THE DOUBLE-BIND


A concept often used in psychotherapy to let patients feel in control while helping them give up control. 

In order for therapy to be helpful a patient must be open to receiving help. But many patients come with reservations and they actively resist therapeutic techniques. The double-bind helps overcome that problem by assuming control while giving the patient the illusion of choice.

Imagine you're a therapist and a patient with a resistant mindset steps in. You greet him. Then you say, "Would you rather talk while standing or would you prefer to talk while sitting down?" 

The patient now chooses to stand or sit, but because you directed him, he only has the illusion of choice. Of course he could choose to lie down, (which you didn't offer). If he chooses that option you might notice him walking toward the couch and add, "And it's perfectly fine if you want to talk while lying down." 

In any case the double-bind is simply the illusion of choice.

And how do you apply it in copywriting?

COPYWRITING EXAMPLE

LED GAMING MOUSE FLASHLIGHT

You're 3 minutes into a battle royale when a sharp pain tears through your stomach. It slices from top to bottom like the last hostile you carved up. You're hungry but the room is dark. You can't see your food. Look away for a second and you'll be annihilated. You can say goodbye to that $1,000 prize.

You can chance it and probably lose. You can let yourself starve. Or you can click the button on the side of your mouse and let the LED's shine. You'll know exactly where your food is. And you won't have to take your eyes off of the screen. 

In the end it's your choice, and we even added 3 unique styles so you can choose a mouse that's right for you.

The main double-bind happens in the first 3 sentences of the 2nd paragraph. The customer is directed toward 3 potential outcomes. There may be other choices. By directing them we focus their attention on the 3 we choose, and (assuming your audience is properly targeted) they will realize you are probably right. There's another double-bind in the call to action by the way.

Now how about an example of how NOT to use a double-bind in copywriting.

HOW NOT TO USE A DOUBLE-BIND IN COPYWRITING

You're 3 minutes into a battle royale when a sharp pain tears through your stomach. It slices from top to bottom like the last hostile you carved up. You're hungry but the room is dark. You can't see your food. Look away for a second and you'll be annihilated. You can say goodbye to that $1,000 prize.

Don't be stupid. You really don't have a choice. The smart thing to do is buy a uniquely styled LED gaming mouse. We even added 3 choices to pick from. Which one will you choose?

Notice the difference?

In this example there's too much pressure. The double-bind is too obvious. It's too direct. It doesn't feel like it really has the viewer's best interests in mind.

Anytime you apply a tactic like the double-bind, it has to feel natural, and it has to be applied with good intentions. When copywriters apply tactics without good intentions, people see right through it.

I hope you enjoyed this little double-bind article..

You can apply the tactic in your own writing, or you don't have to use it at all. 

The choice is up to you.

>)

Devious,
Lex DeVille

‚Äč

Leave a Comment: