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Roll With Resistance

"Roll with Resistance" is one of the key principles of motivational interviewing - an approach to helping people change habitual behaviour which is causing problems for them or others.

You may be familiar with a situation where someone who seems to be resistant to making changes denies that they have a problem or refuses to do anything about it.

Indeed if you think about it, you may be able to think of situations where you yourself have done the same. If you are feeling attacked or criticised, denying there is an issue even if you know there is, is one of the most natural defensive responses.

"Rolling with Resistance" is a key technique which recognises that simply attacking or confronting someone directly does not always work - it may drive people deeper into their shell or lead them to be highly defensive or confrontational themself.

What Does "Rolling with Resistance" Involve?

"Rolling with Resistance" involves a number of different possible approaches. They share some common features:

Sample Ideas for How to 'Roll with Resistance'

Ways of rolling with resistance that you could try are:

If they are in part aware themselves that what they are saying is exaggerated or unreasonable then simply hearing what they are saying relayed back to them without being attacked may of itself prompt them to comment on it or tone it down. Remember that they may be expecting you to criticise them, so a simple restatement of their views may disarm them and encourage them to acknowledge elememts of their views that are unreasonable.

Finally Remember.... If you try any of the above ideas and they don't immediately seem to work, you don't have to push them. Wait at least a day or two. Sometimes acting in this way may have helped the other person to become more aware of the issues or more inclined to change but in the heat of the moment they may not let you know that, so give them a chance to calm down and reflect on the interchange for a day or two, before you conclude that your approach hasn't helped. You may be surprised by their reaction if you wait a little...

 

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