A multi-theoretical, evidence-based approach for understanding and managing adolescent resistance to psychotherapy

John Sommers-Flanagan, Brent G. Richardson, Rita Sommers-Flanagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adolescents are often labeled as "resistant" to psychotherapy. Rather than blaming adolescent clients or psychotherapists, this article conceptualizes adolescent resistance as normal behavior emanating from a challenging situation. Based on a developmentally sensitive foundation and drawing from person-centered, motivational, solution-focused, choice theory, cognitive-behavioral, and multicultural perspectives, several practical and evidence-based strategies for managing, reducing, or eliminating resistance are provided. Case vignettes are used to illustrate specific strategies. Successful psychotherapy with adolescents requires flexibility and openness, integration of diverse theoretical perspectives with contemporary empirical knowledge, and an attitude of respect for adolescent autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-80
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Contemporary Psychotherapy
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Integration
  • Psychotherapy
  • Resistance

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