Reverse psychology


In the field of psychology there is a wide variety of techniques that can be used to achieve the proposed objectives that may include improving people’s lives and mental condition. Among this group of techniques we find reverse psychology , a technique used not only by professionals in the field of psychology, but is applied by many people in the world in order to try to achieve a goal or to convince a person about a certain affair.


What is reverse psychology?

Reverse psychology is a technique that is based on persuasion of people and that tries to get a person to perform a certain action by asking them to do the opposite of what they actually want them to do.



The psychology reverse is a type of technique that works according to a principle of reactance psychological which refers to motivation that an individual has, the refusal to do what the other person wants it to be done causing that instead of doing what that they are being asked to do the opposite. It is a completely unconscious process for the person who receives it, so they will never really realize what is happening. 


Characteristics of reverse psychology

Among its main features are the following:

  • It is a technique that aims to exert an influence on others.
  • It is a type of persuasion that is applied to people.
  • It can sometimes have negative or adverse effects .
  • It is known as the paradoxical inversion technique .
  • It is based on reactance and freedom .
  • Find a way to correct the different negative behaviors in people.


The main antecedent of reverse psychology is found in the consultations made by its creator, Viktor Frankl , who when he attended patients who had suicidal tendencies asked them why they had not done it yet, to which the patients replied with a series of reasons important not to.


The history of reverse psychology begins with Frankl and his psychological consultations . This psychologist directly treated patients who suffered from depression, who had instability in their lives and who also had many problems. He asked them directly why they had still ended their lives to which the patients answered indicating a series of reasons for not doing so. This is how this method began to be used in the planning of the treatment of mental illnesses. 

Who is the father of reverse psychology

The Austrian physician and writer known as Viktor Frankl is considered to be the father of reverse psychology, he was also a neurologist and psychiatrist and introduced the term and the technique by applying it to patients in his practices.

What is it for

This type of psychology serves to convince another person to carry out the activity that they really need to do, but by saying or asking the opposite. It is a technique that serves to be able to persuade others in a subtle way, without them offering resistance to change. It is a technique that can be used in the social context , mainly in family dynamics where there are children in the adolescent stage. It can also be used as therapy to break certain blocks that cause health problems such as insomnia.


The main objective will always be to persuade another person with the purpose of guiding him to do what the other person needs him to do to, ideally, improve his personal condition. Applied to the field of economics and digital marketing , reverse psychology works very well for companies to achieve their different goals. 


The main functions of reverse psychology are based mainly on persuasion , which is exercised with the aim of being able to influence the thinking of others in an indirect way. Another of their functions is that of approval by other people, especially if they have insecurities. It works very well as a method of therapy to be able to end a series of mental blocks that can produce a large number of negative symptoms in a patient. 


The main technique used in reverse psychology is persuasion . Through this technique, a person can be convinced to carry out the activity that they need to do. This technique is known by the name of reactance and when applied, the person’s reaction must be measured in order to assess and control the situation.

How to apply reverse psychology

The first thing that must be done to apply this type of psychology is to analyze well the person to whom it will be applied because what is said during the process cannot be changed later. Another important aspect to evaluate is the relationship that exists with the person to whom it will be applied and in this aspect , the person’s behavior pattern must be known.

The next step will be to say the opposite of what is being thought but in a congruent way , analyzing well the aspects that are going to be mentioned so that the person receiving the message can understand it firmly and truly. It is important to take into account that communication plays a very important role and that is why angry or reproachful tones should be avoided. Once the idea has been applied, it must always remain firm so that it can produce some kind of effect .


The main problem with reverse psychology is that its constant use can cause a person to become very dominant , especially if it is not applied by people who know the subject. This can lead to acts against the freedom of the person receiving the message. It may also be that the technique does not work properly or in the way expected, producing that the person who is trying to persuade agrees with the message and never changes their opinion or way of acting, on the contrary, increases it.

Importance of reverse psychology

The importance of this type of psychology lies in the capacity that can be acquired through the defense of a behavior that is not desired with the objective that the person to whom the psychology is directed prefers to choose the side that is actually want. It’s a great way to convince someone to do the right thing without putting too much pressure to do it. It is also considered one of the best methods to try to solve behavior problems and is used even in criminology , police investigations , marketing and behavior therapy.


Its main representative was its creator and today many psychologists use the method to try to persuade and change certain types of behavior.


Some examples of reverse psychology are mentioned below:

  • Today is Juan’s birthday and his brother has not bought him any presents and apparently has no intention of doing so, so his mother insinuates him that he probably will not do it because he does not love his brother and, as a result of this comment, the brother ends up buying a gift for Juan.
  • Luis has always been shy and has a hard time making friends, however, he has fallen in love with a girl but cannot find the courage to ask her out. One day he decides to go to the movies with his friends and bumps into this girl. His friends incite him to talk to him but when one of them opposes him, he tells him that then he probably does not like women so he gathers up his courage and starts talking to the girl to show the opposite.


There are many phrases related to reverse psychology, including:

  • Do not take any kind of note of what I will tell you because I do not want evidence to remain.
  • How rebellious you are! I really like you for that
  • Don’t worry, don’t give me anything like that I’m fine
  • It’s okay don’t eat the soup… I’m sure your brother is going to love it and he won’t be hungry

Books on Reverse Psychology

Some books that can be obtained in the market on the subject are:

  • Anti-marketing and reverse psychology marketing
  • Seduction psychology
  • Psychology and seduction: reverse psychology to fall in love
  • The power of Now.

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