Person Centered Relationship And Counseling Psychology Essay

The Person Centred relationship with a customer is a unique one. The counsellor does not have different strategies, techniques or goals with which to support your client. She/He has only herself/himself to utilize. The approach therefore will not 'hide' behind a 'professional facade'; It generally does not require the counsellor to be the 'expert' and become there to guide or direct the client in the way they should resolve their unique difficulties. When the counsellor is the 'expert' then your client by definition is then less equal than the counsellor.

The Person Centred approach, on the other hand, requires the counsellor to be fully present within the relationship as someone who never wishes to hold more power than your client. Therefore, the partnership is an equal one where the counsellor strives always to foster and nurture the clients sense of personal power. This, hopefully, increasing sense of personal power over the clients own life is the sole 'goal' that your person centred counsellor has.

It must be also said that your client gets the absolute right (and in a way this is also personal power) to choose whether they desire to move towards this attainment of self power. The individual centred counsellor trusts your client to learn when and how (or not) to embrace personal power. He/She accepts it is the client who is finally the 'expert' over their own lives.

Person centred counselling supplies the client with the possibility to have a deep and meaningful relationship based on genuine warmth, regard and acceptance. Through such a relationship your client can gradually begin to explore difficult facets of their experience which can be challenging to their self-concept.

This has been an extremely brief focus on person centred counselling and because of its brevity, cannot hope to adequately convey the deep humanity and compassion the treat it engenders; both in relation to client and counsellor.

Some of the central tenets of the new kind of therapy were first outlined in 1942 (Rogers, 1942). As is clear from the name, the most important aspect of person-centred counselling is that the client is actually at the centre of the process, unlike various other varieties of counselling where technique is more pronounced. The approach has previously been called 'non-directive' which really helps to emphasise that the counsellor is not providing advice, but instead the forum within that your client can explore themselves. Rogers encouraged his fellow therapists to concentrate on the present as opposed to the past, and a closer concentrate on feelings. Rogers began calling what had been the 'patient' the 'client' to emphasise the actual fact that the person being treated had to take responsibility for themselves rather than learning to be a dependent who needed to be treated.

Dryden & Mytton (1999) describes three stages in the historical development of person-centred counselling. The first stage emphasised providing the right atmosphere where the client could release their emotions. Further, it emphasised the importance of understanding and acceptance on the part of the therapist. In the next stage Rogers concentrated on the attitude of the therapist. Here, he emphasised the theory that the therapist should believe the client has the means of change within them and this shouldn't be imposed from the outside. The therapist's role was to enter the client's world and be empathetic and provide support. The third stage was developed by way of a troublesome therapeutic relationship Rogers had with a customer. Your client became overly reliant on him and later, having referred the patient to a psychiatrist, found out deep, unresolved issues within himself. Because of this experience, Rogers emphasised the importance of the therapist's own feelings. It is only through a genuine acceptance of the therapist's feelings towards the client that the therapy can proceed effectively. Rogers later called this idea 'congruence' between therapist and client and it represents a genuineness of emotion.

These historical developments in person-centred counselling are located in their present theoretical arrangement by Dryden & Mytton (1999). Person-centred counselling is a humanistic approach, focussing on today's moment rather than the past. It really is fundamentally based on the idea that each living thing has a self-actualising tendency. This is the drive to survive in even the most challenging circumstances. This, Rogers saw, manifested itself throughout the natural world, and humans are no exception. Rogers explains that this tendency 'maintains and enhances', working towards, but never eventually achieving, our full potential. Life, for Rogers, is approximately steady progress towards self-actualisation.

Also fundamental to the person-centred approach is the theory that people all perceive reality in various ways. Quite simply, the globe doesn't look the same to each folks. This is simply because we all have different experiences, which in turn affects our behaviour in various ways. We each filter our senses differently according to our encounters and our way of getting together with the planet.

Important in the development of person-centred counselling is the idea of self which is closely related to the self-actualising tendency discussed above. Inside the development of self, Rogers will not argue that we now have any stages but instead that aspects of personality and self arise by having a combo of innate preferences getting together with environment. A child has a basic have to be seen positively - a dependence on positive regard. Inconsistencies arise when there's a conflict between the inner self and the self-concept. This may arise as others' regard for the growing child and its behaviour is not necessarily congruent using its own inner self. The child can resolve this inconsistency through introjection. This implies taking the beliefs and values of others and internalising them in order that they become the child's beliefs and values. A mentally healthy person, therefore, manages to balance these conflicts and accept themselves as well as others unconditionally.

Unfortunately most of us are not so completely balanced and well-developed and problems do occur in this balancing process. One imbalance which Rogers often saw was that the necessity for positive self-regard was often so strong that it outweighed what he called 'organismic needs'. It is these organismic needs that automatically reveal what is best for us so that people can obtain the things that we need. This means that if there is a serious conflict then we will have a tendency to distort or deny what is actually happening to us. Dryden & Mytton (1999) quote the example distributed by Rogers (1951) of an adolescent boy raised by over-controlling parents. While he loves his parents, he is also extremely resentful of the control they exert over him. To solve this conflict the boy may disown the anger, or misattribute it to another cause. While this is effective in removing the immediate discomfort, it serves to keep up psychological inner conflict.

The process where counselling occurs is very important in the person-centred approach. There must be no suggestion that the therapist is taking the upper hand and, in any way has privileged information about the client. Rogers (1961) found when the necessary conditions were set up, the change that was required in your client happened automatically.

Empirical investigations into outcomes have been limited within person-centred counselling as those mixed up in approach aren't generally predisposed to scientific evaluation. The notable exception is the fact research carried out by Rogers himself in the development of his therapeutic process.

One of the major advantages of the person-centred approach that is backed up in the research literature is its concentration on the therapeutic relationship. Research, for example, that has viewed the normal versus specific factors that are important in outcomes for psychotherapeutic interventions has discovered that client-therapist relationship is extremely important. Strupp (1996) has estimated from research that 85% of the results variability from different kinds of psychotherapies can be explained by common factors. These common factors are largely the same ones espoused by Rogers (1951).

Practical criticisms of the person-centred approach have tended to focus on the fact that it doesn't provide particular approaches for particular needs. Person-centred counselling is known as to be good for more low-level or basic problems, but is perhaps not fitted to more serious mental disturbances. For instance, it is not as likely that those suffering from severe psychosis can benefit from this kind of counselling. Its fundamental assumption is a person entering counselling must be motivated to change. It really is questionable whether this would be the case for the greater seriously disturbed client. The other line of criticism is more centred on its philosophy. Due to the vague nature of its central tenets it's very difficult to test, and some critics have argued that its central ideas of self-actualisation are impossibly optimistic views of human nature.

Gestalt therapy is dependant on some of the principles of Gestalt psychology, which includes at its core the idea that something, like, for example, the human mind, should be considered all together rather than broken down into its component parts. Like person-centred counselling, gestalt remedy is also a humanistic approach. It is also similar in that its genesis is at the reaction resistant to the authoritarian version of psychotherapy that had been created by Freud. It aims to place the client and therapist on similar footing and specializes in the client's view of the world, particularly their view as it is at that very moment.

The two names most associated with gestalt therapy are Fritz and Laura Perls. Fall, Holden & Marquis (2004) make clear that the self, in gestalt therapy, sometimes appears as relational, the person does not exist outside their relationships with other people. Gestalt remedy is often associated with practical experiments, such as the empty chair technique in which the client is asked to truly have a conversation with a person imagined to maintain an empty chair. While gestalt has many things in common with person-centred counselling, it concentrates more on the experiential aspect - so that experiments may form a part of the counselling process. It is also a lot more active in nature than person-centred counselling and in this sense can offer a good adjunct to a person-centred approach, especially since many of its basic tenets are similar.

Transactional analysis was developed by Eric Berne and specializes in analysing the dysfunctional social interactions that individuals have with one another, characterising these as 'games' (Berne, 2001). Berne took Freud's ideas of the ego, superego and id and turned it into a tripartite structure with adult, parent and child, theorising that in our everyday life we move from one 'ego-state' to another. This theory, like both mentioned previously has, at its base, the theory that we have a number of needs which may have to be satisfied. One is considered happy or well-adjusted if indeed they can fulfill these needs without interference with other people's needs. Change is addressed in transactional analysis by making a contract between your client and therapist - like the other therapies discussed motivation for change is seen to be centred within the client, and the client is seen to understand what is best for them. Transactional analysis in counselling is usually focussed more tightly on solving particular problems and, in this, can be contrasted from person-centred counselling which will not give attention to problems. Ideas and techniques from transactional analysis, however, do lend themselves to incorporation in an integrative approach.

All of the therapeutic techniques require a thorough knowledge of the theory and practice before they could be used. In virtually any type of remedy there are usually powerful thoughts at work and these have to be dealt with in the right way to help your client grow. But, like any situation, it is merely through some type of engagement with these issues and the associated dangers, that progress can be produced.

There are many different qualities that must be explored during self-counselling, in order for it to provide an effective approach to increasing self-awareness and self-development.

Without being able to access these important elements of self-exploration, self-counselling becomes more difficult and may not give a beneficial option to one-to-one counselling with a trained therapist or counsellor.

What is Person-Centred Self-Counselling?

Being person-centred should not be confused with being self-centred. If someone is self-centred these are obsessed and engrossed with themselves and their own affairs. For being person-centred however, means an individual knows their own worth and their personal limitations.

Person-centred self-counselling allows the individual to look at each one of the essential qualities separately, also to identify specific areas that require more understanding and acceptance. Person-centred self-counselling also emphasises a person's personal strengths, and their ability to direct the course of counselling.

Essential Qualities

There are lots of key qualities that form the core of person-centred counselling. These include: self-acceptance, self-empathy, self-judgment, self-regard and self-genuineness. In order for self-counselling to be effective all of these qualities must be combined and explored by the average person who is embarking on a span of extended personal awareness.

Self-acceptance allows the acceptance of all of the parts of an individual's personality and behaviour, and provides a better knowledge of the things that most have to be changed. Having a higher self-regard will also encourage self-expression of feelings and issues. An unconditional self-regard permits an individual to identify positive opportunities more readily, and works in tandem with the other essential qualities.

Effective Techniques

Free association - where an individual expresses random thoughts, words and imagery - and visualisation work skills that are being used successfully during self-centred counselling. Being open to exploring inner feelings and feelings will open up person-centred counselling so that excellent results are more accessible.

Being able to relate to yourself, by exploring feelings through visualisation, may in the beginning feel difficult, but with repetition this system increases self-awareness and self-development considerably.

Maintaining an open, self dialogue - by listening to your psyche - is also a beneficial part of self-counselling, and can offer an chance to explore emotions and feelings further.

Re-enforcing Intentions

Being genuine towards yourself will permit someone to reflect and revise the progress you are making. Checking progress, at regular intervals, will also help you identify areas that you may not feel as comfortable with, and will enable you to debate intentions and goals, which will create a far more positive feeling towards continuing with person-centred techniques and ideas. Being able to observe how much progress you are making will also encourage one to explore other ways of using the main element techniques that work right for you.

Taking time to re-enforce intention provides clarity and insight, which you may well be lacking through the process of self-counselling, but which would be easily available in a one-to-one counselling relationship with a tuned counsellor. The possibility to re-evaluate your targets and aims will also allow you to focus on your personal limitations, and to stretch yourself even further.

This method of supportive therapy was developed by Carl Rogers, in the 1940s. He pioneered this non-directive approach to counselling, which focuses on the 'here and now' principle, and encourages counselling clients to explore and create positive change for themselves.

Person centred counselling focuses on the personal relationship between a counsellor and his/her client. The development of trust and understanding within this counsellor/client relationship encourages self-realisation, and permits the client to acknowledge the issues and issues they can be disclosing, also to think up solutions, with gentle encouragement and guidance from the counsellor.

Express Yourself

Working with clients in a person centred way allows the client to explore their thoughts, feelings and feelings in a confidential environment. It offers him/her the chance to express concerns and problems also to achieve clarity of thought.

Person centred counselling is a non-directive method of providing therapeutic support, and allows your client to utilise free-association and free-thinking during disclosure. It is predicated on the humanistic philosophy that every individual has the capacity to create a more positive, and satisfying, way of living. By actively listening and mirroring, during the one-to-one counselling session, the counsellor supplies the client with sufficient positive feedback to encourage him/her to further explore their difficulties.

Having exposed feelings and emotions your client is then more able to think the issues through, until clarity is achieved. This allows the client to comprehend the meaning behind their feelings and emotions, also to decide what positive steps, towards change, to adopt next. It also increases self-awareness and will be offering personal insights.

Understanding the Approach

Although counselling in a person centred manner doesn't have the maximum amount of structure, as various other ways of providing counselling support, it is an efficient way of encouraging personal growth and understanding in a client. It is a non-judgmental, non-directive approach to assisting the client to find personal solutions, and avoids analysis.

The benefits a customer receives, from a counsellor during person centred therapy, include unconditional positive regard, empathy and genuineness. Many of these things combined generate a positive, firm foundation for a trusting counselling relationship between the counsellor and his/her client.

Therapy Goals

The definitive goal of any form of counselling therapy is to release your client from any emotional distress, mental confusion and/or limiting beliefs. Person centred counselling arms the client with the possibility to are more self-aware, plus more in charge of creating the sort of positive changes they would like to see in their life.

A counsellor's positive attitude is important in facilitating a progressive counselling relationship, and it is their job to encourage, challenge and support the client at all times. Demonstrating empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard, throughout the one-to-one counselling relationship with a client, will provide the client with understanding, clarity and support, in order to make steady progress to self-realisation.

Advantages of Person Centred Counselling

This type of therapy specializes in the here and now, and encourages your client to think in present time.

It recognises and values the client.

It encourages self-expression, self-awareness, self-development and a greater knowledge of self.

The person-centred approach views the client as their own best authority on their own experience, and it views your client as being fully with the capacity of fulfilling their own prospect of growth. It recognizes, however, that reaching potential requires favourable conditions which under adverse conditions, individuals may well not grow and develop in the ways that they otherwise could. In particular, when folks are denied acceptance and positive regard from others -- or when that positive regard is manufactured conditional upon the individual behaving specifically ways -- they could begin to reduce touch with what their own experience means for them, and their innate tendency to grow in a direction steady with this meaning may be stifled.

One reason this might occur is that individuals often deal with the conditional acceptance wanted to them by others by gradually coming to include these conditions into their own views about themselves. They may form a self-concept which include views of themselves like, "I am the type of person who must never be late", or "I am the sort of person who always respects others", or "I am the type of one who always keeps the home clean". Because of a fundamental dependence on positive regard from others, it is much easier to 'be' this sort of person -- and to receive positive regard from others therefore -- than it is to 'be' other things and risk losing that positive regard. As time passes, their intrinsic sense of their own identity and their own evaluations of experience and attributions of value may be replaced by creations partly or even entirely because of the pressures felt from other folks. That is, the average person displaces personal judgements and meanings with those of others.

Psychological disturbance occurs when the individual's 'self-concept' starts to clash with immediate personal experience -- i. e. , when the evidence of the individual's own senses or the individual's own judgement clashes with what the self-concept says 'ought' to be the case. Unfortunately, disturbance is likely to continue as long as the individual depends on the conditionally positive judgements of others for his or her sense of self-worth and so long as the individual uses self-concept designed partly to earn those positive judgements. Experiences which challenge the self-concept are likely to be distorted or even denied altogether to be able to preserve it.

Therapeutic Approach of Person-Centred Counselling

The person-centred approach maintains that three core conditions provide a climate conducive to growth and therapeutic change. They contrast starkly with those conditions believed to be in charge of psychological disturbance. The core conditions are

Unconditional positive regard

Empathic understanding


The first -- unconditional positive regard -- means that the counsellor accepts the client unconditionally and non-judgementally. Your client is absolve to explore all thoughts and feelings, positive or negative, without threat of rejection or condemnation. Crucially, the client is absolve to explore also to express without having to do anything in particular or meet any particular standards of behaviour to 'earn' positive regard from the counsellor. The next -- empathic understanding -- means that the counsellor accurately understands the client's thoughts, feelings, and meanings from the client's own perspective. Once the counsellor perceives the actual world is similar to from the client's viewpoint, it demonstrates not just that that view has value, but also that the client is being accepted. The third -- congruence -- means that the counsellor is traditional and genuine. The counsellor will not present an aloof professional facade, but is present and transparent to the client. There is absolutely no air of authority or hidden knowledge, and the client does not have to speculate in what the counsellor is 'really like'.

Together, these three core conditions are thought to enable the client to build up and grow in their own way -- to strengthen and expand their own identity and become the person that they 'really' are independently of the pressures of others to do something or think specifically ways.

As a result, person-centred theory takes these core conditions as both necessary and sufficient for therapeutic movement that occurs -- i. e. , that if these core conditions are given, then the client will experience therapeutic change. (Indeed, the achievement of identifying and articulating these core conditions and launching a significant programme of scientific research to test hypotheses about them was one of the greatest contributions of Carl Rogers, the American psychologist who first commenced formulating the person-centred approach in the 1930s and 1940s. ) Notably, person-centred theory suggests that you can find nothing essentially unique about the counselling relationship and that in fact healthy relationships with significant others may well manifest the core conditions and so be therapeutic, although normally in a transitory sort of way, rather than consistently and continually.

Finally, as noted first, the person-centred approach takes clients as their own best authorities. The focus of person-centred remedy is obviously on the client's own feelings and thoughts, not on those of the therapist -- and certainly not on diagnosis or categorization. The person-centred therapist makes every try to foster a host in which clients can face themselves and be more intimate using their own thoughts, feelings and meanings.

Criticisms of Person-Centred Counselling

A frequent criticism of the person-centred approach is the fact delivering the core conditions is exactly what all good therapists do anyway, before they move on to applying their expertise and doing the true work of 'making clients better'. On the facial skin of it, this criticism reflects a misunderstanding of the real challenges of regularly manifesting unconditional positive regard, empathic understanding and congruence. This is also true of congruence: to the extent that some therapeutic techniques deployed in a few other traditions rely upon the counsellor's willingness to 'hold back', mentally formulate hypotheses about your client, or conceal their own private reactions behind a regular professional face, there's a real challenge in applying these techniques with the openness and honesty which defines congruence. It may also demonstrate something of a reluctance for taking seriously the empirical research on counselling effectiveness and the final outcome that the grade of the client-counsellor relationship is a respected predictor of therapeutic effectiveness -- although this is somewhat more controversial, since one might argue that providing the core conditions is not the only way to achieve a quality relationship. (See the page on Comparing Effectiveness. )

At a deeper level, however, there's a more superior point lurking, which many expositions of person-centred theory seem to avoid addressing head-on. Namely, given that the self is the single most significant resource the person-centred counsellor brings to the therapeutic relationship, it seems sensible to ask: what (if anything) is it important that self has, apart from the three core conditions? I. e. , manifesting of the core conditions will not by itself tell us what activities or philosophies the counsellor is bringing to the partnership. It tells us that the client will have transparent usage of that self -- because the counsellor is congruent -- but it generally does not tell us other things about that self. Whether or not that self should be developed in virtually any particular way, or whether that self should acquire any particular background knowledge, appears to me a question which is more regularly side-stepped than answered within the person-centred tradition.

(Yet another way to understand this point is this: given two counsellors, each of whom manifests the core conditions for some specified degree, what else, if anything, matters? Would it not be better for a given client to have the one who can be an expert at astrophysics or the one who's an economist? Would it not be better for confirmed client to really have the one who struggled through ten years of ethnic cleansing in a war-torn country or the main one who visited private school in an affluent suburb and subsequently worked as a stockbroker? Aside from academic expertise and personal history, how about personal philosophy, parenthood, and other factors?)

Best Fit With Clients

Clients who have a strong urge in the direction of exploring themselves and their feelings and who value personal responsibility may be particularly attracted to the person-centred approach. Those who want a counsellor to provide them considerable advice, to diagnose their problems, or even to analyse their psyches will probably find the person-centred approach less helpful. Clients who want to address specific psychological habits or patterns of thinking may find some variation in the helpfulness of the person-centred approach, as the average person therapeutic varieties of person-centred counsellors vary widely, and some will feel more able than others to activate directly with these kind of concerns.

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