Can psychoanalysis be called transpersonal?

Sigmund FreudIn classic Freudian therapy,  psychological ill health emerges when the balance between the id, ego and super ego is distorted. “Patients” will present for counselling in an egodystonic state – when thoughts and behaviours are in conflict, or dissonant, with the needs and goals of the ego, or, further, in conflict with a person’s ideal self-image or when defences have failed them.

Another way of looking at this would be when the mental defences do not achieve any secondary gain, but are experienced as wholly unpleasureable.

For Freud, in order for psychosexual development to be seamless, the superego should facilitate the successful resolution of the Oedipal crisis. Rivalry that is well managed by the parents can lead to the child’s sense of fairness and a pursuit of justice

Psychoanalysis has contributed some very useful tools to integrative counselling and psychotherapy such as working with the transference, free association, dream analysis, observing slips of the tongue, projective identification, projection and boundary (frame) management. The psychoanalytic approach can be seen in the thinking and practices of many counsellors and therapists who call themselves ‘integrative’. For example, there is a strong psychoanalytic interest in Transactional Analysis, and most Person-Centred counsellors and Existential Therapists not only embrace, but actively work with the idea of transference. Indeed, a major part of assessing a new client is to take a thorough inventory of early history and seek to build a narrative about the quality and robustness of early bonds.

Freud’s project was to demonstrate a quasi-scientific objectivity of the unconscious that could be replicated across cultures.  However, Freud was not privy to advances in neuroscientific research and insightful tools such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) scanning which help us understand the workings of the brain. Dr Susan Greenfield has more recently claimed that the subconscious is a mere add-on to the debate about what constitutes consciousness as opposed to unconsciousness. For Greenfield, in science (and Freud was seeking a science of the mind), is to obtain impartial third person access to an event or a phenomenon – something that you can measure and it is very hard to measure an interaction.  Psychoanalysis involves an interaction between the practitioner and the patient, whereas what happens in science is completely impartial. Greenfield questions whether one psychoanalyst and another would yield exactly the same outcome.

So, can psychoanalysis be termed transpersonal? Ken Wilber says that to have an oedipal problem simply means that this transition has largely failed. It could also be argued that in the free floating attention required of the analyst in long term analysis, when the analyst engages in deep unconscious to unconscious relationship with the patient, there is a deep spiritual connection in the room.  Furthermore, neo Freudian Michael Eigen  could be viewed as exploring similar ground to transpersonal following his writings on mysticism. Whilst Eigen could not be called a transpersonal therapist, his analytical writings, nevertheless, demonstrate a degree of symmetry with transpersonal material when working with the unconscious and in using symbols. The primary orientation of his approach might not be the pursuit of a client’s soul journey but there is active engagement with visualisations, altered states of consciousness and symbolism.



Transpersonal View of adolescence, sexual development and eating disorders

My course is going well. So far this term we have had lectures on a transpersonal view of adolescence, sexual development and eating disorders.  In addition we have had two weekends on sexual development. For the next two weeks we have lectures on addictions so presumably we will cover the whole gambit of addictions.

I have enjoyed discussing Freud’s Three Essays on the Theory on Sexuality (1905).   Freud was writing at a time when women were chaperoned to the doctor by their husbands.  It is also important to remember that Freud was writing in a time that pre-dated gay liberation.  So, perhaps writing about sexuality would be akin to writing a history of England purely from the lenses of Victorian books.Indeed, it is interesting to note that the BACP has modified its Ethical Framework that only now informs its members that gay conversion therapy is unethical.

The statement, drawn up by the board of governors, ends: “BACP believes that socially inclusive, non-judgmental attitudes to people who identify across the diverse range of human sexualities will have positive consequences for those individuals, as well as for the wider society in which they live. There is no scientific, rational or ethical reason to treat people who identify within a range of human sexualities any differently from those who identify solely as heterosexual.”

Rosemary Cowan, in a previous edition of Therapy Today,  has pointed out that the developmental model that CCPE has suggested is that trainees in the first year are likened to wide-eyed, enthusiastic primary school children; in the second year, like pre-teens, they gain confidence and independence but may also be ‘know-alls’ who overstretch themselves; in the third year they reach the rebellious, argumentative, difficult teenager stage; in the fourth year, with increased maturity and stability, they become more rounded, finished characters. I am not sure where I fit with that model but remaining open minded and receptive is probably the best option and lectures on addictions are probably best placed in the teen period.



What is the transpersonal approach to early life theory of psychological development?


I am currently undertaking research to evaluate the relevance of early life and psychodynamic ideas of unconscious communication e.g. transference and counter transference to transpersonal integrative psychotherapy.  I am reminded how ground breaking the ideas of Freud was, how distasteful the language and ideas of Melanie Klein can be and how attachment theory is so male centered in thinking.   But I am also reminded how difficult the transpersonal approach can be for some people.

A transpersonal perspective on the psyche (Wilber 1978) is that we come from spirit, our true nature is divine and our essence is of a split-off fragment of an all-encompassing consciousness. The word ‘spirit’ is derived from spiritus which implies wind or breath. The alchemical journey is to reveal our true nature, before we were born.

Sa’adi says “Every being is created for a purpose and the light of that purpose is already kindled in his soul” (Khan, 1978 p 182)

However, sometimes I get the feeling that people, outside transpersonal circles, begin to question my scrupples when I start making reference to our essence, or dare I mention it, our soul qualities. For them we come from matter and they aggressively discount the notion of the soul. Religious connotations aside at this Easter time, it is quite a leap for some people to consider the notion of soul qualities, even more alarming would be issues pertaining to transmigration of the soul. The truth, though, is that I am at best agnostic myself most of the time as I struggle with life’s injustices and with the notion that there is a soul let allow a journey of the soul.  For me, the ultimate creative attitude in life, especially whilst learning,  is to try to remain open minded as I deal with such struggles.

As integrative psychotherapists we are not merely practitioners of new age ideas bent on tuning in to the elements and seeking mercurial fixes for the client.  Yes, we can avail of the elements when seeking to see the person in the round but we will never hesitate to work with transference and counter transference and seek to identify the unconscious material in the therapeutic relationship. I believe that as integrative therapists we are carrying a basic toolkit of theory and methods out of which we can produce an approach that is appropriate to the client.  In this I like what Erikson (Erikson 1987) said about a new psychology emerging every time we close the door and sit down with a new client. That is truly to remain open minded.



With Sigmund Freud: Is it all about sex?

Freud has contributed a great deal to our profession but the psychoanalyst tends to have the role of the wise initiate who ‘knows’ and disagreement would be seen
usually as a defence or a manifestation of pathology. This is at odds with the
transpersonal school, which most certainly does not ‘know’ but finds creativity
in holding and exploring the mystery.

Sigmund Freud, 1856-1939. His quest, along with other Freudians was to seek the connection between the life of the psyche and the physiological processes. The major connection identified by Freud was through dreams, which mediated between the conscious and unconscious aspects of ourselves. The essential dominant he believed was sexuality and the psychoanalysis that he developed was a reductive process of stripping away all the factors which masked or influenced the sex drive in order to make it conscious.

Perhaps Freud’s greatest contribution is his concept of the structure of the unconscious and the idea that there are different levels of consciousness. Conscious / Pre-conscious and unconscious/and how they relate to the development and problems of the personality.

The id is the seat of innate desires and the principle source of psychic energy. It wants immediate satisfaction in accordance with the pleasure principle. The id is primary process thinking. The baby feels hunger and it either immediately satisfies this by reaching for the nipple or if this isn’t possible it satisfies it partially or indirectly by imagining a bottle of milk. This hallucinatory wish fulfilment is called primary process thought.

The Ego Freud’s view was that the development of the ego lies in the id’s inability to always get what it wants and is necessary for physical and psychological survival. It helps in survival because it possesses secondary process thought, which is more organised, integrated and logical and includes intellectual activities such as perception, logical thought, problem solving, memory etc. Acting out instincts in thought or deed creates fear and anxiety regarding punishment of guilt. The defences ease conflict between the instinctual demands of the id and society.

When anxiety is aroused the ego tackles the problem in a realistic way utilizing its problem solving skills. However, when the anxiety is so strong it threatens to engulf the ego, then the defence mechanisms come into play. When the individual can’t satisfy the super ego or the id he develops a complex, a problem and what happens then is that you spend a lot of time avoiding stimulating the instinct. If there is a conflict over food you try to avoid food.

The super-ego is a symbolic internalization of the father figure and cultural regulations. The super-ego tends to stand in opposition to the desires of the id because of their conflicting objectives, and is aggressive towards the ego. The super-ego acts as the conscience, maintaining our sense of morality and the prohibition of taboos. Its formation takes place during the dissolution of the Oedipus complex and is formed by an identification with and internalization of the father figure after the little boy cannot successfully hold the mother as a love-object out of fear of castration

Acting out instincts in thought or deed creates fear and anxiety regarding punishment of guilt. The defences ease conflict between the instinctual demands of the id and society. According to Freud, humans have an instinctual drive to maximise sexual gratification and minimise punishment. As a child grows up it takes on ideas from society and parents which are at odds with its instincts. The result is that the mind fears punishment .

1. Instincts 2. Punishment and guilt 3. Defence mechanisms

Another important component is the sex instinct

1. The sex drive has its source in bodily needs. Sexual excitation arises from erogenous zones in the body particularly the oral, anal and genital areas.

2.The aim of the sex drive, or any instinct, is to remove this bodily need . This ultimate goal is achieved via subordinate goals such as finding and investing energy in sexual objects. Freud defined an instinct as an “urge inherent in organic life to restore an earlier state of things” This return to an earlier state of mental and physiological lack of excitation is achieved by satisfying the need.

3.Tension mounts, an appropriate sex object is found , tension is discharged and the person experiences pleasure. There are many ways to satisfy a drive. Libido becomes attached or in Freud’s terminology, cathected to an object.

Drives can be fused as in for example, playing soccer which satisfies co-operative and aggressive needs. Or hunger, which satisfies both hunger and destructiveness. (biting and chewing)

Drives can also be satisfied in a partial or indirect way as for example gossiping about someone rather than physically attacking someone. Drives are also substituted as intense hate turns into love or sexual desire becomes platonic love.

One object can be substituted for another as when an adult’s oral needs are satisfied by playing a trumpet. In some cases a culturally or morally higher goal is substituted for the desired goal.

An angry person may sublimate his desire to attack other people by making violent films. (Mel Gibson).

Freud’s psycho-sexual theory of human development

There are 3 groups of problems that clients present in therapy;

1. Inability to trust, love and have close relationships, low self esteem

2. Inability to recognise and express hostility, anger, rage and hate. Denial of these aspects of our psyche.

3.Inability to fully accept feelings of sexuality, fear of sexual feelings.

These stem from early life development and affect our social and sexual development. Early in his work Freud discovered that looking for the causes of disturbed personality usually led to unresolved sexual experiences of childhood. Each stage centres on a particular erogenous zone of the body that when stimulated produces sexual tensions that need to be relieved.

Related blog posts

The Clinical (illness) model – personality typologies

Transference and counter Transference

Acting Out – What are the fantasies?

Resistance in Therapy




The clinical (illness model) of personality typology #Freud in the therapeutic setting

It was great to get back to term time lectures again last night even if it was not great to be back in the London climate.  I left Valencia (see above) on Monday when it was 37 degrees.  Last night’s lecture was on Freud.    I will be discussing Freud’s ideas later in the week but I wanted to continue my theme of applying personality typology to the therapeutic environment.

In the psychotherapeutic community we owe a great debt to Freud who was primarily concerned with exploring the personal unconscious. The clinical model has its origins in Freud and covers four types: schizoid, obsessional, depressive and hysterical.


In this model this type is described as introverted.  They are more likely to be avoidant in relationships and are fixated on oral development.  This type often fails to turn up for therapy. The defining feature is the distance between the conscious personality and the
feelings function.  There is very little sense of self and there is a fear of intimacy with this type. The schizoid likes to be alone and is not very good with manifestation.

The approach in therapy is to understand that fantasy is the way into feeling for
this type.  Patience is therefore needed in the therapeutic environment, as perhaps it is needed with all clients, but especially so here.  It is perhaps an over generalisation that this type is represented by ‘air’ in the elements model but it can feel like it when you are sitting and listening to a client who speaks non stop in an avoidant manner. With a contracted client, I would slowly try to ground them by getting them to relax and get in touch with their feelings. A number of transpersonal techniques could eventually be employed
when it is safe such as the pebble exercise, meditation, creative imagination
and deep breathing.


 The obsessional type is also described as introverted. The issue with this type is
control, therefore, this type is less likely to turn up for therapy. The feelings are not shown.  They are there, just that they are not shown. This type is associated with the “stiff upper lip”.  Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) can be a presenting issue which is about mastering, a form of control.  In Freudian terms, it emanates from a potty
training issue and a form of distortion which took place around 6-18 months
leading to a fixation.

Attempts at control and people pleasing leads to resentments with this type. Spiritual
experience can threaten them.   This type is more likely to become tyrants, controlling
their world through their will and ultimately leading to isolation.

An approach in therapy would be to investigate what is happening in dreams as obsessives
play out sabotage.  The real work in therapy is to uncover what is really going on.
No less with this type. How can the true feelings be revealed? I would seek to explore the source of the resentments and the need for controlling behaviour. The key is to get behind the primary behaviours to uncover what is really going on.


Depression can be endogenous, reactive and bi-polar (previously called manic). This type in this model is extroverted as the feelings are shown.  There are lots of water qualities. They are more likely to turn up for therapy because of their extraversion inclinations.

Endogenous depression is not a type of depression rather it is biological depression. The defining characteristics are helplessness and hopelessness. What is behind this is an internalised sense of not feeling good enough.  They seek out scripts that are self-deprecating as they are seeking to have their poor self image reflected back to them.

The manifestations of low self-esteem usually bring them into therapy.  Unlike schizoids, there is a sense of self, but it is lacking or weak.

Reactive depression specifies that depression comes from some event or some stress occurring. For example, problems in a relationship, bereavement, loss of a loved one, changing job or anything that directly affects one’s life.  Other people can sense the
vulnerability of depressives and can seek to exploit their victim status. This is a major liability in dealing with life’s problems since in the workplace there are invariably bullies lurking to pick up on any vulnerability.

Depressives are water types in the elements model as there is distortion.  The water is stagnant.  Bi-polar (formerly termed manic) depression is the toughest to live with and requires medication for chemical rebalancing. Bi-polar clients can be as high as a kite and can be very sexual, or spendaholics. But then there is a crash.  It is about extremes with this type. If they are challenged they can be very defended.  Lithium is the usual
prescribed medication.

The approach in therapy is to be aware of boundaries which are very important for depressed  clients.  CBT interventions such as “to do lists” can be very useful. They need
accurate mirroring and reassurance and require an acknowledgement of their
accomplishments.  It can be safer to access anger (fire) through creativity, in the form of gestalt therapy or working with images. Fire is the expressed form of the water element as the depressed feelings can be akin to stagnant water.

I find the description of this type in this typology limiting in that I believe we are all a bit depressed, to a greater or lesser degree.  How, for example, can you distinguish between sadness of true feelings, perhaps in response to a harsh event, and the sadness brought about by depression?   Perhaps it is best to think in terms of extreme distortion with this type.   We might all be a bit depressed at times but the issue is when the depressed feelings become our defining quality.


Like depressives, hysterics are more likely to turn up for therapy because of the extraversion in these types.  They are extrovert because the feelings are
being displayed (symbolically) and they are demanding attention. In Freud’s day,
the hysterical type was seen as classically female. Hysterical types seek
attention by whatever means. They are invariably still raging at a parent.  They need attention but the right kind.  These are the type that will commit suicide
by accident. The suicide attempt is really a cry for help, for attention, but it
went too far.

There is always a drama going on with them.  Hysterical types are prone to sexually provocative behaviour or to sexualizing non-sexual relationships. However, they may not really want a sexual relationship; rather, their seductive behaviour often masks their wish to be dependent and protected. They have a tendency to “make mountains out of mole hills.”  The proverb rings true: ”Empty vessels make most noise.”

The strategy with this client is to try to find what is really going on and therefore one needs compassion.  They can be hard to like as they seem to be sabotaging themselves.  They are like a hurt child running the show and are distorted earth types.  They look
fiery, but it’s more like an earthquake or a volcano. The presenting issues
with these clients can entail bad physical conditions. Physical holding can be
a positive reassurance, such as a hand on back, a hug, or a holding hand.

Critique of clinical model

Freud has contributed a great deal to our profession but the psychoanalyst tends to have
the role of the wise initiate who ‘knows’ and disagreement would be seen
usually as a defence or a manifestation of pathology. This is at odds with the
transpersonal school, which most certainly does not ‘know’ but finds creativity
in holding and exploring the mystery.  The clinical model can be useful when seeing extreme, distorted types.  It is an illness model and the conflict is the need to conform to society. I would contend that the need to conform to society is less of an issue nowadays.

There are wide differences of opinion within the transpersonal community
as to the appropriateness of doing transpersonal work with psychotic
individuals. Jung, Wilber, and Grof and Grof  have argued that transpersonally oriented therapies are not appropriate for psychotic individuals.  Lukoff and others, however,  suggest that transpersonal psychotherapy may be particularly appropriate for psychotic disorders, even serious ones. In general, initial evaluation should include not only the usual elements of a psychiatric history, but also an assessment of the patient’s spiritual experiences, developmental level, premorbid functioning,  and interest in exploring the symptoms.

More on Freud soon…..

Related posts


Transference and counter transference

The past two weeks have been concerned with transference and counter transference. Transference had been identified by the great Sigmund Freud when he noticed that his patients often seemed to fall in love with him – including the men. Transference occurs when a person takes the perceptions and expectations of one person and projects them onto another person. They then interact with the other person as if the other person is that transferred pattern. In the way we tend to become the person that others assume we are, the person who has patterns transferred onto them may collaborate and play the game, especially if the transference gives them power or makes them feel good in some way. Typically, the pattern projected onto the other person comes from a childhood relationship. This may be from an actual person, such as a parent, or an idealized figure or prototype. This transfers both power and also expectation. If you treat me as a parent, I can tell you what to do, but you will also expect me to love and care for you. This can have both positive and negative outcomes.

Types of transference

Paternal transference When we create paternal transference, we turn the other person into either our father or an idealized father-figure. Fathers are powerful, authoritative and wise. They protect us and tell us what to do. They know many things. They provide a sense of control in our lives. They make us feel safe. We often transfer as a four or five-year old child, where ‘father knows best’ and the pattern is one of trust and compliance. When we regard higher-level leaders (e.g. a company CEO), the transference may be as a baby, where the father is distant, powerful and protective. Male managers in companies often encourage paternal transference by taking on the mantle and behaviours of classic fathers. They assume wisdom. They speak with authority. They reassure us that all will be well if we do as they tell us.

Maternal transference We develop relationships with our mothers at much earlier dates, and so take on roles of babies more than children. In our early years in particular, mothers are the source of unconditional love. After the separation of birth, they recreate unity by holding us and making us feel as one. Mothers also are the source of ultimate authority, and the threat of separation is very powerful. Mothers appear in myth as both the fairy godmother and also the wicked witch, and we often have ambiguous relationships with them. We can also become Oedipal in our desire to be the sole focus of attention of our mothers. Maternal transference is thus often deeper, with more primitive and emotional elements than paternal transference. Women managers often have excessive expectation put on them that they will nurture their staff, who then become disillusioned when this does not happen (hence the manager becomes cast as a witch).

Sibling transference When parents are absent in our childhood, we may substitute these with sibling relationships, either with brothers/sisters or with friends. This is an increasingly significant pattern as families fracture and mothers spend long hours at work and are often away from the child during the critical early years. People with preferences for sibling transference work well in horizontal, team-based organizations, as they do not fall into the leader-seeking behaviours of parental transference. This can also lead to greater anarchy as we ignore leaders and work through networks rather than needing a controlling authoritarian hierarchy.

Other transference We also transfer non-familial patterns onto other people. In fact we invariably treat others not as they are but as we think they are, and often as we think they should be. Thus we form stereotypes, and transfer these patterns onto others. We also form idealized prototypes, for example of policemen, priests, doctors and teachers, and project these onto people when we need the appropriate roles. Thus when a person is hurt in the street and another stops to help, they may have a doctor pattern transferred onto them. Erotic transference can be ordinary and delusional. Transference is the ego trying to protect itself.

Counter-transference (concordant and complementary) occurs where a person who is a recipient of a transference activity accepts this and engages with the client at an emotional level. Remember as therapist you have no business allowing the client work become personal. Your job is to fail the client but in a manageable way. Just like the child needs to realise the disappointment that their parents are not actually the greatest and most idealised people in the world, so the client needs to realise that the therapist is not the ideal subject of the fantasy. “As if” consciousness needed. When to make something conscious depends how well you know your client. What hasn’t been worked through will be repeated and repeated and repeated.


Acting out – What are the fantasies?

This week’s lecture was on “acting out”. It is tempting to view the term “acting out” as a throw back to the hippy culture of coolness.  In fact Freud talked a lot about “acting out” saying that patients do not remember their repressed feelings but reproduce them not as memory but as an action.  The action is repeated in a unconsious manner.  For the therapist it is important to try to understand what is bring communicated.  The most overt resistance is the “doing”,  like when children “act out” with tantrums.  The tantrums could be seen as a unconsious way of communicating attitudes to authority and compliance. Children’s feelings are invariably unmediated.   The greater the resistance the greater the level of “acting out”. Indeed when a child falls over there is invariably a delayed reaction and then there are loud bursts of howling.  Perhaps the child is making an unconscious attempt to get attention and sympathy for all the previous hurts. Transference and “acting out” are at one when the client is acting in a way that repeats “the cycle” with the therapist, thereby exploring the core issues.  A lot of the material with a client is pre verbal and pre conscious.

The types of clients more likely to act out

Unable to sufficiently distinguish between present and past

Rigid defences, fear and terror of feelings leads to dis associate behaviour – when the clients get close to feelings they act out in a big way

Pre verbal levels of development

Kinds of acting out

Self destructive acts

Splitting – seeing more than one therapist at the same time

Bringing gifts and presents to the therapist

Repeated lateness

Setting conditions on the therapy

Imitating the therapist

Forgetting to pay

Storming out

Disproportionate anger

How to deal with acting out?

As with all therapy don’t let the “acting out” get personal.  The “acting out” is not directed at you. Keep your boundaries and be consistent with whatever you do. Therapy is a two-handed affair.  On the one hand you are offering strategies to help the client cope but on the other hand you are helping them to untangle the mess.

The job of the therapist is to recognise when something unconscious is beginning to surface in the sessions.   We need to view “acting out” as a form of remembering. Empathy and compassion can create a safe environment in order to allow difficult issues rise to the surface.  What are the fantasies?  They will be your guide.

Topics and related resources

acting out definition
articles on acting out the Oedipal wish
Kids acting out

Resistance in therapy – infinitely variable


This week’s lecture was on resistance in therapy. This was particularly useful given that I am now seeing clients at the drop in centre. Resistance is viewed as a positive force which opposed the return to memory of painful experiences.  Freud talked about the positive sign that the truth was emerging.

It is important to understand that defences are there for a reason.  Coping strategies help us survive.

Types of resistance:

Repression resistance

transference resistance

Secondary gain resistance

Super ego resistance

Poor or faulty technique

Due to change my pose to relationships

Due to the dependency on the therapist

Caused by a threat to the patient’s self esteem by the therapy

Due to repetition compulsion

Fixed personality traits

How does resistance manifest?  The most common ‘acting out’ are not turning up, not paying, silence or indeed talking too much (intellectualisation), overt avoidance of specific issues, forgetting, casting a spell (colluding with resistance i.e. spinning a yarn), sleepiness (yawning, dislodging tension, the unconscious sends everyone to sleep), boredom (hard to pay attention because no feeling attached to it), bringing loads of material (no agreement on what issues to prioritize), small talk or chit-chat, door knob therapy (the client tells about some major issue on their way out the door at the end of the session).

How to work with resistance? It is important to remember that resistance can be useful.  you know you are getting close to the truth.   It is important for a therapist to remember that it is not malicious ill will but a coping strategy to avoid pain. Be aware of your own resistance.  You can’t help a client in an area where you are unwilling to go yourself eg. active addictions.  Check your own interventions.  You could be too rigid with boundaries or on the contary too loose.  Like in parenting it is not good to be over controlling or too permissive.  The child needs someone to say stop. Freud originally saw resistance as a block but he later changed his mind when he realised it was an integral part of therapy.

The first requirement is to be supportive.  There is no value in taking on the will or ego of a client.  Hopefully a sense of containment will happen but this could take a lot of time.  It is best to offer interpretation and insight.

The broad stages of therapy:

1, Client presents as unhappy, but doesn’t know the problem. Work with insight to uncover unhappiness.

2, Clients knows the problem so brainstorm the territory. The transpersonal way is to uncover qualities to overcome the problems. Thats perhaps why we get difficulties in life so that we can grow.  There is a reason why we have resistance. The only people who can withdraw resistance is the client.

Unhelpful practices by therapist: Colluding, being impatient or hostile, blaming, unhelpful attitudes to beliefs, inconsistent messages (eg. hugging, agreeing that hugging is okay one time and then not the next time).

Counsellor Responsibility

Counsellors are responsible for working in ways which promote the client’s control over his/her own life, and respects the client’s ability to make decisions and change in the light of his/her own beliefs and values.

Counsellors are ethically bound to respect the client’s right to choose. The counsellor’s role is to facilitate the client’s work in ways which respect the client’s values, personal resources and capacity for self determination.


File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat 

by CH Patterson
The purpose of this paper is to consider client resistance from a client- centered view of psychotherapy. Client or patient resistance in psychotherapy…/RESISTANCE_IN_PSYCHOTHERAPY_A_ PERSON-CENTERED_VIEW.pdf –

Psychological resistance – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to How do therapists handle resistance in psychotherapy??: Working with theresistance provides a  their therapy, which may reduce resistance

Psychoanalytic Origins – Freud’s Treatment of Resistance 

Resistance in Therapy: how to handle it?

5 May 2009  The very basics of your relationship with your therapist: trust and openess in a good communication and interaction. 

Resistant Clients Psychotherapy Article

Resistant Clients: We’ve all had them; here’s how to help them. Article on effectively dealing with resistance in psychotherapy. CE credit available. 

Dr. Deb: Hope Therapy and Resistance

21 Aug 2008  I think a multidimensional approach is important in therapy. And I do believe that looking at resistance is a very important and helpful…/hope-therapy-and-resistance.html  

Dealing With Resistance in Psychotherapy — WETZLER 164 (1): 176 

by S WETZLER – 2007 –
Dealing with Resistance in Psychotherapy by Althea Horner is an old-fashioned book in the psychoanalytic tradition.

Further reading:

Michael Jacobs The Presenting Past

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