TECHNIQUES FOR THERAPIST – DEALING WITH RESISTANCE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

Perhaps, one effective instrument to deal with resistance in psychotherapy is for the therapist to ask the client for feedback at the end of each session, and attempt to modify their treatment plan in response to that feedback. For example, certain clients whose feedback was solicited expressed that their therapist did not understand their situations because of their own privilege as a therapist. The therapist was then able to recognize this and incorporate it into their treatment so that they could deal with their client from a more honest and open perspective.

Another study looking at resistance in psychotherapy focused specifically on in-session distress. Some researchers had clients’ complete post-session questionnaires which asked them to identify any in-session distress they experienced. From there, the therapists were more careful to monitor in-session distress and discussed this distress with their client when they felt it was becoming an issue. When in-session distress was identified and discussed, for example, clients completed more therapy sessions and achieved better post-therapy outcomes in which the idea is reinforced in the description of a case study of a man who sought therapy for anger issues at the command of his wife. When the therapist was encountering extreme resistance from the client, she briefly stopped the session and politely confronted him about his resistance, allowing the client to feel that he was being listened to. From there, the therapist gave the client more control by allowing him to structure the session himself, at which point he became less guarded and was eventually able to resolve some of his issues with multiple psychotherapy sessions.

Often, therapists encountered resistance when they ran the sessions by the book and somewhat rigidly. By getting direct feedback from the client, the therapists were able to modify their treatment plans to address the client’s concerns, and from there they encountered less resistance. Since psychotherapy is supposed to be an individualized process, the ability to adapt a treatment plan is crucial for any therapist when it comes to dealing or encountering resistance.

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