Published by Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D.


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The Therapy Resistant Client:

"Why Do Some People Have Difficulty with Counseling and Psychotherapy?"


Question: Why do some people have difficulty with counseling and psychotherapy?
Answer: Psychotherapy and counseling can sometimes be stressful for some people.  If you have a low tolerance for stress, there is no predicting how you will react to the suggestions and interventions of a therapist.  It is important that the therapist be extremely honest and not walk on eggshells with a client.  If the therapist protects a client from him/herself, he may actually be supporting disorder.

The beginning of counseling and psychotherapy is usually experimental and filled with trial and error methods that are intended to uncover and discover the right techniques and methods for change.  Nothing is perfect and what may be right for one person, may not be right for someone else.  It is important for the client and the counselor to be aware of the problems inherent in the very early stages of treatment.  Mistakes and success experiences are inherent in all human interactions. Usually, the therapy resistant client has a very low tolerance for early therapy trial and error methods.  This type of client is very intolerant of mistakes and can actually lash out at the therapist.

In all probability, the therapy resistant client has made many mistakes in his/her's own life and has failed to adopt successful strategies for dealing with life's challenges.  In such a situation, the resistant client has great difficulty facing the self and tends to project blame outward.

If an intervention presses a stress button, the client can literally go into disorder.  Stress tolerance levels are measures for how well a person can cope with the challenges of life.  Low stress tolerance levels and ineffective coping strategies create disorder.  That is why the medical profession has created psychopharmacological drugs.  These drugs are intended to help people cope with stress and perhaps prevent the breakdown into disorder.  However, they are not always 100% effective.  It is vitally important that the individual learns stress reduction and coping skills in order to meet the minimal standards of success in life and psychotherapy.

Failure to cope successfully with one's own stress levels can lead to a lot of misery and despair.  In such situations, people may act very inappropriately, destructively and even abusively.

By the way, the therapist will eventually tap into the client's stress tolerance mechanisms and if extremely low stress tolerance levels are exceeded, the client will defensively attack the therapist.  This is called the Negative Transference.

Question: So, what is the answer?

Answer: Certain people, because of extremely low stress tolerance levels, should not be accepted for any kind of counseling that could evoke extreme and destructive defenses.  Psychotherapy requires a fairly stable reality testing/processing ego.  Extensive screening with the proper techniques and tools can indicate which people might be good candidates for psychotherapy.  A disintegrating, shattered and unsteady ego suggests problems for the client and the therapist.  It would probably be a good strategy to institute a period of trial counseling and assessment to determine the suitability of treatment.



If you want more information on Feeling Therapy, then check out "Feeling People" at PsychotherapyHELP. "Feeling People" is an exciting and powerful excursion into the way deep core feeling can profoundly change and transform your life. The message in the book is clear: it is absolutely possible, through the feeling process, to reverse the effects of original pain and lead a fully integrated, successful and happy life with yourself and others. It is the cornerstone of my Feeling Therapy Program and I highly recommend its reading. For more information on my Feeling Therapy Program, click here ... Please note that Feeling Therapy can be done over the telephone within the context of Telephone Therapy.


For more information on relationships check out my book "Sizzling Relationships: the 401(k) of Love" at PsychotherapyHELP. "Sizzling Relationships" takes the guesswork out of building and maintaining a sizzling relationship by providing very powerful and specific guidelines. When was the last time you researched how to relate to your significant other, boss, child, or friend in a more productive, constructive way? To read an excerpt from "Sizzling Relationships", click here ...


For information on how to deal with personality disorders, check out my book "Coping With The Disorder".It is a step-by-step guide on how to deal with and address personality disordered behavior, whether in yourself or others. No matter what disorder you are dealing with, this new manual will give you the techniques on how to heal yourself and deal with others. To read an excerpt from "Coping with the Disorder", click here ...


Mood and personality disorders can be the "Love Killers" of any relationship. Knowledge about the disorder and in-depth therapy can make a difference.  To know more about the different mood and personality disorders and how to deal with them, click here ...


Seeking therapy but cannot find a therapist of your choice locally? Call me to discuss Telephone Therapy. My Telephone Therapy program has been a successful counterpart of my private practice for years, as it reaches out to help those in need and provides my expertise to all regardless of location. Don't let the lack of a professional in your area hold you back from becoming all that you can be. For more information on Telephone Therapy, click here ... One phone call is all it takes!


Please contact me if you need help. That's why my web site is called PsychotherapyHELP. From Telephone Therapy to office consultations, there is a therapy program designed to meetyour needs. Email or call 818-882-7404 for more information.


Warmest regards,

Dr. Paul