The Hidden Treasure

Where Ancient Wisdom Meets Contemporary Psychology

Ordeal Therapy – An Introduction to a Less Familiar Behavioral Intervention

Written By: Vic Rebman Ph.D - Jul• 08•13

By Lauren Rebman LMFTA

In the world of systemic family therapy there is a theoretical model by Jay Haley and Cloe Madanes called Strategic Therapy.  This theory has intrigued me since I was introduced to it during my graduate studies.  In particular, I am a fan of a technique of strategic theory entitled “Ordeal Therapy.”  This technique can be used with all ages.  If done right, it can be very successful.

In short, an ordeal is an intervention that seeks to extinguish a maladaptive behavior by introducing an activity that is more of an “ordeal” to engage in than the problem behavior itself.  Thus, by enforcing an ordeal you decrease the frequency and severity of the undesired behavior.

All parents are aware of the plethora of parenting and behavioral tips out there.  Self-help books aimed to increase healthy family functioning are flying off the shelves!  Many of these strategies encourage a point and reward system.  Many parents have found these techniques to be effective, which explains why they are so popular.  However, I find myself working with parents who’ve “tried everything.”  With exasperation, they delve into a description of their efforts.  They are tired, hopeless, and some even feel as if they’re failing their children.

As a clinician of systemic family therapy, I have found myself following the map of strategic theory with these families.  In fact, it is one of my absolute favorite techniques to implement into a family treatment plan.  I have NEVER used it without improvement!  I’ve even used it via telephone consultation and had success!  Ask me about it!  I’d love to share my thoughts and experiences with this technique.

Lauren Rebman, LMFTA

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Comment

  1. I am genuinely happy to glance at this web site posts which includes lots of helpful facts, thanks for providing
    these kinds of data.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *