Understanding Behavioral Resistance

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"Understanding Behavioral Resistance"
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Research on understanding why people are resistant to change is important in therapy. Any method of therapy is useless if the client is reluctant to change. After reading the article, I was surprised at the statistics of noncompliance with therapy. I was also amazed at the number of patients who wanted to change but still were in noncompliance. But looking at my life, I can understand how hard it is to change, even when I want to. So many times I have promised to no longer procrastinate and to develop better time management skills, but even though I know it is good for me and I want to change, I always go back to my old ways.

The different "selves" could be one source of resistance to change. While the desired self and should self are what people want for their lives, changing from the actual self to these other selves is not always easy. While I may not want to procrastinate and I both desire and know I shouldn't, I know that I do and it is a part of my actual self. I may portray my desired self or my should self to others, but when I am alone, I know procrastination is still a part of my actual self, and I am not quite sure how to change that.

When a therapist is faced with noncompliance with a client, the reasons behind why the person does not want to change should be addressed rather than why the patient should change. As shown in the studies, many times people do want to change and know they should change. Smoking was one example, where smokers knew the risks and knew they should quit, but still couldn't. If a therapist were to address why a client should quit, this would not be helpful in the therapy. Instead, if the therapist were to focus on why the client has not quit or why it has been so hard to quit, then this gives the therapist something to work on.

It is interesting that in some research it has shown that the act of compliance seemed to make a positive difference on the subjects, even when they were in the placebo group. Compliance is an important factor in therapy that needs to be researched to improve the rate of compliance. Compliance, in conjunction with effective therapy should be the goal of the therapist in order to help the client.

More about this author: Anne Chung

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