Effective Techniques for Working with People Who Are Highly Resistant in Therapy

Presented by Clifton Mitchell, PhD on 11-15-2013 at 9 a.m. Pacific to 11 a.m. Pacific (2 p.m. Eastern)

The pivotal point for effective therapy is in the successful handling of resistance in those in therapy. Managing resistance is also a vital component in alleviating stress for therapists, although few therapists have received comprehensive training in working with resistance. This web conference is designed to teach the clinician innovative approaches to resolve, avoid, and prevent resistance. These techniques that can be used in collaboration with all theoretical approaches and to treat a wide variety of people and their challenges.

This presentation will present “how-to” components of resistance management, while illustrating the theory behind each approach. In particular, participants will be provided with definitions and a detailed model for resistance that will empower therapists to manage the problem. A discussion will follow, highlighting the principles for working with resistance, as well as common therapist mistakes that may promote resistance in people in therapy. Specific techniques will be discussed, with an emphasis on applying the intrinsic power of language to prevent resistance. Common predicaments, such as "I don't know," or "Yes, but…" responses will be reviewed. At the culmination of this web conference, members will be equipped with an assortment of tools to build a new repertoire for reducing stress and coping with the challenges of working with resistant people.

This web conference is intermediate instructional level and designed to help clinicians:

  1. Differentiate between conventional and modern definitions of resistance;
  2. Describe mistakes therapists make that can promote resistance and learn to implement more effective approaches;
  3. Identify basic principles when working with resistance in therapeutic environments;
  4. List methods for dealing with common difficulties such as “Yes, but…” responses.

If you have any questions about this web conference or would like more information, please contact us here.

Event Reviews from Members

This really resonated with me and made me think about who is working harder, me or the client. I also enjoyed learning the various techniques that can be utilized for the "I don't know" response, which I often get. Thank you for offering this teleconference today! - Jody Smetak, MA, LMHC

Continuing Education (CE) Information

Two CE credits will be provided by GoodTherapy.org for attending this web conference in its entirety.

GoodTherapy.org is also an Approved Education Provider by NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals (provider #135463). Of the eight counselor skill groups ascribed to by NAADAC, this course is classified within counseling services.

GoodTherapy.org is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements.

GoodTherapy.org is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

GoodTherapy.org, SW CPE is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #0395.

To receive CE credit hours for an archived event, you will need to complete a survey as well as a 12 or 15-question exam, verifying that you listened to or watched the event in its entirety. Archived CE events generally are considered "homestudy" by licensing boards.

Registration Information

Premium and Pro Membership with GoodTherapy includes access to this web conference at no additional cost, as well as other member benefits such as a profile listing in GoodTherapy's Therapist Directory. Not yet a member? Sign up for a Premium or Pro Membership, here.

Just want CE credits? Sign up for a monthly or annual CE Subscription with GoodTherapy to get unlimited access to our CE Program, including this event, other live CE web conferences, and hundreds of hours of homestudy courses.

Mental health professionals who are not members can attend this live web conference for $30.95 or access the homestudy recording for $15.50. Sign up here to purchase this CE course and earn a CE certificate.

If the event is canceled by GoodTherapy, registrants who purchased the event will be notified and the charge for the event will be refunded

If you have any questions or would like information regarding disability accommodations, please contact us.


What I have learned over the years is the place we need to get to in the therapeutic dialogue to be of benefit to the client is usually just on the other side of the “I don’t know” response. The “I don’t know” response has been treated for years as resistance. And I, too, thought about it as resistance for many years. But what I’ve discovered is this: The “I don’t know” response is not resistance. The “I don’t know” response is an internal struggle that is occurring with that client. When you encounter “I don’t know,” stop seeing a wall like I did for years. Stop seeing a barrier. An “I don’t know” response should be viewed as a doorway. “I don’t know” is a doorway that needs to be opened. “I don’t know” is a doorway that we need to use our therapeutic skills to open to find out what’s on the other side. - Clifton Mitchell, PhD

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Meet the Presenter

Clifton Mitchell, PhD

Clifton Mitchell, PhD

Clifton Mitchell, PhD, a licensed psychologist, has enjoyed teaching for more than 20 years. As a keynote speaker and lecturer, he has the ability to teach material in a unique, fast-paced, and entertaining way that is equally informative and easy to understand. Over the last 10 years, Dr. Mitchell has shared his broad clinical experience in training and lectures to address psychological resistance in therapy and the perplexing legal and ethical issues that therapists may face. He is the author of Effective Techniques for Dealing with Highly Resistant Clients, presenting cutting-edge techniques for managing the highly resistant client. In addition, Dr. Mitchell has researched subliminal message tapes, PMS, stress and coping, and personality types.

Dr. Mitchell has been invited to speak to leadership groups, mental health organizations, businesses, and civic organizations where he provides effective techniques for creating lasting change through the use of language and communication, and he has recently developed a great game show format to teach ethics in a fun and dynamic way. He has been published in a number of professional journals and popular publications, such as Perceptual and Motor Skills, The Professional School Counselor, Journal of Personality Assessment, Journal of Psychological Type, Psychology and Education,The Advocate, Barron's Financial Weekly, and Men's Health. Dr. Mitchell is currently employed at East Tennessee State University where he works as a professor of counseling and was awarded in 2002 with the teacher of the year award. To learn more about Dr. Mitchell and his work, please visit www.cliftonmitchell.com

Continuing Education Provider Approvals

  • aceGoodTherapy.org is Approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. GoodTherapy.org maintains responsibility for this program and its content.
  • Logo GoodTherapy.org has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6380. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. GoodTherapy.org is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
  • Logo This course has been approved by GoodTherapy.org, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for educational credits. NAADAC Provider #135463. GoodTherapy.org is responsible for all aspects of their programming.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0395.
  • GoodTherapy.org, LLC is recognized by the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed marriage and family therapists #MFT-0022 and for licensed mental health counselors #MHC-0031.

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