With all the recent developments in research, theory, and practice, we have more treatment options to choose from than ever before. Why then do so many practitioners still find client “resistance” a regular companion in their consulting rooms?
In 1984, after it was rejected by several mainstream journals, the late Steve de Shazer, a pioneering brief therapist and an acerbic critic of therapeutic orthodoxy, published a now-legendary article titled "The Death of Resistance," declaring that psychotherapy had entered a new era. Rather than an objective phenomenon, de Shazer proclaimed that "resistance"—clients' seemingly illogical attempt to thwart the well-intentioned efforts of their therapists—in fact, existed only in the eye of the therapist-beholder. According to him, psychotherapy was moving into a more enlightened age of more effective treatment in which the concept of resistance would become obsolete.
So why then, if de Shazer was right, are you still struggling with so many of your cases three decades later?
If you’re like most clinicians today, you have a toolbox crammed with even more therapeutic theories and techniques than de Shazer could have imagined. You can guide your clients in reframing their life story, enhance their experience of being intensely in the moment, reprocess their past traumas, time travel with them to redesign their future, locate and tend to their abused inner child, tap their body at strategic points—all of which,…