"Confrontation bridges the gap between insight and action" (Egan as cited by Ringewald 1982)


The technique of Confrontation is renowned in Adlerian , Gestalt, existential and R.E.B.T. therapies but all therapies sometimes use Confrontation. Confrontation involves making a client face his weaknesses. It is sometimes recommended for use with procrastinators because they often resist or put up defenses to therapy because they wish to maintain control (Salizman 1979). Severe rituals or phobias can give the illusion of control. The doubting and avoidance of commitment in procrastination are essential elements in obsessional defenses. Although, Confrontational techniques, because they are intrusive, are sometimes controversial, therapists who use Confrontation, justify it by claiming that it can effect changes in behavior. Often obsessional patients such as procrastinators with high anxiety, need a here and now approach to change rather than focusing on their feelings. Therapists are recommended to avoid a ritualized plan as it may aggravate the process (Salizman 1979). Patients when confronted under high arousal may accept counselor interpretations more. Hoehn-Saric found that attitude change of procrastinators was facilitated by arousal during interpretations in therapy (Hoehn-Saric 1972). Olson & Claiborn (1990) when studying procrastination felt also that high arousal during therapy for procrastination was more influential(Olson & Claiborn 1990). It was assumed ostensibly that they then changed their behavior to a greater extent under arousal (based on the Dissonance theory Festinger 1957). Although earlier, Claiborne, Ward & Strong (1981)had found that when therapist and clients interpretations were similar, there were more changes in behavior. Perhaps all that can be concluded safely, is that interpretation of the clients motivations by a therapist does seem to encourage a change in procrastination with or without confrontation.

References and Citations

Claiborn, C. D., Ward, S. R., & Strong, S. R. (1981). Effects of congruence between counselor interpretations and client beliefs. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 28, 101-109.

Hoehn- Saric R., Frank, J.D. & Gurland, B.J.(1968).Focused attitude change in neurotic patients. Journal of nervous and mental diseases, 147, 124-133.

Olson, D. H., & Claiborn, C. D. (1990). Interpretation and arousal in the counseling process. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 37, 131-137.

Ringewald, A. W. (1982). An investigation of the effects of confrontation on procrastination. Dissertation Abstracts International, 44, 3290.

Salizman, L. (1979). Psychotherapy of the obsessional. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 33, 32-40.

For more information :

To a taxonomy of interventions, To main procrastination research group home page, To interventions page