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CAREER COUNSELING

DEALING & UNDERSTANDING


WITH RESISTANCE &
PROBLEMATIC CLIENTS

UNDERSTANDING & WORKING


WITH RESISTANT CLIENTS
Why do clients resist?
Walborn (1996) defined resistance as a fear of change.
Cavanagh (1982) suggested 3 reasons why client resist
change.
1st. growth is painful. Painful foe some clients to stop old
behaviors & start new behaviors coz starting new behaviors
often requires becoming self-reliant, admitting self-deceit, &
reexamining basic beliefs & values.
2nd. maladaptive behaviors that may need to be changed often
provide a distraction, help to vent anger, & atone for guilt.
3rd. some clients may have counter therapeutic motives. They
want permission not to change, they want to prove that
somebody else to be blame, & they want to defeat the
counselor.
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Cont.
Yost & Corbishley (1987) pointed out that resistance
in career counseling is often seen most clearly in
the clientss failure to complete the tasks of the stage
that is, to provide information, to set goals, or to do
assigned homework.
To be effective working with resistance clients:
Important to acknowleedge that resistance can &
does occur in career counseling. If you do not
acknowledge this, then you will not look for
resistance in your work with clients. And, if you do not
lool for resistance, you will not see it. As a result, you
may misread & misunderstand some client behavior
as career counseling unfolds.
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RECOGNIZING RESISTANCE:
Fear of Counseling Meara and Patton
(1994) said it can take 3 forms:
1st.- fear of the counselor, focuses on clients fears
that counselors will not meet their expectations.
2nd.- fear of counseling process, revolves around
such concerns as a lack of faith on the part of clients
in the counseling process, clients feelings that they
lack competence to be involved in the work of
counseling, and the fear of working with authority
figures.
3rd.- fear of discovery, describes feelings of clients
learning unwanted knowledge about themselves.
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Cont.
Fear of Taking Responsibility King, 1992, Accepting
responsibility for decisions is one of the most difficult things
clients face in their lives. Counselors awareness and
appreciation of the potential burden and threat that taking
responsibility represents to clients are prerequisite to dealing
with resistance in a positive manner
Low (1996) discovered that anything sounds more hopeful and
more comforting than the bleak prospect of having to undergo
training and selfdiscipline. Even brain tumors, mental ailments
and hereditary taints are preferable to that dreadful indictment
as being a weak character and needing training in self-control
Insulation & manipulation become necessary defense
mechanisms for client survival.
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DEFENSE MACHANISMS &


SABOTAGED COMMUNICATION
Serve as safeguards of self-esteem.
Allow for an evasion of life tasks.
Some strategies are intended to ensure
against failure, exposure, or other
catasrophes.
Strategy used may have the effect of
making it impossible for clients to meet
onerous responsibilities or at least it may
delay the moment of truth
Clients may try to disqualify themselves
from a race they do not wish to run.
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SABOTAGED COMMUNICATION
Low, 1966, Some communication tactics
that allow the individual to maintain
freedom from commitment and
responsibility.
There is an advantage to mystifying
situations so that there is always room for
doubt and, therefore, justified inactivity. If
the situation gets too threatening, one can
always justify gracious withdrawal.
Keeping communication incomplete allows
for the freedom to do what one pleases.
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LITERALNESS
Rejecting of a statement made by another
without opposing it openly is a device that
can be used to block efforts, combat views, or
reject suggestions by means of
misinterpretation of the words the other
person uses.
Situation that represents this sabotage approach:
Client: I have been working on the behavior contract
for several weeks and I dont see any results.
Counselor: You must not be discouraged.
Client: I am not discouraged. But, of course if no
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one sees progress.

DISCREDITING
Acceptance of the validity of another persons
statement may imply ones own intellectual and moral
inadequacy. Should the counselors statement be
fully accepted, the clients simplicity or stupidity is
thereby implied. The tactic of discrediting ensures
that the process of change does not proceed too fast
or too far. A position of no obligation is maintained by
using a verbal pattern of but-knocking. But knockers
acknowledge the premise and then proceed to attack
or deny its applicability to their situation.
Counselor: Here is an outline of a conflict resolution procedure
that has been used successfully in a number of companies.
Client: Very interesting. I can see how it would work with those
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large West Coast companies, but our company is9quite different.

DISPARAGING THE COMPETENCE OR


METHOD
The client must prove that the counselor is qualified
and unqualified, expert and inept, proficient and
unskilled, all at the same time. The dilemma is solved
by a simple trick: the counselors competence is
asserted explicitly but solidly denied by implication.
The clients conscience is saved.
Client: My uncle was telling me about a new stress
reduction technique. It seems to work for
him.there must be something.
Tactics of this kind permit the client to maintain the
illusion of cooperation while at the same time
disrupting or opposing the process. I f the counseling
process does not work, the method used or the
counselors incompetence was at fault, neither of
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which was the clients responsibility.

CHALLENGING ACCOUNTABILITY
A common rejection of pursuing further exploration is
the recourse to heredity. No one on any account can
be held responsible for a difficulty inherited from
ones ancestors.
( No one in our family does well in math.)
Accountability also can be directed toward other
sources such as unique temperaments and moods,
past traumatic experiences, and metaphysical or
religious experiences. By presenting a hopeless
situation, the client takes no responsibility. Labeling
is one way to support this type of thinking. What can
be expected from a dyslexic child or a mental
patient?
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MAKING EXCUSES
Another way of understanding, interpreting, and
working with resistance is to consider the concept of
excuses.
Snyder, Higgins, and Stucky (1983) defined excuses
as explainations or actions that lessen the negative
implications of an actors (client)
Making excuses for their actions or inactions may be
a way for clients to resist taking responsibility for their
behavior, for not responding to the demands of the
career counseling process and the tasks which may
be involved.
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LESSENING APPARENT
RESPONSIBILITY
Category of excuses can be described as the
I didnt do it category. This category
contains denial, alibis, and blaming
excuses.
Denial: occurs when a person states they
ahad nothing to do with what happened.
Alibis: when individuals use this excuse
they feign ignorance of something. They
imply that they couldnt have done
something because they didnt know about
it or they werent there.
Blaming: as one client put it: Its like
this. If its not my fault, its her fault, and if
its not her fault, its still not my fault
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REFRAMING PERFORMANCES
Individuals attempt to change the direction or to lessen
the intensity of what happened or didnt happen. This
is the Its really not so bad category.
Minimization: Thus excuse attempts to manipulate
the size, shape, and intensity of an event or behavior.
Something did occur, but it wasnt too bad.
Justification: Here the excuse maker supplies
reasons for the excuse. There is after all a rationale
for why I am saying what I am saying.
Derogation: One way to handle a difficult situation is
to put it down, to downgrade the person or situation.
The professor doesnt know as much about
(counseling) as I do.
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LESSENING TRANSFORMED
RESPONSIBILITY
This is the famous yes but category of excuses. An

admission is made of something in the first word


yes. Then it is taken away and explained in the
word but.
I couldnt help it. The most popular form of yes,
but is Yes, but I couldnt help it . There are outside
forces at work that made me do it.
I didnt mean to. This kind of excuse deverts
attention away from the act a person did. After all a
person is really a good person. It wasnt really me. I
wouldnt do such a thing. Blame is placed on internal
or external conditions.
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IIRATIONAL BELIEFS
Career myths, Lewis and Gilhousen (1981), According to this
authors, career myths are statements that reflect clients
thoughts about the career development process that are based
on underlying irrational beliefs. E.g.
I am not sure if I want to do this the rest of my life.
I want to be sure that I dont have to change majors at midyear
and lose me credits.
I think I had better be sure since I am deciding for the rest of
my life.
The irrational belief underlying such statements is, I must be
absolutely certain before I can act (make a decision, gather
information, do anything that require risk) (Lewis and
Gilhousen, 1981). Such thinking creates a PARADOX
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FAULTY INFORMATION PROCESSING


Another way to listen to and to understand clients
during career counseling is to focus on how they
think, on how they process information. Dowd (1995).

7 examples;
Arbitrary Inference: refer to process of
drawing a conclusion without data to support
that conclusion or even with data contrary to
that conclusion. e.g. a client may see himself
or herself as an occupational lose despite any
evidence for that belif, or despite even having
had success in past jobs.
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Cont.
Selective Abstraction: the individual selects
one or more details of a situation and
conceptualizes the whole from those few
details. These fragments are generally
consistant with the cognitive set characteristic
of that problem, so that an anxious person
will focus on elements of danger and a
depressed person, on elements of loss.
e.g. A client may see clearly occupational
deficiencies but not occupational successes.
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Cont.
Overgeneralization: Refer to the tendency
to draw conclusions about another person or
situation, which may be true, and then
generalizing these conclusions to situations
where they may not be true. This is specially
true of individuals suffering from panic
disorders and post-traumatic streee
disorders.
e.g. A client has been laid off from a job due to
lack of job skills, he may assume that he
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lacks skill for all future positions.

Cont.
Magnification & Minimization: Refer To the
tendency to either overestimate or
underestimate the significance of an event.
e. g. A client may believe that a lack of ability
in mathematics may be a little importance to
a desire to become an engineer (a
minimization), or conversely, that a grade D
in one chemistry course dooms the chances
for ultimate success as an engineer ( a
magnification)
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Cont.
Personalization: Refer to the tendency to
infer a relationship of external events to
oneself in the lack of any apparent
connection, and is highly implicated in
depression and in the paranoid personality
disorder or style.
e.g. A client may assume that a work rule is
directed at him or her personally, when, in
fact, it is aimed at solving a company
problem.
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Cont.
Dichotomous Thinking: This is a
characteristic of anxiety, depression, and a
host of personality disorders or styles and is
commonly referred to as all-or-nothing
thinking. The individual assumes;
e.g. that if events are not all good or safe,
they are all bad and unsafe. Thus, a client
may believe that if he or she does not
perform work tasks flawlessly, he or she has
failed the employer and himself or herself.
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Cont.
Catastrophizing: Especially implicated in
anxiety disorders, this refers to a tendency to
construct the worst possible situation from an
undesirable event.
e.g. A client may assume that lack of
success in landing a specific contract for the
company may mean that he or she will be
fired and eventually end up as a bag person
on streets.
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OVERT PHYSICAL BEHAVIOR


MEARA & Patton, (1994) Client resistance
can be manifested not only in what clients
say during career counseling but also in their
overt physical behavior as career counseling
unfold.
Some clients are silent and passive.
Some clients show up late for career
counseling sessions.
.
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Cont
Some clients do not show up for career
counseling at all.
Other clients terminate career
counseling prematurely because they
cant (wont) deal with important issues,
with change.
These are ways clients can escape from
the pain of change, or from anxious
situations
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Cont.
Such overt physical behavior on the
part of clients creates a real challenge
for counselors.
Some counselors personalize this
behavior and end up blaming
themselves. It must be something I am
doing as a counselor that causes this .

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Cont
Issues of counselor competence
may be involved in causing such
client behavior, a more likely
reason most of the time is client
resistance.
Various defense mechanisms,
including excuses, are used to
explain situation.
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DEALING WITH RESISTANCE


Resistance clients have their own unique,
idiosyncratic pattern for survival.
Understanding that resistance can and does
take place in career counseling,
Recognizing the patterns resistive clients use,
Knowing how to work with resistance within
the career counseling process are crucial,
No strategies are guaranteed to clear away
resistance, but the client-counselor working
alliance; joining metaphors, confrontation,
and labeling and reframing, may be helpful
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COUNSELOR RESISTANCE
Cavanagh (1982) lists 10 possible signs of
counselor resistance;
Cancel appointment or arrive late.
( Counselors always have good reasons for
being late, people in counseling seldom do.)
Talk at the person instead of listening to and
talking with the person.
Daydream and dose off.
Talk about himself or herself instead of about
the person in counseling.
Forget pertinent information about he person.
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Set up impossible requirements. 29

Cont.
Suddenly discover that the person has a
special problem and try to refer the person to
another counselor who specializes in the
problem.
Refuse to consider as important the areas
that the person perceives as important.
Be sarcastic or buddy-buddy with the
person.
Introduce areas of discussion that are of
interest to him or her but are not necessarily
helpful to the person.
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DEALING WITH PROBLEMATIC


CLIENTS
Some client, however, bring special
problems, & counselor is faced with the
challenge of how to help these client proceed.
Recognizing problem clients is relatively
easy; selecting and implementing effective
interventions is more of a challenge.
Kinds of Problem Client:
Have few or no interests.
Express unrealistic aspirations
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Have too many options

CLIENTS WITH TOO FEW INTERESTS


Most common problem career client.
Much to counselors dismay, has a low,
flat profile on an interest inventory ( i.e.,
low scores on all occupational areas).
In majority cases, clients with few
interests lacks information, either about
self, occupations, or world of work.it,
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Cont
Isaacson (1985) states it, Ignorance is
the cause of many problems .
Ignorance is not the only explaination
for few interests, however some
clients can be expected to have more
severe psychological problems, such as
a confused or disorganized sense of
identity.
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Cont
Sub-groups of clients who can be
expected to suffer from a lack of
information about careers:
Adolescents with little life experience,
Women with little or no paid work
experience outside the home,
Racial and ethnic minorities who have not
been involved in the culture of mainstream
America (e.g. Native Americans who have
grown up on a reservation; Chinese or
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black Americans who have grown34 up in a

Cont
Same sub-group may also lack of selfawareness, probably due to lack of
involvement in the kinds of activities that
stimulate self-reflection and feedback from
others, such as participation in social
activities or interaction with diverse group of
people.
These sub-group too involves a broad-based,
multistrategic approach aimed at engaging
the client in intensive self-exploration and
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providing direct experiences in work-related

Cont
Clients may be depressed. This possibility can be
evaluated by determining whether the client
expresses a similar lack of interest in other espects of
life. However, if the primary cause of depression is
work-related(e.g. the client was recently fired), then
career counseling is probably the treatment of choice.
Clients suffering from low self-esteem. They may
view themselves as having few if any abilities, and
though they may have some ideas about interests,
they are unable to seriously consider them or express
them to others because the related career options
seem beyond their reach. The recommended
treatment for these clients is reattribution training.
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Cont
Clients express few interests because of
perceived / real environmental constraints,
such as a limited opportunity structure for
their gender, class, racial, or ethnic group,
internalized restrictive opinions of signoficant
others, and so on.
TECHNIQUES:
Self-Exploration personality assessment
Identifying Likes, Dislikes and Interests.
Experience in Work-Related Activities
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UNREALISTIC OR SELF-LIMITING
ASPIRATIONS
Aspiration may be too high or too low, but in
any case, there is an ability/interest
discrepancy. Clients who judge their abilities
as very low may be unable or reluctant to
identify occupational interests. These clients
simply cannot imagine being able to perform
in any jobs.
A common situation is when clients can
identify some occupations of interest but
discard them too quickly as out of reach. This
problem is more often observed in women
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than in men and in lower rather than in higher

TECHNIQUES
Aim of any techniques is to provide ways for
clients to develop realistic estimates of their
abilities and opportunities, rather than to
actively persuade them in one direction or
another ( steering people away from
occupations that have been traditional for
their gender, class, or racial group).
Assessment of interests : It is important to
urge clients to identify as many alternatives
as possible for further exploration, no matter
how reluctant they are to do so
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Skills Identification Exercises:


To identify strenghts and abilities
To determine competencies or
abilities that are important in ones
work
To assess self-confidence and/or
self-esteem
To increase positive self-evaluation
for clients who doubt their abilities
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Cont
To help career changers examine
alternatives by focusing on skills
To formulate a career objective for
writing a resume
To serve as the first step in creating
a resume that uses a skills or
functional (versus chronological)
format.
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TECHNIQUES

Identifying Skills for General SelfAssessment


Identifying Transferable Skills - List
suggests helpful instructions for
counselor to present:
List of experiences
Describe experiences in some
details
.
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Cont
Identify skills used in each
experiences
Review skills identified for patterns
and priorities
Summarize skills or group of skills
that are most important and most
enjoyable and that are musts in
ones job or occupation
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Cont
Attribution theory is an effective approach to
help clients with low self-estimates of ability.
Theory posits that humans strive for a causal
understanding of their world in order to
maximize their control over it.
Internal Attributions
Variables Attributions
Luck
Stable Attributions
Task difficulty
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External Attributions
Effort
Ability
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LIMITATION OF SKILLS
IDENTIFICATION

Some clients have great difficulty


identifying skills and/ or taking
credit for their accomplishments.
Severe deficits in this regard will
necessitate counseling on issues
such as self-esteem or self efficacy
prior to completing skills exercises.
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Cont
Some clients will find skills identification
using the Achievements methods to
be tedious.
Younger clients with little life or work
experience will be unable to identify
which skills would be most to them in
their career.
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LEARNING TO IDENTIFY SKILLS

These techniques will help


counselors learn skills-identification
process:
Complete the skills identification
process on yourself,
using the method outlined.
Complete Bolles and Zenoffs
(1975) Quick Job-Hunting Map
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Cont
Interview practicing career counselors
and ask them about the methods they
use to help clients identify skills.
Make and complete a skills card sort on
yourself.
Ask several friends or family members
to complete Table & Interview them
about the benefits of the exercise.
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MULTIPOTENTIALED CLIENTS
Pask-McCartney and Salomone (1998)
subscibe to Fredericksons definition of
multi- potentialed client as one who
when provided with appropriate
environments, can select and develop
(a) number of competencies to a high
level (1972)
How does a counselor identify the truly
multipotentialed client?
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Cont
Counselors can observe whether a
client exhibits the following
characteristics during initial or early
interview: cognitive complexity and
flexibility; intense curiousity;
perfectionist tendencies; openness to a
wide variety of experiences; strong
interest in mastering problems; and
ability to assimilate a multitude50of
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environmental stimuli.

Cont

A flat but high-interest inventory


profile
Pask McCartney and Salomone
suggest that Hollands Vocational
Preference Inventory (VPI) can be
used to check for differentiated
scores on Hollands typology. High
scores and low
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Cont
differentiation(i.e. total scores on
most of the 6 types are high and
close in numbers) would provide
support for the hypothesis that the
client is multipotentialed.

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TECHNIQUES

There is a need to establish a


special kind of client-counselor
relationship; one characterized by a
highly facilitative, accepting
atmosphere.
Futures thinking should be
encouraged, whereby individuals
envision themselves taking several
paths, developing in different ways,
and working in different
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Cont
There is a need to balance fantasy
and reality and freedom and
structure, as described:
Stimulate a free spirit,
Promotion of freedom
Need structured, systematic way
of assessing and evaluating
options ( Pask-McCartney &
Salomone, 1988).
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The End
Thank you
Presented by:
Hjh. Fuziah bt. Hj. Abdul Rahman

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