind permits the client to both resist and to yield by giving them two ways of resisting. You can select which way of resisting you wish them to follow. (Eg Keep sitting in that chair and being quiet and unresponsive, or you might wish to move or talk just a bit, but not too much or too soon. And sometimes it is really hard to be completely inactive isn’t it.)

The Non-Sequitur Double Bind: Erickson was fond of using non sequiturs or illogical statements as double binds. This playing with words appealed to his sense of humor. (Eg Would you rather go to bed at 8:30 or exactly at 8:45)

Within my practice I use a variety effective of types of linguistic binds in therapy on a regular basis with my clients.

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