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Resistant Clients: We've All Had Them; Here's How to Help Them!

Resistant Clients: We've All Had Them; Here's How to Help Them!

by Clifton Mitchell

Encountering resistance is likely evidence that therapy is taking place. In fact, successful psychotherapy is highly related to increases in resistance, and low resistance corresponds with negative outcomes.
If you inwardly cringe when a client becomes resistant to the counseling or psychotherapy you're providing, take heart. Encountering resistance is likely evidence that therapy is taking place. In fact, several studies indicate that successful therapy is highly related to increases in resistance, and that low resistance corresponds with negative outcomes.1 There is an upper level of resistance (too much) as well as a lower level of resistance (too little) that are counterproductive. Getting to moderate levels of resistance is important to successful therapy, especially when followed by effective approaches and techniques.
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Clifton MitchellClifton Mitchell, PhD travels the country providing seminars on effective methods for treating highly resistant clients. He is also an associate professor in East Tennessee State University's Counseling Department. He can be reached at (432) 439-4197.
I will be using parts of your article to speak to a group of "parenting professionals" who face resistance when they are assisting parents with difficult children. Thank you for this insightful article.
Christine
Really excellent, thought-provoking article. Thank you for providing it.
Shoshi
I found this article so helpful thank you. It has helped me resolve a challenging situation I was currently experiencing with a client.
Janis
Fantastic article. Provided a lot of insight into why clients resist in addition to helpful techniques for working through it.
andrea
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CE credits: 1
Learning objectives:

• Deepen your understanding of the important role of resistance in therapy.
• Learn to listen for the adaptive qualities of client resistance.
• Consider ways in which therapists actively contribute to client resistance.
• Explore ways to help clients stuck in resistance. 
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