Skills for Working with Resistant Clients

CE Hours: 4.0
Instructor: Hailey Shafir, LCMHCS, LCAS, CCS

A Live, Interactive Webconference
Wednesday, March 8, 2023, via Zoom Interactive Webconference

Resistance and defensiveness can be a normal part of the treatment process for behavioral health providers working in the community. Regardless of experience level, clients who present as resistant, defensive, or disengaged can be challenging. In this workshop, common presentations of resistance are identified, as well as the ways each can impact treatment. A framework is provided for understanding what gives rise to client resistance, identifying contextual factors in the therapeutic relationship, as well as what the client brings via their relational history and personality style. This workshop provides approaches and techniques behavioral health providers can use to overcome resistance, repair ruptured alliances, and foster engagement with distrustful clients. Attendees will learn about common defense mechanisms and ways to skillfully deal with them in treatment using evidence-informed, best practice guidelines drawn from Person-Centered Care and Motivational Interviewing. Specific case examples and illustrations will be used to highlight concepts and principles

As a result of participating in this training, attendees will be able to:

  1. Identify three common types of defense mechanisms and give an example of how each can show up and interfere with individual and family therapy.
  2. Identify three or more common sources of resistance and defensiveness in individual and family therapy.
  3. Describe applications of Person-Centered Care to building rapport and repairing therapeutic ruptures
  4. Describe applications of Motivational Interviewing to engagement and buy in, as well as resistance/non-engagement


  • 8:25am-10:30am: Focus on Objectives 1 & 2
  • 10:30am-10:40am: Break
  • 10:40am-12:35pm: Focus on Objectives 3 & 4

This is an intermediate level course. The target audience is behavioral health professionals working within an Ecosystemic Family Therapy Model. This is a live synchronous distance learning activity conducted in real time, allowing for simultaneous participation of participants and instructors from different locations.

About The Trainer
Hailey Shafir is a licensed clinical mental health counselor, a licensed addiction specialist, and a board-approved clinical supervisor for newly licensed mental health and addiction counselors. She has more than a decade of experience providing counseling, developing programs for at-risk youth, people struggling with addictions, and providing training and supervision for clinicians. She is the owner of several businesses including Keep Counsel, Plan-it Therapy, IndyWind, and Therapy Cred. Hailey is also a content writer and medical peer reviewer for, the National Drug Helpline, Choosing Therapy, Rehab Adviser, Searchlight, Social Pro Now, and other sites, and has worked to develop online recovery apps and programs for people struggling with addictions and impulse control disorders.

Frequently Asked Questions
Visit our FBMHS Policies & FAQs on Live, Interactive Webconferences for additional information regarding CFBT live interactive workshops, accommodations for disabilities, reporting problems with the training, instructions for registering for a training, etc.