Succeeding with Difficult Clients - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780127444703, 9780080518114

Succeeding with Difficult Clients

1st Edition

Applications of Cognitive Appraisal Therapy

Authors: Richard Wessler Sheenah Hankin Jonathan Stern
eBook ISBN: 9780080518114
Paperback ISBN: 9780127444703
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 17th July 2001
Page Count: 340
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Table of Contents

Part I: Cognitive Appraisal Theory What Makes Difficult Clients Difficult. Motivation and Attachment. Basic CAT Concepts: Persontypic Affect, Justifying Cognitions, and Security-seeking Behaviors. Patterns of Personality. The Difficult Client Revisited.

Part II: Cognitive Appraisal Therapy The CAT Assessment. Interventions Based on the CAT Model. Affect-based Interventions. Additional Interventions Involving Cognition, Behavior, Adjunctive Medication, and Therapeutic Impasses. The Process of CAT (Case Studies).

Part III: Applications of CAT CAT with Personality-disordered Clients. Working with Borderline Personality-disordered Clients. Couple Therapy. CAT Group Therapy. Working with "Difficult" Parents. References. Author Index. Subject Index.


"I know that I am doing therapy correctly and well, so why aren't some of my clients changing?" "Why do I feel anxious when I think about my next session with that difficult client?" When psychotherapy stalls, it's time to try new ideas. The authors' experience with difficult clients -- uncooperative, hostile, uncommitted to change -- gave them a new perspective on working with therapeutic impasses. Papers describing Cognitive Appraisal Therapy have appeared in many books and journals, and now for the first time these ideas are compiled into a single volume. Heavily influenced by the psychotherapy integration movement and in a radical departure from conventional cognitive-behavior therapy, they see motivation in terms of affect and attachment rather than cognitive schemas, and resistance and setbacks as the result of emotional setpoints. Practitioners from all corners of the psychotherapy landscape will be able to integrate Cognitive Appraisal Therapy into their therapeutic approaches to help them work successfully and confidently with difficult clients as individuals, as couples and in groups.

Key Features

  • Novel therapeutic strategies and formulations to use when all else is failing
  • Provocative conceptualizations of self, personality and psychopathology
  • A fresh approach to treating personality-related disorders
  • Numerous case illustrations, and excerpts from actual psychotherapy sessions and supervision sessions
  • Straightforward, common sense writing free of jargon and psychobabble


Clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and mental health counselors.


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© Academic Press 2001
Academic Press
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"Wessler, Hankin, and Stern are to be commended for their efforts in addressing the difficult topic of working with difficult clients... In sum, Succeeding with Difficult Clients provides a clear overview of the cognitive, affective, and interpersonal components of CAT designed as a guideline for treatment of personality-disoriented adults." --CONTEMPORARY PSYCHOLOGY

"The book is easy to read, comprehensible, and very useful in application... This book was very helpful in working with some of my own difficult clients who I found struck in their process of change and a few tips from the book allowed me to adjust my exploration questions, helping to lower resistance and causing the change." --DOODY PUBLICATIONS

Ratings and Reviews

About the Authors

Richard Wessler Author

Richard Wessler is in private practice at Cognitive Therapy Services in New York City, and emeritus professor of psychology and former chair of the department at Pace University in Westchester, New York.He has written extensively on Cognitive Appraisal Therapy, the approach he originated with Sheenah Hankin. They collaborate on personality profiles of celebrities, such as the one of Howard Stern that appears in his best selling book, Private Parts. He appears on radio and television, including CNN and the Fox News Channel, discussing relationships, parenting and popular culture. He is regularly quoted in newspapers, including The New York Times and San Francisco Examiner, and magazines, including Seventeen and Entrepreneur, on topics ranging from flirting to employee relationships.In addition, he has authored numerous articles and books on psychological therapy and counseling. He is an editorial board member of Psychotherapy (the official journal of Division 29 of the American Psychological Assocation) and Psicologia Conductual (published in Spain).

Affiliations and Expertise

Cognitive Psychotherapy Services, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Sheenah Hankin Author

Sheenah Hankin received her graduate degree in counseling from Aston University and her Ph.D. from International University. She practiced in Dublin, Ireland until 1981, when she moved to New York City. Together with her husband, Dr. Richard Wessler, she developed an approach for the treatment of personality disorders called Cognitive Appraisal Therapy.Sheenah practices on New York's Upper East Side and as reported in the New York Times Magazine, she is so much in demand that new clients must wait a year for an appointment. She is listed in Who's Who in America and most recently she authored the final chapter in Howard Stern's best-selling book, Private Parts.Sheenah is regularly quoted in magazines, especially Allure, Elle, Mademoiselle, Redbook and Newsweek. She has been a regular panelist on "Geraldo." Sheenah has been featured on "Good Morning America," "Leeza," "Sally Jesse Raphael," "Maury," "Animal Kingdom," MSNBC, and "Court TV." Sheenah also has a live weekly show on the Internet, On the Couch with Sheenah at

Affiliations and Expertise

Cognitive Psychotherapy Services, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Jonathan Stern Author

Jonathon Stern, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist in private practice with Cognitive Psychotherapy Services in Manhattan. In addition to working with adults, he specializes in psychotherapy with teenagers, children and their parents. He received his undergraduate degree in Psychology and Spanish from Haverford College, his doctorate in clinical psychology from The University of Connecticut, and completed an internship and an advanced internship in child forensic psychology at Children's Hospital in Boston.Dr. Stern previously was a Supervising Psychologist at New York's Beth Israel Medical Center Child Psychiatry Outpatient Department, where he also was Director of the Clinical Externship Program and a participating therapist in the Brief Psychotherapy Research Project. He has published articles and chapters on doing psychotherapy with difficult parents, has given numerous training workshops to professionals, most notably at The Society for the Exploration of Psychotherapy Integration, and has taught at Pace University, Marymount Manhattan College and The University of Connecticut.

Affiliations and Expertise

Cognitive Psychotherapy Services, New York, New York, U.S.A.