VIDEO: David Burns on Overcoming Resistance

Exploring Why Clients Might Not Want to Change

If you could press a magic button and relieve yourself of your biggest problem, would you choose to do so? More often than not, says psychiatrist David Burns, author of Feeling Good, there are many reasons why we might choose to hold onto our problems.

“On the one hand, our clients want to change,” Burns says. But rarely, he adds, do therapists examine how and why clients might stay attached to their depression, anxiety, or grudges. “We need to look at all of this before we jump in with all our wonderful therapy tools,” he says.

In the video, Burns explains why we need to reevaluate our current approaches to treating resistance, and shares the “magic button” exercise you can try with your clients today. Start talking about resistance sooner, Burns says, and you can put your clients on the road to healing faster.

David Burns

David D. Burns, MD, is an emeritus adjunct clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His best-selling books, Feeling Good and the Feeling Good Handbook, have sold over five million copies worldwide. Although he was a pioneer in the development of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), he also created a more powerful approach called TEAM-CBT.

More than 50,000 therapists have attended his training programs over the past 35 years. His website,, offers many free resources for therapists and clients alike, including his tremendously popular Feeling Good Podcasts which draw more than 50,000 downloads per month.




Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.