Theoretical Case Study- Person Centred Therapy
1.1-1.5 Person centred approach was developed from the humanistic psychology, which views people as capable & autonomous, with the ability to resolve their issues, realize their potential and make changes to their lives in positive ways (self-actualization). Carl Rodgers was an American psychologist who was a major contributor of the person centred approach also known as ???client centred??? & ???Rogerian.??? He emphasized the humanistic perspective, as well as ensuring that the therapeutic relationship with clients promoted self-esteem, authenticity and actualisation in the person??™s life. Much of Rodgers work was in understanding and defining the disciplines & conditions to be followed by counsellors, so they could create a safe therapeutic relationship with their clients.
The key concepts and guiding principles are based on the core conditions, which Rodgers believed a counsellor needs to bring about a therapeutic change with their clients.
* Therapist Congruence or Genuiness: The counsellor is deeply involved with their client and does not intentionally or unintentionally hide behind a facade or front, that he or she is actually the person they are feeling themselves to be at the time.
* Therapist Empathy understanding: the counsellor feels an empathic understanding for their client, and genuinely feels or experiences the same feelings and emotions of the client, by showing this understanding.
* Therapist Unconditional Positive Regard: The therapist accepts the client unconditional without passing any judgments on his/her actions, feelings or attitudes thus facilitating unconditional positive self- regard.
* Client Perception: The client perceives at least to a certain extent that the counsellor genuinely accepts them unconditionally and understands their feelings.
* Conditions of worth: This influences the way in which a client??™s self-concept is shaped, for example as they grown up their parents, peers, or even society has given them what they need when they show ???worth???, rather than just because they needed it. This refers to judgmental & critical messages from the important people that have influenced the way the client may act and react to certain situations. When the client has conditions of worth imposed on them or they are exposed to overprotective environments, it can often lead to the client having low self ??“image. The client??™s self -actualization can be impeded by conditions of worth so they need to be removed, and by doing so in a therapeutic environment will help to solve these issues.
As a counsellor it??™s really important to follow these principles in order to have a positive attitude to facilitate a progressive relationship by encouraging, challenging and supporting the client at all times. Demonstrating empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard, throughout the counselling relationship with the client, provides the client with understanding, clarity and support, in order to make progress towards self-realisation and change.
1.2 Advantages for clients who have a strong urge in the direction of exploring themselves and their feelings, and who value personal responsibility may find the person-centered approach more appealing to their needs, i.e. loss and bereavement, couple counselling, group therapy and life changes. This theory has also been proven to help depression, alcohol disorders and young children called play therapy. Person centered counselling, concentrates on the here and now, encouraging the client to think in the present time. It recognizes and values the client, encourages self expression, self awareness, self development and a greater understanding of self.
Disadvantage are that clients who would like to address specific psychological behaviours or patterns of thinking may find some variation in the helpfulness of the person-centered therapy, as the individual therapeutic styles of person centered counsellors vary widely, and some may feel more equipped than others to engage directly with some types of issues, for example a client who may have a deep rooted trauma, conflicts, depression, addictions or eating disorders may require more support than offered through person centred counselling. Clients who are looking for extensive advice to diagnose a problem or analyze their consciousness/mind might find the person centered approach less helpful.
1.3 When offering any form of counselling to culturally different clients, counsellors may encounter potential barriers. These obstacles can be caused by a lack of cultural knowledge or even language differences, between the counsellor and client. They can negatively impede the relationship between the two parties, because of miscommunications which then leads to misdiagnoses; this will cause the outcome of the counselling process to be ineffective.
Counsellors, who lack multicultural counselling skills, are at risk of providing culturally insensitive counselling. The lack of cultural self awareness, which refers to the counsellors own cultural beliefs, attitudes and opinions about other groups, can cause an unproductive encounter, due to this encounter client??™s are more likely to quit. For example, a counsellor treating someone form an East Indian background with gambling issues may cause problems within the sessions, if the counsellor is not culturally aware of their culture with regards to gambling, it is important as a counsellor to learn some of the cultural difference of your client in order to give ethical and productive counselling.
1.6 As a student counsellor during my skills practice work, using the person centered approach, I have demonstrated an attitude of empathic understanding, unconditional positive regard, and genuineness throughout the sessions. My aim during these sessions has been to assist the student/client in a non-directive way, to explore their feelings and thoughts with encouragement, using various counselling skills, such as listening, observing non-verbal behaviour (body language), paraphrasing, challenging and summarising; this has allowed me to demonstrate an understanding of the issues discussed.
Using this theory within a counselling session I feel has been effective in helping the client/student to recognize their emotions, as well as their feelings, by doing so they have gained self-awareness and clarity on how to move forward in a positive way. This has been confirmed through observation feedback & the student/clients feedback.