Struggles with Client Resistance

1630 Words6 Pages
Client resistance is ever present in the social work profession. As per Goldstein (1995), resistance presents itself in treatment within the client’s conscious or unconscious actions which interfere with therapeutic progress. Assessing the complex dynamic causing a client’s resistant behavior during clinical treatment is a challenging, but an essential task for goal achievement. According to Woods and Hollis (2000), understanding why a client is resistant facilitates reaching common ground with the client, enabling realistic goal setting. The causality of resistance is often discomfort associated with the client not being in a state of readiness, further emphasizing the need for mutual goal setting in order to obtain treatment progression. In working with adolescent students at a Bronx middle/high school, I have discovered that client resistance is an expected part of therapy. In Brandell (2010), “Psychoanalytic psychotherapy is painful because it stirs up affects of unpleasure. The arousal of these feelings mobilizes resistance” (p. 246). The discomfort brought on by addressing issues in therapy promotes learning. Learning about the problem itself, as well as, history of the issue, and what defenses arise to avoid exploring the matter. As stated in Brandell (2010), the manifestation of defenses offers, if examined, comprehension of reasons for defensiveness. “Schematically rendered, the therapist must demonstrate to the client that he or she is resisting, how he or she is
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