When both client and therapist are unclear about the source of resistance, it can bring treatment to a halt. Renowned therapist Steve Andreas believes that checking in with clients about their objections to change from the start of therapy avoids many problems down the road. Even with clients struggling to cope with severe panic, he begins by asking, “Do you have any objections to not having that panicked response?”
Here, Andreas explains his method.
Steve Andreas, MA, has been learning, teaching, and developing briefest therapy methods for over 55 years. He’s the author of Virginia Satir: The Patterns of Her Magic; Transforming Negative Self-Talk; and Transforming Your Self: Becoming Who You Want to Be.
As Andreas notes, while sometimes people’s symptoms have no relevance in their current life, very often, they have some kind of positive intention or positive function—what’s referred to as "secondary gain."
Take narcissism, for example. As Andreas explains in his recent Networker article, "Adjusting the Unconscious," narcissism "feels good and is often richly rewarded in business and politics." Keeping this in mind, he says, "can be useful in maintaining a sense of balance and perspective."
Did you enjoy this video? You might also like Andreas' article "Adjusting the Unconscious," in where he explains how therapists can bring about lasting change by working with unconscious processes. Or, check out "When Helping Doesn't Help," by David Burns, with an exercise that helps clients understand the root of resistance and move past it to engage more fully in treatment.