ABSTRACT

Working with high-risk adolescents can be an extremely rewarding line of work. However, working with this population is not always fun or easy. Do not underestimate that this can be a challenging and, at times, frustrating population to work with. Your definition of “successful therapy” may need to change when working with this population, given the resistance that may arise toward treatment. Therefore, an important aspect of successful clinical work with high-risk adolescents is the skillful navigation of client resistance as it arises. Moreover, because resistance is prompted by stimulus from the therapeutic context (i.e., being mandated to therapy, something a therapist says, an intervention a therapist attempts to employ), it should be viewed as a phenomenon that arises from the therapy relationship. For this reason I define resistance within the bounds of the therapeutic relationship and propose that its skillful use has much to do with the mindfulness of the therapist.