Thursday, November 25, 2010

Resistance, reactance and psychotherapy

Despite expressing a sincere wish to recover some patients behave in almost exactly the opposite way from that suggested by their psychotherapist - something sometimes called patient resistance. However, a team of researchers from Palo Alto University in California thought that patient resistance was a term which was too pejorative to patients and decided to call it patient reactance instead in an acknowledgement that the therapist's approach could also play a part in this happening. The researchers looked at 12 studies into this issue covering a total of 1,102 participants. They found that those patients who were more inclined to follow their therapist's advice benefited more from a more directive approach (i.e. being told what to do) whereas patients who had high levels of resistance/reactance benefited more from a nondirective approach.

Beutler, Larry E. ... [et al] - Resistance/Reactance Level Journal of Clinical Psychology: in session Vol. 67(2), 1-10 (2011)

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