VIDEO: Moving Forward When Treatment Seems to Make a Problem Worse

Chris Germer on shifting the focus from fixing a problem to embracing it with compassion

What someone resists persists.

It’s a paradoxical dynamic that you’ve probably seen in the course of your own clinical work. A hyper-focus on anxiety can lead to a panic attack or a single-minded approach to eliminating resentment unfolds into anger.

Now the mindfulness practice of moment-by-moment noticing is a great therapeutic tool for easing this dynamic because it allows clients to recognize and explore an issue without rushing to fix it. But sometimes holding a behavior in awareness does not open the door to healing.


According to Chris Germer—a pioneer of compassion-based psychotherapy—there’s often a tenacious underlying issue such as shame. And nothing is more effective at addressing these tough issues than self-compassion.

In this video, Chris explains how “fixing” approaches can backfire and then he shares an example from his own life of self-compassion’s ability to soften resistance and heal a deep, persistent issue.

I think you’ll find this video clinically helpful and personally inspiring…



Christopher Germer

Christopher K. Germer, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in private practice. He is a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School and a founding member of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He is a co-editor of the professionally acclaimed book Mindfulness and Psychotherapy and author of The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion: Freeing Yourself from Destructive Thoughts and Emotions.