The Paradoxical Theory of Change

We can only change when we feel accepted as we are now.

The Paradoxical Theory of Change, by Dr. Arnold Beisser, M.D.  (date of quote is 1970)

“Briefly stated, it is this: that change occurs when one becomes what he is, not when he tries to become what he is not. Change does not take place through a coercive attempt by the individual or by another person to change him, but it does take place if one takes the time and effort to be what he is — to be fully invested in his current positions. By rejecting the role of change agent, we make meaningful and orderly change possible”

Although brief, the “Paradoxical Theory of Change” is, outside of the works of Frederick Perls, the most frequently referenced article in the body of Gestalt therapy literature. Written in 1970, it originally appeared in Fagan and Shepherd’s Gestalt Therapy Now, a Harper Colophon Book. (source:  to view the original, full-length article.)

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