Reaching through Resistance

A New Metapsychology of the Unconscious

Helps Patients Succeed in Psychotherapy


About half of all psychotherapy clients have little to no response—or can even worsen—in treatment. Why? They unknowingly use treatment-defeating behaviors, or resistances, placing all manner of obstacles to prevent emotional closeness and a successful collaboration with the therapist. It is as if they cannot allow treatment to succeed. This can be frustrating and demoralizing for both the therapist and the client.

How can you and your client detect and handle treatment resistance? How can you reach through to the person beneath this resistance—the person your client was meant to be?

For treatment to succeed, you need to recognize and challenge treatment resistance from the first session. Reaching through Resistance will help you

  • detect treatment resistance from the first client contact
  • understand the emotional factors that drive treatment resistance
  • discern different degrees and forms of resistance
  • recognize signs of unconscious anxiety in the body
  • activate and monitor unprocessed, unconscious impulses and feelings
  • turn a client against his or her own long-held defeating behaviors
  • regulate intense anxiety when emotions are activated
  • mobilize the client’s unconscious wish to become well
  • recognize signs of a powerful healing force: the unconscious therapeutic alliance

By rapid detection of avoidance patterns and use of specific interventions developed to handle them, you can empower a collaborative, vigorous treatment alliance and begin to mobilize the healing forces within your client.