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Case Reports
. 2004;33(4):161-75.
doi: 10.1080/16506070410026426.

Managing Resistance in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: The Application of Motivational Interviewing in Mixed Anxiety and Depression

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Managing Resistance in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: The Application of Motivational Interviewing in Mixed Anxiety and Depression

Henny A Westra. Cogn Behav Ther. .

Abstract

While cognitive behavioural therapy is highly effective in the treatment of anxiety and depression, a substantive number of individuals either refuse treatment, fail to respond to treatment or respond only partially. Arguably, ambivalence about change or about engaging in treatment tasks may in part be related to incomplete recovery rates in cognitive behavioural therapy. Motivational interviewing is a client-centred, directive treatment originally developed in the addictions domain whose goal is to enhance motivation for change by understanding and resolving ambivalence. This method has consistently received support for enhancing outcomes in the addictions domain, particularly when used as an adjunct to further treatment. As yet, motivational methods have not been generalized to the treatment of prevalent mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. The present paper presents the application of a treatment targeting motivation (motivational interviewing adapted for anxiety and depression) to the management of resistance in cognitive behavioural therapy for 3 clients with mixed anxiety and depression. Motivational interviewing is conceived as an adjunct to highly effective traditional cognitive behavioural therapy methods, which is indicated for use with clients resistant to and significantly ambivalent about change-based techniques for managing anxiety or alleviating depression.

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