‘The Relationship is the Therapy.’ - Acorn Therapy - counselling and complementary therapies
counsellor attitudes in conjunction with certain factors primarily linked to the client .. When situated within a person-centred therapeutic relationship, empathy is. The person-centred approach emphasises the importance of the therapeutic relationship between counsellor and client and the active use of that relationship to. In this paper, I will examine the therapeutic relationship in order to define it and The Person- Centred approach of Carl Rogers maintains that the quality of the.
Carl Rogers proposed that therapy could be simpler, warmer and more optimistic than that carried out by behavioral or psychodynamic psychologists. His view differs sharply from the psychodynamic and behavioral approaches in that he suggested that clients would be better helped if they were encouraged to focus on their current subjective understanding rather than on some unconscious motive or someone else's interpretation of the situation.
Rogers strongly believed that in order for a client's condition to improve therapists should be warm, genuine and understanding. The starting point of the Rogerian approach to counseling and psychotherapy is best stated by Rogers himself: Rogers rejected the deterministic nature of both psychoanalysis and behaviorism and maintained that we behave as we do because of the way we perceive our situation.
He placed emphasis on the person's current perception and how we live in the here-and-now. Rogers noticed that people tend to describe their current experiences by referring to themselves in some way, for example, "I don't understand what's happening" or "I feel different to how I used to feel".
Central to Rogers' theory is the notion of self or self-concept. This is defined as "the organized, consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about oneself". It consists of all the ideas and values that characterize 'I' and 'me' and includes perception and valuing of 'what I am' and 'what I can do'. Consequently, the self concept is a central component of our total experience and influences both our perception of the world and perception of oneself.
For instance, a woman who perceives herself as strong may well behave with confidence and come to see her actions as actions performed by someone who is confident. The self-concept does not necessarily always fit with reality, though, and the way we see ourselves may differ greatly from how others see us. For example, a person might be very interesting to others and yet consider himself to be boring.
He judges and evaluates this image he has of himself as a bore and this valuing will be reflected in his self-esteem.
Person Centered Approach Note: Person centered therapy is also called client centered therapy. One major difference between humanistic counselors and other therapists is that they refer to those in therapy as 'clients', not 'patients'.
This is because they see the therapist and client as equal partners rather than as an expert treating a patient. Unlike other therapies the client is responsible for improving his or her life, not the therapist. This is a deliberate change from both psychoanalysis and behavioral therapies where the patient is diagnosed and treated by a doctor.
Instead, the client consciously and rationally decides for themselves what is wrong and what should be done about it. The therapist is more of a friend or counselor who listens and encourages on an equal level.
The Person Centered Approach to Counselling
One reason why Rogers rejected interpretation was that he believed that, although symptoms did arise from past experience, it was more useful for the client to focus on the present and future than on the past. Rather than just liberating clients from their past, as psychodynamic therapists aim to do, Rogerians hope to help their clients to achieve personal growth and eventually to self-actualize.
There is an almost total absence of techniques in Rogerian psychotherapy due to the unique character of each counseling relationship. Of utmost importance, however, is the quality of the relationship between client and therapist. In Corey's view 'a preoccupation with using techniques is seen [from the Rogerian standpoint] as depersonalizing the relationship'.
The Rogerian client-centered approach puts emphasis on the person coming to form an appropriate understanding of their world and themselves. A person enters person centered therapy in a state of incongruence.
SAGE Books - The Relationship in Person-Centred Counselling
It is the role of the therapists to reverse this situation. Core Conditions Client-centered therapy operates according to three basic principles that reflect the attitude of the therapist to the client: The therapist is congruent with the client.
- The Person Centered Approach to Counselling
The therapist provides the client with unconditional positive regard. The therapist shows empathetic understanding to the client. Congruence in Counseling Congruence is also called genuineness.
Congruence is the most important attribute in counseling, according to Rogers. This means that, unlike the psychodynamic therapist who generally maintains a 'blank screen' and reveals little of their own personality in therapy, the Rogerian is keen to allow the client to experience them as they really are.
In short, the therapist is authentic. Unconditional Positive Regard The next Rogerian core condition is unconditional positive regard. Rogers believed that for people to grow and fulfill their potential it is important that they are valued as themselves. This refers to the therapist's deep and genuine caring for the client.
The therapist may not approve of some of the client's actions, but the therapist does approve of the client. The relationship is truly the therapy here for through the nondefensive support and encouragement of the therapist to help the client re-experience his old feelings and expectations, he provides the client with a unique experience, whereby he becomes aware of his feelings about the therapist while understanding how those old attitudes determine his interpretation of the events of therapy.
For the client to experience in the therapist a genuine, interested, nondefensive attitude provides him with a situation he has never experienced before and leads to a therapeutic relationship.
Heinz Kohut was even more responsible for bridging the gap between psychoanalysis and humanism than Gill. He, too, believed in the importance of the relationship between therapist and client and in the centrality of the transference but he went even further with a new understanding and appreciation of the value of empathy communicated to the client.
Kohut believed that every child, or developing self, had three important needs that had to be met in order for the self to develop fully. Kohut felt that one of the benefits of the therapeutic relationship was for the therapist to provide the mirror for the client. This was to be done with empathy and understanding, showing the client that his difficulties and way of being were both understandable and understood. Such a freely empathizing therapist gives the client a sense of being listened to, being deeply understood, and being accepted while providing an opportunity to learn the ancient roots of their difficulties and building new self structures to compensate for the old deficits Kahn, The above therapists and their theories all point to the premise that it is the relationship that is the most beneficial aspect of the therapy.
Awareness of the subtleties and changes in the relationship provides the therapist with perhaps his most therapeutic tool of all. However, there are some who would disagree with the full importance of the working alliance. Practitioners using cognitive and behavioural approaches tend to see the therapeutic alliance as simply a means to an end. They feel that it is wrong to overstress the relationship since it obscures the ultimate goal of helping a client manage a problem better.
They do accept that such a goal cannot be achieved if the relationship is poor, but feel that an over-emphasized relationship can be a distraction from the real work to be done Egan, Albert Ellis proposes that recently there has been a one-sided emphasis on relationship as the crucial element in therapy.
Person Centered Therapy
He states that while a good therapeutic relationship is usually important to help people feel better, good theory and technique are actually more important to help them get better. However, Barbara Berzon listed eight features of helping which reflect the characteristics of helping most valued by those who have been helped. The basic features of effective helping relationships can be summarized as follows; when there is increased awareness and self understanding on the part of the client, in particular, about the ways others see them; when they realize how similar they are to others, contradicting their original reason perhaps for seeking therapy, that is, feeling out of touch with others; the extent to which the client feels understood, accepted and reacted to genuinely by the therapist; being made aware how others perceive them; being encouraged to self-disclose, to be assertive and to be immediate in their reactions; feeling a sense of open communication even when the counsellor is being confrontative; when the client senses the warmth and genuineness of the counsellor being himself and not simply functioning in the role of a helper; when the client feels he can divulge his inner thoughts and feelings in a safe and neutral environment.
These eight characteristics of a counselling relationship that clients believe have benefited them therapeutically all have their source in the working alliance and stem from the high level of energy and commitment that the therapist brings to the relationship. Although I have yet to work with clients, I do find I can agree with the above list simply from my own experience as a client in a counselling situation. In particular, the warmth and openness of communication that my counsellor has brought to our relationship has encouraged me in an area of great difficulty — that of self-disclosure and owning my feelings.
In conclusion, however, we can say that the relationship is the therapy since the therapist provides the client with a secure base from which to explore himself and his relationships.
The client needs to see the manner in which he is perceiving and using the therapeutic relationship which helps him understand how he handles himself in relationships with others. Such understandings encourage the client to cognitively link past relationship experiences with current behaviours and emotions while realizing how his current perceptions of interaction with others can influence the conduct of present close relationships.
This in turn can help him build new mental models so that he can come to handle himself more competently within relationships. According to Henry and Strupp Controversies in Psychotherapy and Counselling.
Between Therapist and Client. An Introduction to Counselling. This email address is being protected from spambots.