This paper seeks to discuss the resistance in the client-centered approach that involves a dependency relationship. This paper considers the client resistance from a client-centered view of psychotherapy. It also seeks to explain why resistance exists in a client-centered therapy.

Resistance in Client-Centered Therapy

“Encountering resistance in a client resistance therapy is a sign and evidence that therapy is taking place. In this regard, successful psychotherapy is highly or most likely related to the increase in resistance. The low levels of resistance correspond with the negative outcomes in the therapy in question” (Clifton Mitchell). However, this resistance has also raised concerns to many therapists who beg to differ with the attributes by Clifton. The therapists argue that resistance in general resides in the clients. Most therapists, however, agree that the resistance is a therapeutic response that is not only an important method but also a desirable method in therapy. This is to say that resistance in client-centered therapy is unavoidable, universal, and inevitable in order t bring out desirable effects and results from the therapy. The big question amongst therapist is whether a resistance led therapy is necessary in order to have a successful psychotherapy.

Why does Resistance Exist in a Client-Centered Therapy?

Resistance exists in a client-centered therapy because the client-centered therapy is actually a deviance which is a response to the threat of the same. This simply means that interventions by therapists can be made in an attempt to convince and persuade the client by the use of arguments and reasons in a rational emotive therapy and a cognitive therapy where the deviation from the therapy may be threatening. However, it is important to note that therapy can be achieved but should not be imposed in order to have positive results.

According to Rogers (1942), there are and will always be questions regarding the existence of resistance in client-centered therapy. The big question is whether the client resistance should be abolished all together from the client-centered therapy. The balance however lies on the advantages and disadvantages of the same which seems to be optimally balanced. In this case, the decision depends on the therapist and the client’s behavior in order to determine the same. Some of the real life cases include; addictions which may include alcoholism and other disorders such as eating disorders. Other cases include anorexa and Bulimia which are medically treated through client centered therapy.

Anxiety, Depression and how a Client may Resist Therapy

Therapy is not always successful. There are cases when the therapy falls short of the therapist realizations or expectations. However, this case study attributed the reasons for the unsuccessfulness to other internal and external factors such as depression, anxiety among many others. These emotions may cause the client to resist the therapy at hand. In this case, the therapy would be unsuccessful. In the case study, the therapist is seen as a person or an actor who invokes or causes anxiety (Strup and Binder, 1984). According to Strupp and Binder, the trick lies in steering an emotion which maintains just enough tension but keeps the client or patient motivated in order to prevent and avoid excessive anxiety of the same. Humanistic therapy is a case study that uses non directive therapy. The assumption in this case study is that most if not all human beings have a self directed process of growth. This approach is based on the self structure of a person.

In this regards, client-centered therapy is not only necessary but is also important in order to provide a clear, valid, and simple method which will help in maintaining a balance in the anxiety level in the client or patient. In this way the client will be able to deal with his inner feelings and conflicts and thus the therapy will be successful (Rogers, 1962, p. 465). It is important to note that the causes of this resistance lie not in therapist’s behavior but rather in the client’s resistances to go through the painful and negative aspects of the clients or patients behavior.


This paper has discussed the resistance in a client-centered therapy. It has also discussed the reasons why resistance exists in a client resistance therapy. The paper has critically discussed how the client may resist the therapy due to depression, anxiety and other internal emotions.

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