The concept of resistance seems to be popping up a lot lately. It is as though there is a “resistance rollercoaster” that seems fun to ride over and over until it starts to dawn that it’s not that fun anymore or even a touch nauseating at times. Playing with and exploring the word ‘resistance’ and the associations with the term or meaning of the term has become a fun game.

A search for the definition of ‘resistance’ yielded the following: a) “the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.” For example: “she put up no resistance to being led away”; and b) “the ability not to be affected by something, especially adversely.” For example “some of us have a lower resistance to cold than others”. The first definition sounds super negative, like an active barrier to serenity erected by means of a refusal or non-compliance. The second definition sounds totally positive like being buffered from adversity or a type of veritable unflappability. This makes the two definitions of resistance somehow “resistant” to each other!

Associations with resistance are numerous. In psychotherapy, particularly using “motivational interviewing” skills, we are taught to “roll with resistance”. In psychoanalysis we are told to explore the resistance. In pop psychology the slogan “what one resists, persists.” And finally, in physics we think of resistors as: “A resistor is an electrical component that limits or regulates the flow of electrical current in an electronic circuit. Resistors can also be used to provide a specific voltage for an active device such as a transistor.”

Now, it’s time to lay resistance to bed and get some sleep.

Published by Dr. Rick Barnett

Licensed Clinical Psychologist-Doctorate, Addiction/Recovery Specialist, among other things...

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