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Persuasion therapy is a form of directive psychotherapy in which the client is encouraged to follow the advice of the therapist through the process of persuasion. It may be regarded as an extension of the common sense cultural practice of reasoning with people, offering advice as to how they might, overcome their difficulties and to that degree may be regarded as a form of cognitive therapy.

Paul Dubois first introduced persuasion therapy as a rational approach for treatment of neurotic disorders. He was influenced by the writings of German psychiatrist Johann Christian August Heinroth (1773-1843), and was disdainful of hypnotic therapy. Dubois created a psychotherapeutic methodology that was a form of Socratic dialogue that used a doctor-patient relationship to persuade the patient to change his/her behavior. He believed it was necessary to appeal to a patient's intellect and reason in order to eliminate negative and self-destructive habits. He also believed it was necessary for the physician to convince the patient of the irrationality of his/her neurotic feelings and thought processes.

See also



  • Hamilton, M. A. (2007). Motivation, social context, and cognitive processing as evolving concepts in persuasion theory. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Harrell, T. H., Beiman, I., & LaPointe, K. (1986). Didactic persuasion techniques in cognitive restructuring. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.
  • Nowak, P. (1987). Intervention in psychotherapy: A qualitative analysis of persuasive therapy. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.


  • Beutler, L. E. (1979). Values, beliefs, religion and the persuasive influence of psychotherapy: Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice Vol 16(4) Win 1979, 432-440.
  • Beutler, L. E. (1992). Still Persuasive: PsycCRITIQUES Vol 37 (3), Mar, 1992.
  • Beutler, L. E., Jobe, A. M., & Elkins, D. (1974). Outcomes in group psychotherapy: Using persuasion theory to increase treatment efficiency: Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Vol 42(4) Aug 1974, 547-553.
  • Brinol, P., & Petty, R. E. (2006). Fundamental Processes Leading to Attitude Change: Implications for Cancer Prevention Communications: Journal of Communication Vol 56(Suppl 1) Aug 2006, S81-S104.
  • Gauchet, M., & Swain, G. (1986). From moral treatment to psychotherapy: Remarks on the development of contemporary psychotherapy around 1900: Confrontations Psychiatriques No 26 1986, 19-40.
  • Krishnamurthy, T. (1987). Relationship among persuasibility, modernity and value orientation: Journal of Psychological Researches Vol 31(2) May 1987, 116-120.
  • Moller, H. J. (1978). Psychagogic treatment: Psychotherapie und Medizinische Psychologie Vol 28(5) Sep 1978, 165-170.
  • Oskamp, S. (1983). Two Paperbacks on Persuasion--Not Peas in a Pod: PsycCRITIQUES Vol 28 (5), May, 1983.
  • Packwood, V. M., & Hansen, L. S. (1973). Validation of counselor social reinforcement and persuasion scales: Journal of Counseling Psychology Vol 20(5) Sep 1973, 491-492.
  • Rangaswami, K. (1985). Hysterical blindness in childhood: A case report: Child Psychiatry Quarterly Vol 18(1) Jan-Mar 1985, 6-8.
  • Rosekrans, F. (1990). Psychotherapy from the point of view of nonspecific results and persuasions: Primijenjena Psihologija Vol 11(1) Mar 1990, 37-46.
  • Takahashi, T. (1990). On the two cases of persuasion therapy for panic disorder reported in old medical books in Japan: Journal of Mental Health No 36 1990, 3-10.


  • Garner, J. K. (2004). The persuasion model of conceptual change and its application to misconceptions in evolution. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Goldsworthy, R. J. (1980). Investigation of self-efficacy theory using an interpersonal skills training paradigm: Dissertation Abstracts International.