Resistance (psychoanalysis)

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"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.

"Resistance" expanded[edit]

Later, Freud described five different forms of resistance. They became associated with the various analytic structures.

Other theoretical schools use the concept "resistance" differently[edit]

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"[edit]

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

External links[edit]