VIDEO: Desiring Change, but Clinging to the Familiar

David Burns on Turning Resistance into the Voice of Change

One of the most fascinating things about the human mind is how it’s influenced by both motivation and cognition. We often desire change, especially when we find ourselves in difficult or unpleasant situations, but the compulsion to stay with what is familiar and comfortable creates resistance to that change.

Facing this resistance with clients who suffer from depression is a major challenge for many therapists. The client knows they need to change in order to improve, and they may even say they want to change, but getting them to take the actionable steps necessary to make that change may require an extra push from the therapist.

Watch this clip to hear David Burns talk about a technique that he employs with resistant clients to turn them into the voice of change.



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.

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.