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Livesey, M. (1963). Types of Resistance Encountered in the Psychotherapy of Children. J. Child Psychother., 1(1):35-40.

(1963). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 1(1):35-40

Types of Resistance Encountered in the Psychotherapy of Children

Margery Livesey

At the Institute of Child Psychology it has been found that resistance during treatment, which we would broadly define as overt, or hidden opposition to treatment, springs from a variety of causes and is therefore handled differently at different times. Some types of resistance and ways of overcoming them will be described in the following pages.

Resistance due to inner conflict

This is a familiar occurrence. Here the conflict must be interpreted to the child so that he may gain an understanding of it and work through it while he is supported in the therapeutic situation.

Jack, aged 13, eventually expressed this type of conflict very clearly although it took a year before he was able to do so. During this year he had made endless drawings of cars and other powerful vehicles. He organised competitions in which skittles had to be knocked down or tins smashed. One day at the clinic an aggressive boy entered into a verbal battle with him which soon developed into a physical fight. Jack attacked the other boy viciously. After this he was able to talk about his outbursts at home, about which he had previously been unable to say anything. He drew a diagram in order to show how he felt. In it he was the centre of a ring of hostile people with an enemy beside him whom he fought. Then he added friends in the circle of enemies realising suddenly that they could not all be hostile. The fight continued until Authority intervened in the shape of prefects, teachers, parents or policemen.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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