Working with resistant patients: how to reach through resistance to the patient hidden within

Jon Frederickson, Social Worker

Unveil unconscious feelings and memories that got your patient stuck in resistance


Download an outline

  • 5h of continuing education
  • 39 lessons that last from 5 to 15 minutes each
  • 1 certificate of achievement
  • 1 PowerPoint
  • 1 bibliography
  • 1 course evaluation
  • 4 months unlimited access
  • 7-day money back guarantee
  • 97% of participants who completed the satisfaction survey declare they would recommend this course to a colleague


How can we work with patients who detach from people and take a passive and resistant position in therapy?

This workshop aims to equip psychotherapists with advanced strategies for engaging patients who exhibit detachment, passivity, and resistance in therapy. Participants will delve into the nuanced assessment of patients, employing the concept of conflict to unravel the intricate sequence of emotions, anxieties, and defenses underpinning their symptoms and presenting issues. A significant focus will be on mastering the art of navigating patients' feelings, effectively regulating anxiety, and discerning and addressing resistances and defenses, along with understanding their impact on the patient's well-being.

Jon Frederickson will offer insights into managing the emergence of repressed feelings and evaluating patient reactions to therapeutic interventions. The use of video recordings from actual therapy sessions will serve as a pivotal learning tool, showcasing how therapists can identify and counteract behaviors that hinder treatment progress. These recordings will be instrumental in demonstrating techniques to foster a robust therapeutic alliance by guiding patients to confront and transform self-destructive patterns.

Furthermore, the workshop will provide clinical vignettes to exemplify real-time strategies for working with patient resistance. These examples will highlight methods for breaking through the patient's defensive barriers, thus enabling deeper engagement and facilitating a meaningful connection with the individual concealed behind these resistances. This approach is designed to enhance the participants' therapeutic skills, enabling them to make contact with the person hidden behind that resistance.

About the expert

Picture of Jon Frederickson

Jon Frederickson specializes in treating treatment resistant patients. He is on the faculty of the Intensive Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISTDP) Training Program at the Washington School of Psychiatry. He has provided ISTDP training in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, India, Iran, Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the Netherlands. He is the author of over fifty published papers and book chapters and of many books, including Co-Creating Change: Effective Dynamic Therapy Techniques, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy: Learning to Listen from Multiple Perspectives, The Lies We Tell Ourselves, and Co-Creating Safety: healing the fragile patient. His book Co-Creating Change won the first prize in psychiatry at the British Medical Association Book Awards, and it has been published in Farsi, Polish, and Slovak, and is currently being translated into Hebrew and Spanish. His book The Lies We Tell Ourselves has also been published in multiple languages. His most recent book is Healing Through Relating.

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Learning objectives

  1. Identify treatment resistant behaviors
  2. Differentiate a feeling from a defense and from resistance
  3. Clarify and address the price of resistance
  4. Maintain an effective therapeutic focus and overcome patient resistance

Learning material

A theoretical course illustrated with clinical examples. This course is composed of videos of 5 to 15 minutes each. The PowerPoint of the course to download.


  • PowerPoint
  • Understanding Resistance: Foundations and Framework

  • 1. Presentation
  • 2. Why resistance
  • 3. The incapacity to declare a problem
  • Navigating Denial and Permission in Therapy

  • 4. You need the patient's permission to help
  • 5. Mirroring the patient's denial
  • 6. Understand drugs use
  • 7. Empathize with the patient's needs
  • 8. Remind the contradiction
  • Exploring Anxiety Triggers and Passive Behaviors

  • 9. Explore what triggers the anxiety
  • 10. The patient can be telling you the problem unconsciously
  • 11. How to deal with a passive patient
  • 12. Deactivating denial
  • 13. Use mirroring denial as pressure
  • Handling Emotional Isolation and Therapeutic Challenges

  • 14. Isolation of affect
  • 15. Avoid interpersonal conflict
  • 16. Accept the resistance, don't fight it
  • 17. The fear of being invaded_1
  • 18. When the patient wants to stop therapy
  • Therapeutic Strategies and Emotional Processing

  • 19. Addressing the resistance
  • 20. The habit of hiding
  • 21. The problem with insights
  • 22. The declaration of a problem
  • 23. Documenting for yourself and the evolution of the therapy
  • 24. Homework for the patient
  • 25. Caring for the patient is key
  • 26. Second patient - distancing
  • 27. The helplessness of the patient
  • 28. Deactivating the resistance
  • 29. When the patient pretends to be less capable than he is
  • 30. The raise of feelings
  • 31. Running away from the feelings
  • 32. Trust the feelings
  • 33. Facing the guilt (WARNING)
  • 34. How to deal with horrific stories as a therapist
  • 35. PTSD and guilt
  • 36. Bringing the guilt out
  • 37. Conclusion of the second patient
  • 38. Questions - couple therapy and metaphor
  • 39. Conclusion
  • Bibliography

CE Credits

Download a certificate of successful completion.


This training is intended for mental health professionals.


  • 5h of continuing education
  • 39 lessons that last from 5 to 15 minutes each
  • 1 certificate of achievement
  • 1 PowerPoint
  • 1 bibliography
  • 1 course evaluation
  • 4 months unlimited access
  • 7-day money back guarantee

Legal notice

The courses offered by ASADIS are accredited by different professional organisations. In addition, ASADIS is approved by the Canadian Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. ASADIS maintains responsibility for the program.

The CPA’s approval of an individual, group, or organization as a CE Sponsor or Provider is restricted to the activities described in the approved application or annual report form. The CPA’s approval does not extend to any other CE activity the Sponsor or Provider might offer. In granting its approval, the CPA assumes no legal or financial obligations to Sponsors, Providers, or to those individuals who might participate in a Sponsor or Provider’s CE activities or programs. Further, responsibility for the content, provision, and delivery of any CE activity approved by the CPA remains that of the CE Sponsor or Provider. The CPA disclaims all legal liability associated with the content, provision, and delivery of the approved CE activity.

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