From One Therapist to Another
Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Resistant, Oppositional, Borderline?
Do you ever feel confused and stuck with your clients? Are you sometimes surprised that they pay good money for your help but don’t make the changes that you know would help them?
When this happens do you find yourself labeling these clients as resistant, oppositional, or borderline? Or instead, do you end up feeling confused, frustrated or inadequate as a therapist? In this blog, I offer an alternative interpretation along with very specific strategies to help new and more experienced therapists improve outcomes, increase job satisfaction and feel more effective with the most challenging clients.
I conceptualize resistance as the natural ambivalence that is always experienced, to some degree, about change. I’ve written a book called A Clinician’s Guide to Pathological Ambivalence: How to Be on Your Client’s Side Without Taking a Side that teaches clinicians how to handle ambivalence when it becomes so severe that it interferes with the person’s ability to function adequately in life. In this blog, we will explore this phenomenon. Could you share an example of resistance which could have been conceptualized as ambivalence? Of course if writing about clients, be sure to change identifying characteristics.