Treating clients with co-occurring disorders can be very challenging. One of the challenges often encountered in a therapeutic setting is resistance. For a variety of reasons the client may resist treatment for one of the issues – substance abuse or mental health issues. If they are seeing you, then they probably acknowledge they need help in one of the areas. For example: “I am struggling with depression” or “I am afraid I am drinking more than I should be, so I thought it might be a good idea to talk to someone.”
Imagine that you have a client who is experiencing depression and who also needs treatment for excessive alcohol use. The client freely accepts the fact that depression is an issue and is willing to take medication and engage in psychotherapy. However, the client fails to see that their drinking pattern is maladaptive and is not willing to address the drinking issue, only the depression.
1. What reasons can you think of that might lead this client to be resistant to
treatment for alcohol abuse? Identify two reasons.
2. What steps can you take to address this resistance?