Transforming Resistance with Difficult-to-Reach Clients

A Five Day AEDP Workshop at the Cape Cod Institute, in Eastham, Massachusetts

with Steve Shapiro, PhD

Many clients interfere with the very progress they seek through resistance to the psychotherapy process. Not infrequently, they terminate prematurely before reaching their goals.  This results in tragic consequences for the client, as well as frustration and a sense of failure for the therapist. While clients enter treatment with conscious motivation, resistance is unconscious and difficult to address without a coherent system. The therapist may interpret resistance in a personal way, becoming confused, frustrated, and hopeless, with a tendency to hold the client responsible and label him/her as unmotivated, resistant, or personality disordered.

Participants in this workshop will learn to move beyond resistance and simple symptom management into deep, transformational processes that release resources of health and resilience, enabling the client to abandon chronic coping patterns that were once necessary, but have long outlived their usefulness and are now causing suffering.

Therapists offer the promise of help often based on the assumption that the client will arrive with sufficient initial motivation, openness and willingness to face painful realities. Frequently this is not the case. Clinicians are not always prepared to address resistance directly and therapeutically, making it difficult to help more challenging clients.  Defenses can be seen as “a problem,” rather than an inevitable part of the process; defense restructuring can mistakenly be understood as an adversarial task to be avoided, rather than a compassionate and collaborative venture.

Therapists of all orientations and levels of experience will gain a clear understanding of the nature and function of defenses, and ways to transform them therapeutically so the client can align with the healthy, buried and previously inaccessible internal resources. The principles taught can be readily integrated with your existing orientation and skill set. By adopting an active, focused, precise, experiential, attachment-based and emotionally engaged stance, therapists can create the level of safety and attunement the client needs to risk abandoning resistance and shift to healthier functioning. The ultimate goal of this seminar is to accelerate the healing process for clients, but also to help the therapist practice in a way that substantially reduces countertransference, is authentic and deeply rewarding to practice, fully compatible with your personal and professional history.

In addition to didactic material, each day will include video demonstrations using actual client sessions.


Monday – Overview of clinical maps. Moment to moment tracking of verbal and somatic responses. Trial therapy. Attachment and the development of psychopathology.

Tuesday – Removing barriers safely: Understanding defensive operations, transforming resistance, defense restructuring.  Bypassing and therapeutically challenging defenses.

Wednesday – Keeping motivation high and inhibition low: Anxiety monitoring and anxiety regulation. Pathways of anxiety.  Assessing anxiety and affect tolerance. Optimal window of anxiety.

Thursday – Accessing healthy resources: Facilitating affective experience. Components of emotion. Corrective emotional experience. Relational interventions.

Friday – Putting it all together: Case conceptualization, core formulation, clinician mindfulness, development of therapist style.

Meet the Presenter

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Fee and Credits

  • $549
  • $499 for resident physicians and full-time graduate students (by post only with documentation – form provided at registration site)


Click here for CE Credit details for this course.

Questions about this Workshop?

Contact Us

Event Details:


06/27/2016 - 07/01/2016
10:00 am - 4:00 pm


The Cape Cod Institute
100 Cable Rd
Eastham, MA

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