Working with Resistance
"Working with Resistance" is about heartache, grieving, letting go and moving on - as the patient's resistances are worked through and her defences are overcome. It is, therefore, a book about hope that arises in the context of discovering that it is possible to survive the experience of heartbreak, sadder perhaps but certainly wiser and more realistic.
- Paperback | 336 pages
- 152.4 x 229.6 x 22.1mm | 462.67g
- 30 Jun 2002
- Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
- Northvale NJ, United States
Back cover copy
Resistant patients are patients who have not been able to confront the reality of past and present losses, disappointments, and frustrations, who instead protect themselves from the pain of their grief by clinging to their defenses. The resistant patient is a defended patient within whom there is conflict between those healthy forces that press "yes" and those unhealthy counterforces that insist "no". Such patients resist feeling what they know they should feel and doing what they know they should do. Working with Resistance integrates concepts drawn from classical psychoanalysis, self psychology, and object relations theory and presents a contemporary theory of therapeutic action that takes into consideration structural conflict, structural deficit, and relational conflict - all of which ultimately both fuel the patient's progress in the treatment and oppose the patient's movement toward health and the realization of his potential. As part of the work to be done, patient and therapist must be able to understand and name, in a profoundly respectful fashion, both sets of forces - those healthy ones that impel the patient in the direction of progress and those unhealthy resistive ones that impede such progress. Before the defenses can be relinquished and the resistances overcome, the patient must come to appreciate his investment in the defenses, how they serve him, and the price he pays for holding on to them. Martha Stark has always been interested in exploring the relationship between theory and practice - the ways in which theoretical constructs can be translated into the clinical situation. To that end, she proposes specific interventions for each step of the process by which thedefenses are worked through and the resistances are rendered less necessary. Conflict statements, for example, are empathic interventions that highlight the conflict within the patient between his knowledge of reality, informed by the present, and his experience of reality, informed by the past. It is the internal tension created through the patient's awareness of that discrepancy that will provide, ultimately, the impetus for change. Within the context of the safety provided by the relationship with his therapist, the patient will finally be able to feel the pain against which he has spent a lifetime defending himself. As he begins to confront the reality of the parental limitations, he begins to let go of the defenses around which the resistance has organized itself - he lets go of the past, lets go of the relentless pursuit of infantile gratification, and lets go of compulsive repetitions. Only as the patient grieves, doing now what he could not possibly do as a child, will he get better.
Dr. Martha Stark is a phenomenon. Her courses in postgraduate education are legendary. Now, with this volume, she distills her teachings into an accessible and lively dialogue that captures her inimitable style. -- Alfred Margulies Working with Resistance demonstrates how the therapist first identifies, then respectfully works with-rather than against-the inevitable resistances and conflicts which stand in the way of the patient's growth. Her writing style conveys the same clarity and steadiness so apparent in her clinical work. Simply, but not simplistically, she integrates the complexity of the contemporary classical, object-relations, and self-psychological perspectives with her rich clinical material. Every page of Working with Resistance is imbued with personal tact and her deep respect for the patient. Dr. Stark's crystal-clear thinking woven into the clinical material makes her writing a lucid gem. Her book is destined to become a new standard for our field; it is a literary tour de force. -- Axel Hoffer Martha Stark is a gifted teacher, able to clarify without sacrificing complexity. No one is better at conveying the essence of psychoanalytic theory, through careful explanation and practical examples. In Working with Resistance Stark forges a unified basis for psychotherapy, drawing on the strengths of the major schools of psychoanalysis. Beyond the rationale and method of our work, Stark captures its joy. -- Peter D. Kramer In order to explore a patient's resistance and refusal to grieve, Stark draws on concepts from classical psychoanalysis, object relations theory, and self- psychology. She presents a model of the mind that takes into consideration the relationship between unmourned losses and how such losses are internally recorded as both absence of good, and presence of bad. Book News, Inc.
About Martha Stark
Martha Stark, M.D., is on the faculty of both the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and the Massachusetts Institute for Psychoanalysis. She is also a clinical instructor in psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School, has a teaching appointment at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, and is on the faculty of the Center for Psychoanalytic Studies at the Massachusetts General Hospital.