As therapists, we need to improve our models, techniques, and methods and rethink our compulsive need—in the interests of being kind and helpful—to doing something, anything, to make things all better as soon as possible, before we fully comprehend what our patients want. We need to become a little more savvy about the contradictions and paradoxes of human nature.
Once again, none of these new techniques negates the tremendous accomplishments of those who developed CBT and other new forms of psychotherapy. However, if we learn to deal skillfully with the patient’s resistance before trying any techniques drawn from any school of therapy, our efforts to help will become far more effective. We may finally find ways to connect with the remaining 50 percent or more of patients who aren’t making satisfactory or meaningful progress, even when treated with the best medications and, presumably, the best psychotherapy treatments.
David Burns, M.D., is adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His books Feeling Good and Feeling Good Handbook have sold more than five million copies worldwide.
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