Thank You

The brief dialogue “Thank You” shows how a surprise can stop aggression in its tracks. A similar use of non-sequiturs in conversation with people who habitually ignore the contributions of other participants (which is true for many patients suffering from schizophrenia or personality disorders) can make it possible to hold a coherent conversation. The therapist takes the side of the symptom in order to allow the client to perform a behaviour which matches that of the therapist. In therapeutic terms, this equates to use to the symptom or to the delegation of patterns of behaviour and the assumption of one side of an ambivalence by the therapist

“A woman just bawled me out because I turned my car around in her driveway.” “What did you say to her?” “I said, ‘Thank you – you’ve made me sad, and I’m very happy about that. Then I drove away.”

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