Solutions for the “Treatment-Resistant” Addicted Client: Therapeutic Techniques for Engaging Challenging Clients. (2002). Roes, N., A. Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Press, 188 pp., $27.84, (Paperback), ISBN 978-0-789-01121-3

Review by: Amelia Corrigan, College of Business Administration- International Programs Office, Kent State University, [email protected]

When students face academic difficulty, academic advising professionals often reach out to these students in order to get them back on the track toward success. While many students just need a push in the right direction, other students seem unable or unwilling to take the necessary actions needed to progress toward graduation. While Roes’ (2002) book is addressed to counselors working with clients struggling with addiction, Solutions for the “Treatment-Resistant” Addicted Client: Therapeutic Techniques for Engaging Challenging Clients offers an underlying philosophy of more productive helping relationships as well as techniques for how to assist individuals who seem beyond help. By reviewing the common situations and attitudes displayed by three types of difficult clients – hopeless, “in denial” (quotation marks used in the original), and mandated --, Roes encouraged readers to not blame the lack of improvement on the client’s lack of “readiness’ (p. 2). Roes urged readers instead to cooperate with the client by respecting them and their own goals (p. 3), connecting with the NACADA Core Value of Respect (2017). Despite the different environment, advisors will see their most challenging students’ attitudes and behaviors mirrored in the explanations and case studies shared by Roes.

Roes’ greatest strength in this book is the extensive review of multiple techniques that can be used with challenging clients with scenarios within the chapters as well as through case studies. For example, in his discussion of “exploring exceptions” (p. 39-43), Roes included three separate lists of specific questions used within this technique. Advisors can review these questions and translate them for their own students who may be struggling with problems such as skipping class or forgetting assignments. Because Roes wrote outside of any particular counseling philosophy (p. 1), advisors can adapt these techniques within the context of their own advising philosophies. Roes explained in each chapter what the technique is, why it is used, and how it helps difficult clients move forward. Because of these thorough explanations, advisors without any counseling background can understand the benefits and pitfalls of using any particular technique and adjust or discard accordingly. Advisors can implement these techniques in order to improve their ability to “plan and conduct successful advising interactions” (NACADA, 2017). Roes’ book is less than 200 pages but efficiently communicates its main ideas without fluff so any advisor who works with students who need additional assistance, such as those on academic probation, will spend their time wisely by reading this text.

Despite the drawback of its assumption that the reader works within the counseling field, Roes’ detailed but concise explanations of the three main types of difficult individuals and how to help them add up to a resource that is worthwhile for academic advisors. While any advisor would benefit from this resource, I would recommend this book especially to any advisor assigned to help academically underprepared students in order to structure productive conversations and develop student-led plans for college success.


NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017). NACADA academic advising core competencies model. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreCompetencies.aspx.

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017). NACADA core values of academic advising. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreValues.aspx.

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