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Managing Offender Resistance to Counseling: The "3R's"

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 66 Issue: 3 Dated: December 2002 Pages: 43-49
William N. Elliott P.h.D
Timothy P. Cadigan
Date Published
December 2002
7 pages
This author describes the use of three techniques to overcome offenders' resistance to counseling interventions.
Offenders are often highly resistant to counseling interventions seeking to avoid the sometimes painful process of self-examination. Three techniques, redirection, reframing, and reversal of responsibility are described here in a plan to overcome this resistance to counseling by offenders. Confrontation is described as one model used that arouses defenses and activates resistance. Thus the author recommends the 3R's, methods that have been found to be effective in preventing offender behaviors that are intended to distract and derail the counselor. Redirection as it relates to the cognitive pattern of power orientation, such as zero-state and power thrust, is described, including underfocusing as essential to maintain focus. Reframing asks offenders to adopt a perspective different from their own, thus defusing a power struggle. Reversal of responsibility involves reflecting back to the offender his or her words or actions in a manner that the offender must assume personal responsibility for them. In conclusion, the success of the 3R's relies upon the counselor's recognition that he or she must not try to convince an offender to change his or her thinking or behavior but instead offer a mirror and the choice to look in it. References