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Beyond Resistance: Innovative Approaches by Clifton Mitchell, PHD thumbnail for the Continuing Educa


8.5 Clock Hours Home Study Recorded Video

Beyond Resistance: About Us

8.5 clock hour Continuing Education Credits are provided as a written home study if you pass the post-test following the course written content. The certificate of completion will be emailed to you within 10 minutes after passing the post-test.

Content Areas: Counseling Theory/Practice and the Counseling Relationship

Resistant Clients


This is an introductory to intermediate level course. Upon completion of the course, mental health professionals will be able to:

Develop a personal philosophy for understanding and managing resistance.

Explain how to conceptualize resistance to empower the therapist to avoid, circumvent, and utilize it for client benefit.

Describe five errors therapists make that foster and promote client resistance.

List five principles for dealing with resistance in clients.

Discuss three problems that arise with asking too many questions in therapy, and use alternate linguistic approaches to avoid these pitfalls.

Identify the multiple meanings of "I don't know" responses from clients and apply techniques for managing these responses.


Foreword "Do Not Read This"

Developing a Personal Philosophy for Handling Resistance

Understanding Resistance

    Conventional Definitions

    Alternative Perspectives: The Social Interaction Theorists

     Resistance and Influence: Breaking the Negative Cycle

     Client Dynamics Often Mislabeled as Resistance

     The Positive Side of Resistance

Common Errors Therapists Make That Create and Foster Resistance

      Your Client is Not Making Progress Toward What?

      Why Most People Come to Therapy

The Essential Ingredient Necessary Before We Help Anyone

The Perils of Assuming a Knowing Attitude

Rogers is Still Right and Why People Change

Timing is Everything and "Baby Steps" are Not a Joke

Accepting the Invitation to Take the Pain

Failure to Recognize and Respond to the Client's Stage of Change

Cognitive Distortions of Therapists That Foster Resistance

General Principles for Dealing with Resistance

Averting Resistance By Honoring It

Basic Principle #1: Do the Unexpected

Basic Principle #2: Slow the Pace, Focus on Details, Process Feelings Relative to Meaning

Basic Principle #3: Treat Clients' Resistance with Respect

Basic Principle #4: Maintain an Attitude of Naive Puzzlement

Basic Principle #5: Never Label Clients with Terms That Imply Resistance

Basic Principle #6: Focus Where Clients are Stuck

Basic Principle #7: Frame All Desires in the Positive

Basic Principle #8: If They Are Not Confused, Confuse Them

Basic Principle #9: Resist the Urge to Confront Initially

Words: The Fundamental Tool of Therapists

Two Fundamental Rules of Language Every Therapist Should Know

Lessons from Aikido

Why it is Crucial to Develop the "Desire Side" of the Motivation to Change

The Influence of Words on Mental Processing: Why the Words You Choose are so Important

The Compelling Power of Priming

The Direct Application of Priming as a Technique

Dominant Thought Theory

The Four Steps

Summary Points Regarding Language and Therapy

Goal Creating Language and Techniques

Always Take Time to Establish an Answer to This Inquiry

Enhancing the "Desire Side" of Change

Goal Creating Dialogue for Resistant Clients

Goal Creation Through Enhanced Empathic Responses

Ask the Miracle Question

A Few Points on Creating Viable Goals

Critical Points for Viable Goals/Problem-Solutions

To Ask or Not to Ask, That is the Question

The Problems with Questions Lie Just Beneath the Surface

Generally, Do Not Ask Questions Under the Following Circumstances

What to Do if You Have the Urge to Ask a Question

How to Convert Questions Into Curious Commands

Voice Tone

Generally, Use Questions for These Purposes

Do Not Assume Clients Are Not Asking Themselves Questions in Their Own Minds

Advantages of Avoiding Questions

Managing and Using "I Don't Know" Responses

What Does "I Don't Know" Mean?

Responding to "I Don't Know"

How to Avoid "I Don't Know" Responses

Inquire of a Wise Friend

The Classic Pretend Technique

Using "I Don't Know" to Open Therapeutic Doors

Putting It All Together: Concluding Thoughts

Additional Research Findings of Note

References and Suggested Readings

The course was created from, and is based on, the book, Effective Techniques for Dealing with Highly Resistant Clients. The book addresses additional areas of resistance beyond those included here. Some of these additional areas of study include dealing with silence, responding to challenges from clients, additional linguistic techniques and language nuances, as well as an assortment of additional approaches such as paradox and reframing. Other Course Information: Partial credit/partial attendance is not allowed for this course.

If you have any questions about this course or would like to request accommodations, you can contact us If a participant or potential participant would like to express a concern about the or a continuing education program provided by, the individual may email Although we do not guarantee a particular outcome, we will consider the complaint, make any necessary decisions, and respond as soon as possible. If you have any questions regarding a refund, you can view our policy page and legal notices found at the bottom of this webpage or you can contact us

Beyond Resistance: Text


Clifton Mitchell Ph.D. is an international clinical trainer and keynote speaker who has a love for teaching and over 30 years of training experience. He delivers practical information in a uniquely entertaining, fast-paced style that is filled with humor and illuminating examples. In his latest book, Priming: Programming the Mind for Habit Change and Success, he teaches a scientifically-based system for partnering with the subconscious to eliminate bad habits and create success-advancing behaviors. He also demonstrates how to use priming to radically intensify therapeutic communications and improve outcomes.

For over 20 years, he has studied and presented seminars on methods for dealing with resistance in therapy. In his book, Effective Techniques for Dealing with Highly Resistant Clients, he presents cutting-edge approaches for managing psychological resistance. He has also trained thousands of mental health professionals in the management of difficult, perplexing legal and ethical issues and his latest training is in an entertaining, dynamic game show format.

He is a contributing author in therapy books and published in numerous professional journals including the Psychotherapy Networker, Psychotherapy in Australia, Journal of Personality Assessment, Perceptual and Motor Skills, Psychology and Education, Journal of Psychological Type, The Professional School Counselor, Sober World, Counselor, Vistas, and The Advocate. His research includes investigations of therapeutic resistance, legal and ethical issues, subliminal message tapes, stress and coping, PMS, and personality types. His ideas and writings have also been published in Men’s Health Today and Barron’s Financial Weekly. Dr. Mitchell is currently a professor Emeritus at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, TN, where he was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2002. For more information please visit:

Clifton Mitchell Professional Headshot Course instructor for counselors and therapists
Beyond Resistance: Image



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Provider, ACEP No. 7344. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified.
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Counselor's Choice Award Continuing Education is an National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Washington State Chapter Approved Continuing Education Provider and offers approved clock hours for events that meet Washington State CE Counselors requirements. This workshop has been approved for CEs by the Washington Chapter, National Association of Social Workers (NASW) for Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists and Licensed Mental Health Counselors.  The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (Provider #1975-490)


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Counselor's Choice Award Continuing Education is an Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEPTM) and offers OSBLADC-approved clock hours for events that meet Oklahoma State Board of Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors requirements. The ACEP solely is responsible for all aspects of the program. (Provider #20230154)

Beyond Resistance: Projects
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Provider Contact Information

Phone: +1 (425) 931-5336

Mail: 3516 NE 75th St #8, Seattle, Washington, 98115, USA

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