Working with reluctant and resistant clients

Authored by: Julia Shiang , Lisa Mitzel

Routledge Handbook of Applied Sport Psychology

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  October  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415484633
eBook ISBN: 9780203851043
Adobe ISBN: 9781136966675


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Why would an athlete be resistant to treatment? Some quick answers might be: pressure from a coach, fear of being perceived as mentally weak, worry that one’s shameful secrets will be revealed, or doubts about psychology really helping. To begin to address these reasons and others, we will first consider what characterizes resistance. Resistance is a psychological state that comprises the forces in the client that oppose getting help from others, or prevents a client from confronting deep personal issues during treatment (Beutler, Moleiro, & Talebi, 2002). One must consider the many forces within an athlete – what are they, and how do they contribute to resistance to (and in) therapy?

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