The client centred therapy was developed by Carl Rogers in 1942 and was based on his personal experience with clients. He believed that everyone is capable of solving their own problems if the right conditions are provided. He proposed that the therapist’s role was to listen to clients, be empathic with them, and accept them for who they were rather than offer deep interpretations of unconscious material or mechanistically change behaviors. He emphasized the real relationship between the therapist and the client rather than the transference relationship, and suggested that therapists should be open and genuine with their clients.
He summed this up in six conditions that he thought were necessary for successful therapy. These conditions were: 1. The relationship between the client and therapist 2. Client’s incongruence or vulnerability to anxiety- that motivates them to stay in the relationship 3. Therapist’s congruence or genuineness- not acting, self-disclosure, listening, awareness of own feelings, openness 4. Therapist’s unconditional positive regard for the client 5.
Therapist’s empathetic understanding- accurate, both active and passive aspects of empathy.
6. Client’s perception of therapist UPR and empathetic understanding Three of these conditions are dominating; they are empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence. C. Rogers called these conditions “core conditions”. Empathy It is extremely important that the counsellor is able to empathize with his client and see the world through his eyes and be able to share the same feelings. Carl Rogers says in his book A therapist view of psychotherapy on becoming a person (1961):”Acceptance does not mean much until it involves understanding.
It is only as I understand the feelings and thoughts which seem so horrible to you, or so weak, or so sentimental, or so bizarre – It is only as I see them as you see them, and accept them and you, that you feel really free to explore all hidden nooks and frightening crannies of your inner and often buried experience”. Unconditional positive regard UPS is unconditional acceptance, caring and a non-possessive love. It is important for the client to feel accepted and not being judged. Many people go through life being afraid of manifesting their feelings and attitudes as they might be different from others.
Their emotions are being suppressed and they become victims of conditions of worth, where they are being forced by society, family, work environment etc into following certain rules. They might no longer be able to think freely and they start feeling trapped. If the counsellor is able to provide UPS then the client will become relaxed and stop being afraid of being judged. He will be able to find himself again and start trusting his own feelings and gradually help himself. Congruence By congruence we understand genuineness, freedom to show are feelings and manifest are opinions without pretence or having a facade.
It is believed that as much as the client needs to be able to accept their own feeling and acknowledge their fears and barriers, the same thing applies to the counsellor. It is only when the counsellor is prepared to observe his own feelings and accept them, that he will be able to help the client in most efficient way. Carl Rogers describes this as:”I have come to recognise that being trustworthy does not demand that I be rigidly consistent but that I am dependably real. The term “congruent” is one I have used to describe the way I would like to be.
By this I mean that whatever feeling or attitude I am experiencing would matched my awareness of that attitude. When this is true, then I am a unified or integrated person in that moment, and hence I can be whatever deeply I am. ” Carl Rogers also believed in actualising tendency, which is based on everyone’s inner ability to grow, develop their personality and move toward self actualisation. Self actualisation is everyone’s need to become best he can be. This is not being described as positive or negative process it does depend on everyone’s personal situation.
Abraham Maslow created a hierarchy of needs that needs to be followed in process towards self actualisation, this is called Maslow’s triangle. He says:”All the evidence that we have indicates that it is reasonable to assume in practically every human being, and certainly in almost every new-born baby, that there is an active will towards health, an impulse towards growth, or towards actualization. ” Actualizations tendency can be often suppressed when person experience luck of positive regard while growing up but can never be destroyed.
In my personal life I can think of few occasions when counselling skills helped me to understand others and at the same time help them to understand themselves. I would like to describe here two of these occasions that stuck to my mind the most. In the first situation I found myself almost forcing myself to try to empathize with one of my flat mates. I believe that reason for it was that I was personally involved in this problematic situation, felt hurt and upset with this person. My flat mates name is Mike, he is 43 years of age, and he is single.
He lives in the shared house and is a sociable person who likes to go out with his friends, he likes to play tennis and he is a big football supporter. Also Mike can have a very short temper and when angry he becomes very loud and can be verbally abusive. From what he says, he enjoys his job and is comfortable with his life at the moment. I have lived in the same house with Mike for about a year now and our relationship has been going through upside downs. We get along really well but every now and then there would be a situation when we get into a row.
I have always felt that Mike would make a huge deal out of something that could be easily resolved and when I disagreed with, he would start shouting and be verbally abusive. In those situations it would be difficult to talk to him calmly. The situation would end with me walking off so I didn’t have to listen to his shouting. We would not talk to each other for few days until the emotions calmed down and we would gradually start being friends again without talking about the argument.
In my opinion this was never right as I always felt that an apology for verbal abuse and an explanation was needed but when asking Mike about it his answer was “I don’t feel I should apologize as that’s the way I felt at the time”. I also felt that bringing up the augment again would not sort anything out but would make the matters worse. Because of that I always decided to be “the bigger” person and act like nothing happened. This situation escalated when we got into a problematic situation about paying our house bills.
I was responsible for collecting money from everyone and paying the council tax each month. One day I received a text message from Mike in which he informed me of a letter that we received from council. In this letter we were being told that due not paying our council tax bills they would no longer allow us to pay our bills monthly but wanted us to pay the rest of the year’s council tax in advance. From the way the message was written it was obvious that Mike got very angry and he was questioning me where did all his money that he had given me for council tax have gone.
I got offended by this text message as to me it showed that he did not trust me and I felt that he was accusing me of taking his and other flat mates money. I tried to reply to him in a calm way but the usual happened Mike got very upset with me and sent me back messages in which he sworn at me. As it turned out there was no need for him to be as angry with me as the whole situation about the council tax was a mistake. However the way I felt the damage was already done and once again I felt very hurt by Mike’s behaviour.
Speaking about this situation in the class when I was in the role of the client while doing our counselling skills exercises I was trying to find the right approach to this situation. I did not like Mike’s behaviour towards me. I felt that if I let him treat me this way and let him get away with it, it would show him an approval for talking to me the same way in the future. I always considered myself as an honest and straight forward person, someone who does not play mind games and who is not afraid to say what they think. But could I tell Mike what I think? How much of an argument that would create again?
Was it worth the aggravation? Playing with these thoughts it was suggested to me to use my counselling skills to solve the problem. My initial reaction was “No way! I do not want to empathize with him and give him any unconditional positive regard. ” I felt the emotions were very fresh, I felt still quite hurt and upset about the way he spoke to me. I did not want be the peace maker. But after couple of days playing with the thought in my head I was more willing to give it a go. I knew that Mike would never agree to have a “session” if I can call it like that.
I decided to wait for the right moment when we would bought calm down and when we would do our usual and slowly started talking to each other again. I did not have to wait for too long in a day or so I was at home watching television when Mike came home. He came into the lounge and said hello, he stood there for a while waiting for my reaction and he asked me if we were still friends. I told him that we had never stopped being friends but his behaviour upset me and I would like to know how he felt about the way he spoke to me.
Mike admitted to me that he does not like himself getting angry and his anger is not aimed only towards me. He started to talk about his life from early age. He spoke about his mother who got pregnant with him in 60s just before the abortion was made legal. She was a single mother and in those times this was considered as embarrassing for the family and shameful for the woman. He and his mother lived with his grandparents and his auntie in a small village where everyone knew each other. His grandfather was an alcoholic and had a bad relationship with his auntie.
From what Mike remembers his auntie was often violent towards her father. He had never knew who is father was until much later when at a party a lady spoke to him and told him that his father lived in the same village all his life. Knowing this information he never asked his mother about his father or tried to contact him as he did not want to upset her. He kept on repeating that he had a brilliant childhood but lots of things were never spoken about in their house. I listened to his story without interrupting him or asking him many questions; it almost seemed like he thought about this and needed to tell his story to me.
I empathized with him very much and could feel there was many “locked doors” in his heart, questions that were never asked or answered but also felt like Mike was protecting his mother a lot. I asked him if it was important for him to know who his father was and if there were any questions that he would want his mother to answer without worrying about upsetting her. He said that he did not remembered himself ever wondering about his father or about what was going on behind the close doors in his house, but he did admit that he often put his mothers feeling first.
I asked him if his short temper was in any way related to his story but he said that he could not say that this was the reason for it and quickly changed the subject of our conversation to something else. Even though I cannot tell that my counselling skills helped Mike to deal with his problems, I can definitely say they helped me to understand him better. I do believe that he thought of our talk later and I hope that opening up like that and sharing this with me would help him to find the answers.
I personally think that asking him about the reason for his anger and him answering by telling me about his life, clearly shows that he does connect the two and that he thought about it. We did not get in the situation again where we could carry on with this conversation but I believe that Mike knows that he can talk to me if he needs to. Second situation when I used counselling skills in my personal life was with my friend Clare. Clare is 25 years of age and comes from Brighton. She lives in a shared house in London and studies social work. Clare is very sociable, friendly and happy.
I have only known Clare for few months but we became good friends very quickly. Clare had her 25th birthday few weeks ago; she was organizing a party with her friends and was looking forward to it. When we spoke about people who were coming to her birthday she mentioned a friend that she was not sure she should invite. Naturally I was interested to know who this person is and what was stopping her from inviting her. Clare told me that girls name was Zoee and she was her best friend from Brighton for very long time. The problem had started when Zoee moved to London and started to hang out with different crowd.
Her phone calls were not as regular anymore; if Clare rang her she would not answer the phone most of the time or would not call back. They arranged to meet few times but Zoee would either cancel at the last minute or not turn up. I could feel that Clare was very hurt about it and she felt that her best friend abandoned her and exchanged her for different people. I asked Clare if she knew what was happening in Zoees life. Clare said that from what she heard from the other people and from what she knew from those few conversation she had with her, Zoee started to hang out with a wrong crowd.
She found herself a new boyfriend who was a drug dealer and her herself started taking lots of drugs. Zoee had a very good job but she lost it as she started to take lots of sick leaves, coming to work late and not doing her job up to standard. She moved in together with her boyfriend and became depended on him. When Clare was telling me this story, I could feel lots of different emotions going through her. I asked her if she felt angry with her friend and a she said she was very disappointed in her and she was upset that she would forget about her friends like that.
She said she did not want to invite her to her birthday as she knew Zoee probably would not come or if she did she would be a “mess” and create lots of problems. I empathized with her and could feel how upset she felt but thought that it would be very beneficial if she could try to empathize with her friend. I asked her if she thought Zoee was ignoring or excluding her from her life for a reason. She blamed everything on Zoees new life style and new friends. I asked her what was it like when they were friends, what kind of things they did together and also how well she knew Zoee before all this started happening.
When Clare spoke about their friendship in the past she spoke about it very warmly and the anger that she felt towards her friend disappeared. She was clearly missing her best friend very much but felt hopeless in the situation. I asked her if she could try to empathize with her friend, if she could put herself in her position and try to feel what Zoee feels towards her. We also spoke about a situation when two of them would meet and what their reactions would be to each other. Gradually Clare came to decision that rather being angry with her friend she felt sorry for her and felt that she would like to help her.
She came to realize that her friends current life style had a lot to do with her behaviour but also that it did not necessary mean that Zoee stopped being her friend or forgot about her but maybe she was not capable of doing those things at the moment, maybe because she was ashamed or maybe she was being afraid of being judged. Clare decided that she was still not inviting her friend to her birthday as she needed time to think about what she would do but told me that she would try to meet up with her friend soon and talk to her without being angry or judgmental.
Comparing this experience with my previous example of using counselling skills I feel that in the case of my flat mate Mike I used more listening skills and empathy where in my second example I was more active and asked more questions. The two cases are very different where Mike I thought needed to tell his story, it was something that happened to him a long time ago and he clearly thought about it a lot in his life and with Clare it was something very fresh, there were lots of emotions which perhaps clouded her view on things.
Also I feel that using humanistic counselling skills with friends can be quite complicated because a friend is somehow naturally expected to give an opinion, although saying that using the skills I learned not give my friends advices which tell them what to do, how act or how to feel. Rather then that I used opened questions that might help people to think about the situation themselves and come to the conclusion on their own.
Cite this Client Centered Approach
Client Centered Approach. (2017, Mar 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/client-centered-approach/