Understanding Clients’ Hidden Challenges

Janina Fisher on When Deeply Buried Issues Stall Therapy

Rich Simon


It happens to the most perceptive of us—we begin work with a client believing that we have a good grasp of the problem they’ll be tackling in therapy, only to end up mired in a bog of unexpected issues that bring progress to a halt.

Janina Fisher, assistant director of the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, argues that failing to uncover deeply hidden issues at the start of therapy has nothing to do with the therapist’s experience or skill level. She delineates ways of wading through the muck of clients’ hidden attachment issues in our Networker Webcast series Tough Customers: Treating Clients with Challenging Issues.

In this clip from the series, Janina describes clients with underlying attachment issues as having “cracks in the foundation” of their seemingly well-constructed lives, and clearly articulates what’s actually happening in these confusing and slow-moving cases.

Janina Fisher is an instructor at the Trauma Center in Boston and a former instructor at Harvard Medical School. She lectures and writes about integrating neuroscience research and body-centered approaches into traditional psychotherapy. Janina joins John NorcrossWendy BeharyDick SchwartzWilliam Doherty, and Clifton Mitchell for the re-release of our popular streaming-video webcast series:

Tough Customers: Effective Approaches to Challenging Clients
Watch All 6 Sessions Now Or Whenever It’s Convenient For A Full Year
Get course details here


It’s a 6-session practical, nuts-and-bolts exploration of what really works with the kinds of cases and clinical situations that regularly take us to the edge of what we know, and who we are as people and would-be healers. Here’s a preview of what each session covers:

  • Clifton Mitchell on Treating the Highly Resistant Client
    Get concrete practical guidance on a range of clinical methods to help you overcome stagnation and create therapeutic movement with these hard-to-treat cases.

  • Wendy Behary on Treating the Narcissistic Client
    Learn how to form genuine relationships with self-absorbed, un-empathic clients with therapeutic leverage and empathic confrontation.

  • Richard Schwartz on Treating the Borderline Client
    Discover new ways to avoid unnecessary therapeutic struggles through openhearted acceptance and gain a deeper understanding of the role of exiled “parts” in the client’s reactivity.

  • Janina Fisher on Treating Clients with Severe Attachment Disorders
    Learn to recognize internal attachment disorder and master effective ways–including somatic approaches–to helping clients overcome feelings of shame and worthlessness.

  • William Doherty on Treating the Stuck and Self-Destructive Client

    Learn effective new ways to move therapy forward when it stalls without subtly blaming the client, giving speeches, or becoming defensive.

  • John Norcross on Customizing Therapy with the Resistant Client
    Explore how to match treatment approaches with client characteristics to avoid treatment stalemates by assessing for six key client characteristics.


Don’t Miss Out On This Invaluable Material
Watch All 6 Sessions Now Or Whenever It’s Convenient For A Full Year

Click here for full course details

Topic: Professional Development | Trauma

Tags: attachment disorder | attachment disorders | attachment issues | challenging clients | Clifton Mitchell | Janina Fisher | John Norcross | neuroscience | neuroscience research | psychotherapy | relationships | sensorimotor psychotherapy | severe attachment disorder | therapy | tough customers | William Doherty

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