"Resistance" (German: Widerstand) as initially used by Sigmund Freud, referred to patients blocking memories from conscious memory. This was a key concept, since the primary treatment method of Freud's talk therapy required making these memories available to the patient's consciousness.
Later, Freud described five different forms of resistance. They became associated with the various analytic structures.
Other theoretical schools use the concept "resistance" differently
Over time, "resistance" came to mean anything a patient did to make therapy or a particular intervention less effective. Resistance has also been defined as the act of defending one's position in response to confrontation (Miller & Rollnick 2002).
Criticism to the concept of "resistance"
As "resistance" came to be used more as a description of a patient, "I have a very resistant patient", rather than description of a process or interaction between structures of the mind, there came to be more criticism of the concept as demeaning to the patient.
- Miller, W. R., Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational Interviewing (2nd ed.). London: Guilford Press
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