One of the most powerful tools to move through resistance might not be exactly what you think. Most of the time as therapists we want a concrete tool, technique, or activity that is going to get us to the next step and break through resistance.
You want to come into your next session with the exact gameplan of how it’s going to go.
AND 99.9% of the time it doesn’t exactly work out how you planned. The technique or activity might get rejected in favor of silence OR a client might even struggle to get back into the Playroom for you to even start to suggest a therapy activity.
So now what? I wanted to get back to basics to talk about the one tool that you can always rely on to help you move through resistance.
Parents often come to therapy with an agenda.
Of course they do!
Their child is struggling in some way and they just want things to get back to normal, where their child is happy, regulated and thriving.
And this change? Well… it needed to happen, like yesterday!
By the time kids and families present in your therapy office it is likely the pain, struggle, and dysregulation has been going on for a loooong time.
Most graduate school programs focus on what we need to do in the therapy room. The skills, treatment planning, and theories to help move clients from a place of dysregulation, stress, and difficulty to regulation, joy, and healing.
But what about when clients throw up a giant stop sign to the therapy process?
If you work with kids and teens resistance is bound to show up in the playroom!
Resistance comes in all forms - from refusal to leave the house, difficulty moving from the waiting room to the office, or the silent treatment once the session starts.
What if I told you that resistance has a story to tell?
Kids who are engaged in therapy make more progress.
Pretty intuitive right? And also backed by research.
So what is a play therapist to do when a child comes into the playroom and isn’t engaged? Some may call it resistant, but either way you spin it the child isn’t coming in AND if they actually do come in…they aren’t doing anything. At all.
I'm Ann Meehan, an LPCC,