Person-Centred Counselling

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Person-Centred Counselling

Person-Centred Counselling


Counselling is about what it means to be human. It is through counselling that a person evolves as a human being. It is rooted in our birth and introduction to our first care-givers, followed by an ongoing history of relationships - the psychological and spiritual textures of care from which we are born again and again into the human family. In our time of increasing awareness of the fragility of the earth in conjunction with the disparities and diversities among its people, counselling is recognised as a systemic concept including both the intimate sphere of interpersonal relations and the larger social and environmental contexts of life. Not only people but the planet needs counselling to survive (Kirschenbaum, 2003).

The term “person-cantered” refers to a therapy model that focuses on the personal relationship in counselling. Counselling, however, is not what distinguishes the spiritual caregiver or professional helper from other human beings. In fact, what we designate as unique about the helping professions - counselling - is precisely what is most common and fundamental about being human. Through counselling we weave a net of relationships in the world around us. These are the essential relationships that nurture and sustain life and shape our spirituality. Through counselling people find a place in the world.

Person-Centred Therapy as a Model of Therapy

Person-centred therapy is the model of therapy that provides the foundation for my client work. Meeting a prospective client for the first time, I will describe this approach and how it may apply to that individual ( or couple). I believe it is right to offer such an insight: it will allow people to decide if this therapeutic approach may be appropriate for them, offer a greater sense of 'ownership' and control of their prospective therapeutic process and, if they have experienced counselling therapy before - perhaps using another model of therapy - an opportunity to understand possible differences between the therapies (Dawes, 2005: p55).

The person-centred way of working may be viewed as humanistic: it recognises the capacity of people to find their answers to their problems from within their own resourcefulness. To do this however, it is often necessary to experience conditions which will enable them to achieve personal goals. A set of six 'core' conditions or values lie at the heart of the therapeutic relationship. These were described in a 1957 article by Carl Rogers, the originator of the person-centre approach to counselling.

Two people (three when working with a couple) have psychological contact.

The first (the client) is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious.

The second person (the therapist) is congruent or integrated in the relation-ship.

The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client.

The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client's internal frame of reference and endeavours to communicate this experience to the client.

The communication to the client of the therapist's empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a degree, achieved.

Person Cantered Counselling and Rogers

Rogers had an unshakeable belief that if the client can experience these ...
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