Resistance in Counseling and Psychotherapy

Jeffrey T. Guterman describes the progressive reconceptualization of the concept of resistance in counseling and psychotherapy.

NOTE: This is an excerpt from a two-part, 60-minute DVD. Psychiatrist Irvin Yalom suggests that symptoms initially presented in therapy often serve to mask deeper, existential fears. Irvin Yalom, MD, is professor of psychiatry at stanford University and author of numerous books on psychotherapy including Existential Psychotherapy, Love’s Executioner and Lying on the Couch.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

27 Comments so far »

  1. mywindyhorse said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

    My parents make me go to therapy and I don’t want to be there so I sit there for an hour and I don’t say a word

  2. jaylaine74 said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    great channel and vids

  3. bucklaw said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

    Redefine resistance as something positive, something intriguing. Sometimes resistance can be fun.

  4. Guitarstring187 said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

    @jguterman I agree. I think resistance needs to be completed as to be able to put the energy associated with the resistance is a resolution phase which then makes other more logical choices more evident and balance’s the energy. 

  5. fntime said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 10:00 pm

    Counseling & pyschotherapy, the emperor
    has no clothes.

    Without joining the body with the mind,
    this is all non sense. Talk, talk, talk,
    talk, talk, talk, once a week, twice a week,
    three times, talk talk talk, talk, talk, talk,
    nothing accomplished but supporting
    the therapist in a style of living that they
    don’t deserve, based on ability &

    It would be better to bring back fortune
    tellers, they are smarter and actually
    has a better record than therapists.

  6. aghoranathi said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

    I went to a therapist. I helped myself and as for her she said that our interaction was indicative of some real life situation and it was that that I later decided was BS. Well, because I never meet anyone that acted like her, the pretense of interest, she is well respected but I hope in the future I meet an honest person who can be , um, less professional? Is the horse fooled by reverse psych or did i miss something?

  7. aghoranathi said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    You have the longest comment replies on youtube :)

  8. comboman said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    I believe ‘resistance’ is rooted in old survival issues that are based on the fear of loss. That ‘loss’ can be related to outright abandonment issues or the loss of a parent’s love or approval. I believe that the amount of resistance is in direct proportion to the individual’s rage connected to feelings of parental rejection.

  9. wabri20 said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 11:47 pm

    i think the reason for the resistance is the ego. which i believe we have allowed to go on auto pilot. it is quite a shock to it to allow another person to tell (even if well advised) them what they are doing wrong. so naturally the ego will resist when it is threatened. in times of crisis we resort to our earlyest state of memory. either isolation or absolute dependency… ya, that sounds about right to me…

  10. nadsab1 said,

    Wrote on January 28, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

    This causes the therapist to believe that rejection on the part of the client towards the therapy is not due to the clients belief that she or he is wasting money on a snake oil psychotherapy huckster, but rather that the therapist has something helpful to offer, other than a pile of psychobabble laced with self aggrandizing pomposity.

  11. nadsab1 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 12:30 am

    The concept of resistance in psychotherapyy is the narcissistic skewed perception of the psychotherapist which is caused by the denial of the therapists own impotence as a self aggrandizing healer who likes to listen to himself talk.

  12. PaulAustraliaTeam said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 12:46 am

    Thanks for this I have listen to this a few times now and added it to my Video log.

  13. newyorktherapy said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 1:27 am

    Resistence to change is natural. But I believe its driven by the fact that the client therapist relationship is not a good fit. And way back when, there were only so many counselors practicing. Now you have choices! And the opportunity to find a good counselor that fits your personality and understands how to correctly minimize your natural resistence.

  14. JINSARA7 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 2:02 am

    If met with resistance, then clearly that individual is not ready for change, a person cannot be made to change, your mind is your most powerful tool, a person can want to change. choice!! it’s a basic human right isn’t it?.

  15. JINSARA7 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 2:25 am

    Is it not more beneficial to have the individual’s trust and have them taking steps by choice rather than ‘horse method?

  16. jguterman said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 2:35 am

    PART II:

    Erikson’s story is both a literal and allegorical example to show how sometimes how best efforts can take us further and further away from the desired outcome. Sometimes when we go with resistance, the inclination to not change, we are then able to somehow move forward.

  17. jguterman said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 3:11 am

    PART I:

    Good question. Milton Erikson told the story of the horse in his writings, and I did not get the horse’s reaction after it was led into the barn. As for individuals, the point of Erikson’s horse tale is that change is often easier when we go with the resistance.

  18. JINSARA7 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 3:31 am

    What happened when the horse realized that it had been tricked and how would an individual respond to this method.

  19. cchurley20 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 3:53 am

    first I acknowledge the resistance. The client and I agree he/she doesn’t want to be in session. I’ll say that they can sit there, and not say anything if they choose for the entire session, and I’ll do the talking for them. essentially putting “words in their mouth.” Clients will often open up and say, “that’s not what I”d say,” or “I wouldn’t say it like that.” Now we’re talking!

  20. jguterman said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 4:35 am

    A “resistant” adolescent grudgingly attends family counseling. They might refuse to talk in the sessions or be disruptive. Rather than cocreating resistance, I might suggest to the adolescent that it might be better if they not attend further sessions. I have gone so far as to insist that such clients not come back. These “resistant” clients sometimes return to the counseling verbose and contributing meaningfully.

  21. pennilesscripple said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 4:37 am

    thanks for posting, that was very interesting
    would love to hear an example of the horse technique applied to human beings
    i’ve always puzzled over our seemingly inherent contrary nature, and you’re right, it is a function of relationship–we even get contrary in relationship with parts of ourselves

  22. rybuchna1 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 5:36 am

    broad minded psychoterapist! almost revolutionary!

  23. rybuchna1 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 6:23 am

    wise man!

  24. luckymirixox said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 7:07 am

    @TheJussyhussy AGREED!.. Especially fat lady chap was

  25. SimsenDK1 said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 7:55 am


  26. ceacatop said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    ¿do you know if there are some dvd with subtitules in spanish?

  27. TheJussyhussy said,

    Wrote on January 29, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    I love you yalom, loves executioner is an amazing read xx

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