The Resisting Client, What To Do

The Resisting Client, what to do

Some clients tend to be hostile toward forensic psychology sessions, which prevents the attainment of a treatment’s objective. Meanwhile, labeling clients “resistant” may result in non-compliance and non-willingness to continue with treatment. So, therapists must use their therapeutic skills and background to identify clients exhibiting resistance correctly. The last thing you will want a therapist is to derail your patient’s progress, especially due to a misdiagnosis.

Tried and tested ways of helping resisting clients

Client resistance is not a new phenomenon in psychology. Fortunately, there are several proven ways of helping resistant clients, and below are the top four.

Explore and use things they find motivating

Pain, pleasure, or a mix of the two; are the three main things that motivate human behavior. Sometimes, the benefits associated with or attached to achieving a desired goal encourage individuals to act. Similarly, avoiding negative consequences will push people to act. Therefore, therapists should also explore whether a negative change in the status quo can push people to act in a desired way.


It will help if therapists use psychoeducation to teach their clients the benefits of improved motivation, enhanced self-esteem, and regular therapy sessions. Clients can return to their everyday work and life routines with the help of psychoeducation. Moreover, psychoeducation sessions allow clients to recover from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more.

Some clients might exhibit signs of resistance after the onset of the psychology sessions. Therapists should take a non-judgmental approach towards these clients, even if they don’t complete assigned follow-up activities. During this stage, the therapist should focus on building rapport with the client using techniques like reflection, unconditional positive communication, and empathy.

Acknowledge their client’s perspective

Yes, some clients could be more talkative. Nevertheless, for the ones that are, it will be best to acknowledge their perspective—even if it doesn’t resonate with you. Understanding and recognizing how your clients see things, their response to what they see, and understanding that they are entitled to a different perception will help you help them, especially clients dealing with negative emotions. So, avoid wondering why your client is “mad as hell” for being in your presence.

Talk about the resistance, but don’t fight it

Fighting a resisting client is one guaranteed way of staying within the issue. Therefore, do your best to discuss the resistance without ever fighting it.

Come see what Dr. Deloney at Gayle Forensic Psychology is all about here. 

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