VIDEO: The Inevitability of Challenging Clients

Janina Fisher on Seeing the Cracks in the Foundation

After working as a therapist for a number of years, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking there’s no case that’s too difficult for you to handle. You’ve helped dozens of clients navigate through a whole host of issues, so clearly you’ve discovered the formulas that work.

But, inevitably, we all eventually face a client who challenges us. Maybe the therapy isn’t moving along at the pace it should, or maybe the client isn’t opening up like they need to, but when you hit the wall of a therapy stalemate, it can make even the most seasoned of therapists feel shaken and unsure of themselves.

In this clip Janina Fisher talks about how years of experience do not guarantee easy clients and how she reacts when faced with a challenging case.


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.

Janina Fisher

Janina Fisher, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and former instructor at The Trauma Center, a research and treatment center founded by Bessel van der Kolk.  Known as an expert on the treatment of trauma, Dr. Fisher has also been treating individuals, couples and families since 1980.

She is past president of the New England Society for the Treatment of Trauma and Dissociation, an EMDR International Association Credit Provider, Assistant Educational Director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, and a former Instructor, Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Fisher lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on topics related to the integration of the neurobiological research and newer trauma treatment paradigms into traditional therapeutic modalities.

She is author of the bestselling Transforming the Living Legacy of Trauma: A Workbook for Survivors and Therapists (2021), Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation (2017), and co-author with Pat Ogden of Sensorimotor Psychotherapy: Interventions for Attachment and Trauma.(2015).