What Does Resistance Mean?

I have experienced resistance probably more frequently than I would like to admit.  However, as Rossman (2000) explains, resistance is just our mind and body’s way of putting up its defenses and protecting us from the thoughts and feelings that seem too difficult to handle.  Resistance is a normal part of psychological functioning that allows us to be in the present rather than focused on the past or the future.  I have always thought of resistance as something that was more on a conscious level, like a resistant client who was consciously deciding they are not ready for change.  Unfortunately, sometimes these defense mechanisms become ineffective or distorted and may prevent wanted change (Rossman, 2000, p. 154).  In my experience, resistance shows up as laziness, procrastination or excuses.  I tend to find anything else to do, besides the thing I am trying to do.  For me, using imagery has been a highly effective way to tap into that resistance and begin to understand its purpose. I had to be gentle with myself and utilize my Inner Advisor to gain a sense of safety before I was able to allow that image to form of what the meaning of the resistance was.  Through the process, I was able gain some awareness and understanding and work on addressing the concern with compassion.  Uncovering the meaning of the resistance allowed me to get in touch with some core beliefs that were still hanging on for dear life and that I was unready to let go of, because in doing so I would have to let go of other things that I wasn’t quite ready for yet.  I was able to bring that into my awareness and begin moving slowly through the healing process.  Understanding this resistance and why it was present gave me hope that I won’t always have that belief about myself, but that I can offer myself the time and the compassion to heal and develop new beliefs about myself.    

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