Experience and Respect Resistance, But Persist Towards Growth
This is the focus today, Experiencing and Respecting Resistance, yet Persisting towards Growth. Before working with resistance, trust needs to be firmly established(see prior blog post: https://backmountainmusictherapy.com/2020/07/trust-respect-resistance-but-persist-towards-growth-part-ii/ . Back Mountain Music Therapy invests time and effort into establishing trust, the foundation of the relationship. A display of momentary discomfort can be a step towards growth. One has to go through to move out of “momentary discomfort” to better health. This is often where we begin to witness resistance.
Some clients prefer safety and stability. Change needs to occur to stimulate growth. Change brings discomfort. Some prefer to remain in security, safeness, and sameness. BMMT initially invests in establishing a musical safety and trust, utilizing repetition, simplicity, and predictability. Musically, we need enough predictability to feel safe. Too much sameness drags us towards boredom. Musical differentiation, within predictability, needs to be implemented. This kind of differentiation is typically complementary to what pulls a client into the relationship. With musical differentiation, resistance may emerge.
Resistance is an opportunity. A giant opportunity towards growth. I often hear from parents or guardians “I think I am seeing regression.” Negative behavior DOES NOT equal regression. Often, into the therapeutic relationship, new behaviors, even “negative” ones, are a clue towards growth happening. “Negative behaviors” may be frustration. The client may be noticing the change and resisting or fearing the unknown.
Clients noticing the change are exhibiting growth. These clients are moving now, outside themselves. Clients may be attentive, listen, process, and understand. Inability to communicate with others breeds frustration. Frustration may then be displayed through behavior. Again, this processing is growth.
Compliance to the degree that a person denies their own needs is not healthy. Gently, continue the work. Work towards growth, towards independent self-regulation.
Some clients prefer sameness. Repeated, unmoving behavior is not growth. In starting therapy, dependability is important to establishing trust. Change needs to be introduced to advance growth. Client’s that interact, in a repetitive, manner are not growing. Utilizing music differentiation within a predictable context can help to move forward. This may take several repeated tries.
“Change is inevitable, growth is optional. Growth takes intention. ” Music can be entertaining. It can be relaxing, however, that it is not therapy. A trained therapist knows how to aid resistant behaviors, towards achieving growth. Compliant behavior can often be an obstacle to growth. Compliancy satisfies the recipient’s agenda but does not help the client grow. There are, unfortunately, entities that prefer and consider compliant behavior as the optimal evidence of health. This can confuse others in naming, defining, and working with these behaviors.
A client who is engaging in some power struggles with the therapist can be demonstrating signs of healthy growth. Attending and investing in something outside of the self is a forward movement. Engaging in is a forward movement. The client may be intentional in the interaction.
An anxious client who is beginning to move forward may exhibit power struggles to the fear. This is such an opportunity for yet healthier ways to engage and self regulate in a relationship. The growth process has begun, and the client needs to proceed forward and go through the process.
Numbing with meds or punishment is damaging. Resistant behavior may be the running start towards growth. Run with it, or walk through it. Don’t stop or eliminate it. The trees burning may be making a path for a new, healthier forest to emerge.
Next time, we talk about the growth path and process!
Antoinette Morrison MT-BC