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Question: How can you approach a client who is resistant to change?
Question: How can you approach a client who is resistant to change?

Question: How can you approach a client who is resistant to change?

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Question: How can you approach a client who is resistant to change?

Possible Answer:
Perhaps start by understanding the change, and the resistance. Work with the person to build rapport and trust and understand the meaning or implications of the change and the function and benefits of being resistant. From there you can explore perceptions values, beliefs and what will best serve the client in pursuit of their goals.

Thoughts:
The Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF) is an alternative to more traditional models for understanding mental distress, behavior, and different life experiences. Developed by psychologists in the UK, it focuses on how power imbalances and the threat of these imbalances can affect individual behaviors and experiences.

1. Power: PTMF examines how various forms of power (social, economic, personal, etc.) impact a person’s life experiences. It acknowledges that power imbalances can lead to distress or problematic behaviors.

2. Threat: This aspect looks at how individuals perceive and respond to threats, which could be physical, social, or existential. These threats can arise from one’s environment, relationships, or societal structures.

3. Meaning: The framework emphasizes understanding the meaning individuals ascribe to their experiences, including distress and resistance to change. It argues that people’s interpretations of their experiences are shaped by cultural, social, and personal narratives.

4. Response: PTMF suggests that behaviors often labeled as symptoms or disorders are understandable responses to the combination of power, threat, and the meanings attributed to these.

Applying the PTMF to resistance to change involves:

Understanding the Role of Power: Recognize how power dynamics (like in a workplace, family, or society) might be influencing the client’s resistance. This could be fear of losing status, control, or comfort.

Identifying Perceived Threats: Determine what threats the change poses to the client. This could be a threat to their identity, way of life, values, or security.

Exploring Meaning: Discuss what the change means to the client. How do they perceive it? What narratives or beliefs are they applying to the situation?

Building Rapport and Trust: Create a safe space for the client to express their fears and concerns. This involves active listening, empathy, and validation of their experiences.

Working on Perceptions, Values, and Beliefs: Help the client explore their own values, beliefs, and how these are affecting their perception of change. This can lead to a deeper understanding of their resistance.

Goal Alignment: Assist the client in aligning the change with their personal goals or values. This can make the change seem more acceptable or even desirable.

In practice, approaching a client who is resistant to change involves creating an understanding and supportive environment where the client feels heard and their experiences are validated. This approach allows for a more empathetic and client-centered intervention, focusing on the client’s strengths, resources, and the meaning they ascribe to their experiences.

Tim HJ Rogers
I help people, teams and organisations set and achieve goals.
Supporting the critical thinking and creating the resources and environment for success.

ICF Trained Coach
MBA Management Consultant
Prince2 Project Manager, Agile Scrum Master
AMPG Change Practitioner
Mediation Practitioner
BeTheBusiness Mentor
4 x GB Gold Medalist

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