Client Resistance and You
A client may attempt to avoid counseling attempts for all sorts of for example, a fear of intimacy or discovery, an unwillingness to face personal truths, a lack of interest in counseling, a tendency toward self-destruction and/or low self-esteem to name a few. Resistance refers to the client’s efforts to block the progress of treatment. These efforts are usually unconscious. Resistance occurs because the client experiences anxiety when unconscious conflicts begin to be uncovered. Clifton Mitchell of Psychotherapy.net, in an article titled "Resistant Clients: We All Had Them; Here's How to Help Them." Mitchell goes on to say, "Encountering resistance is likely evidence that therapy is taking place." In fact, successful psychotherapy has been highly related to increases in resistance, just as low resistance correlates to negative outcomes." The article goes on to say, client resistance leaves psychotherapists feeling insecure, incompetent, frustrated, hopeless, stressed, and burnt out. When these feelings are indirectly communicated to clients, more resistance occurs and a negative spiral develops. Less-experienced burnt-out therapists are most vulnerable to the negative effects of resistance. One of the keys to dealing with resistance is to recognize that resistance is not personal. Resistance is a fact of therapy. Here are some signs that resistance has gotten the better of you: You feel like you are fighting or arguing with your client. You may have felt as if you were trying to convince your client of something and were not making headway. You feel stressed and drained in an unhealthy manner after a session. You are working harder in your session than your client is. If, after finishing your sessions, you have more work to do than your client does, then you should take a close look at what you are doing. I find this interesting because we all as clinicians must be aware of our own mental health.
Anderson, C. M.,...
References: Anderson, C. M., & Stewart, S. (1983). Mastering resistance: A practical guide to family therapy. New York: The Guilford Press.
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Pipes, R. B., & Davenport, D. S. (1990). Introduction to psychotherapy: Common Clinical wisdom. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
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