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J Clin Psychol. 2002 Feb;58(2):157-63.

A psychodynamic perspective on resistance in psychotherapy: vive la résistance.

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  • 1Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8085, USA. smesser@rci.rutgers.edu

Abstract

The term resistance has an overly negative connotation, indicating a recalcitrant, oppositional tendency on the part of psychotherapy clients. This article emphasizes the inevitability and ubiquity of resistance and argues that it should be greeted as a therapist's friend, not as an enemy. It is the way in which clients present themselves to the world in general and to the therapist in particular. Five forms of resistance are presented, including: resistance to the recognition of feelings, fantasies, and motives; resistance to revealing feelings toward the therapist; resistance as a way of demonstrating self-sufficiency; resistance as clients' reluctance to change their behavior outside the therapy room; and resistance as a function of failure of empathy on the part of the therapist. Vignettes from the author's practice and from the cases presented in this issue are discussed in terms of these five modes of resistance and their treatment.

Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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PMID:
11793328
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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