Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Resistance in Couple and Family Therapy

  • Sandra EspinozaEmail author
  • Melani Kovarkizi
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_547

Name of Concept



Resistance in family therapy has been defined as all behaviors of individuals within the system which prevent the progress of the system as a unit. Such behaviors can be manifested through each individual, the relational aspect to family dynamic, or even from therapists’ level of engagement with the family (Anderson and Stewart 1983). A couple and family therapist will encounter a level of resistance from a client at some point in their career. For beginning therapists, the concept of resistance is one that can be particularly frightening. Novice therapists have the tendency to internalize a family’s resistance and subsequently becoming hostile, frustrated, or hopeless (Anderson and Stewart 1983). Nevertheless, resistance is not always an indication that the therapeutic relationship is flawed or at risk; many times individuals and families become resistant due to their behaviors being challenged or subject to change. That resistance then can...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.California School of Professional PsychologyAlliant International UniversityLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sean Davis
    • 1
  1. 1.California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International UniversitySacramentoUSA