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Mental Inflexibility Tip Sheet for Professionals

Mental inflexibility is the inability to respond to changes, such as thinking about multiple ideas at once or switching between thoughts.

What Mental Inflexibility Can Look Like

  • Challenges making decisions when faced with a new problem
  • Changing one's mind after a decision has been made
  • Learning new routines/processes, or understanding another's approach/perspective
  • May appear rigid, stubborn, or uncooperative


  • Suggest setting reminders of deadlines in calendars
  • Notify in advance of schedule/routine changes
  • Help prepare for transitions (for example, if the individual is being referred to a new provider, introduce them by providing a warm hand-off)
  • Draw attention to irrational conclusions or impulsive behaviors and give the individual opportunity to respond or behave differently
  • Teach social skills like assertive communication or active listening
  • Help individuals think about decisions from someone else's point of view (for example, role play different scenarios that could make the client late for an appointment)