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Notice Your Internal Resistance

It’s a common, recurring roadblock in psychotherapy: to fail to notice your internal resistance. 

Mostly, the resistance is unconscious. Very much “under the surface.”

Internal resistance is essentially psychological. An inner device. And it can take the form of varied disguises, depending on the person.

Take Liza, for instance. She committed sexual infidelities with tens of men in the course of 12 years of her marriage.
When she was found out, her husband brought themselves to couple therapy sessions via Zoom. 

At first, Liza was cooperative. Then after two sessions, she procrastinated. Eventually … she ran away from whatever needs to be done to heal personally as well as maritally.

In Liza’s case, the internal resistance took the form of “flight.” She backed away from facing problems. Her peculiar way of avoiding difficulty.

For others, it’s “fight.” To refuse or resist whatever steps are necessary, albeit covert or even in the beginning, to heal and repair.

Internal resistance, as psychologist Dr. Carl Jung put it, “begets meaninglessness.” It opposes enthusiasm, focus, and purpose. 

It’s what makes one late with projects or commitments. It makes one fearful, anxious, or in a muddled state when doing something new or uncomfortable.

notice your internal resistance
Photo: Marsha Sinetar

Dr. Marsha Sinetar, a well known writer and spiritual psychologist, calls it the “ Big R” (big resistance).

She explains it this way in her bestselling book, “Do What You Love ….” :

“Awareness is energy. When we are under an unconscious habit (e.g. apathy, restlessness, procrastination), our awareness is caught up in either the slothful or the over-active, frenzied project. We do not notice our resistance. What is ‘real’ is the emotion or attitude pulling us away from focusing on what must be handled. When we become aware, we simultaneously liberate our attention from the distracting emotion or activity and become free to choose a different path.”

Friend, do you notice your internal resistance?


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Online psychotherapy