Rethinking confrontation

confronted by alice chaos

A repost from 4 years ago:

I posted on this when it came out, but Bill White and Bill Miller recently published an article on confrontation that was just made available on the Counselor Magazine website. It makes a terrific point on confrontation as a therapeutic goal in contrast to confrontation as a therapeutic style:

In its etymology, the word “confront” literally means “to come face to face.” In this sense, confronting is a therapeutic goal rather than a counseling style: to help clients come face to face with their present situation; reflect on it; and decide what to do about it. Once confronting is understood as a goal, then the question becomes how best to achieve it. Getting in a person’s face is rarely the best way to help them open up to new perspectives. There is, as Hazelden observed in its 1985 recanting of aggressive confrontation, “a better way.” People are most able and likely to re-evaluate reality within safe, empathic, supportive and nonjudgmental interpersonal relationships that do not necessitate defensiveness.

One unrelated thought…what is up with the photos that Counselor chooses? Is it just me, or do they make addicts look like dangerous, crazy and volatile psychopaths?

3 thoughts on “Rethinking confrontation

  1. I was wondering if you have another link to the article – the included one goes to a blank page on the Counselor site. Thanks!


  2. Thank you! My co-workers and I were just talking about the benefit and nature of having difficult conversations with clients. Looking forward to reading through this paper.



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