Building a sense of identity with person centered therapy
In the 1940’s psychologist Carl R. Rogers created a type of therapy approach called person-centered. This new way of thinking was the beginning of humanistic psychology, the understanding of this approach allowed each individual client to understand how they can become capable, with the comprehension to fix their difficulties and recognize their potential as well as change their lives in a more powerful way (AIPC, 2010). Carl Rogers a skilled psychologist who is known for his work in clinical psychology, mentioned how during his time working as a clinical psychologist he was influenced by many different students who noticed that “relationship therapy” moved from past issues and onto focusing on the patient’s self-insight on acceptance within themselves as part of the therapeutic relationship (ADPCA, 2003-2004). Person-centered approach is mainly about the client being in control of the therapy session. This will eventually lead to the client developing a greater sense of understanding about themselves and improve their self-concepts.
During the therapy session the therapist should keep an open mind, be open to change and ask questions in order to understand something that is different from their own viewpoint or knowledge (AICP, 2010). One thing that should be taken into consideration when going through person centered therapy is that not every counselor will agree with the client’s beliefs or their own techniques. In order to find a counselor who is right for them, the counselor needs to be able to create a bond with them like no one else can but to the point where the client does not become reliant on them for many or most things. Having an open mind about validation and acceptance are key components in any type of therapeutic intervention (Meyers, 2014). Some clients who are in person centered therapy are not always there on their own will. Some get mandated which makes it particularly difficult for the therapist is connect with the client. These types of clients usually get to courts who then send the client or clients to counseling because they may be having a history of abusive behavior towards other or abusive behavior directed at them. Anger and substance abuse can be two factors leading to these problems (Meyers, 2014). Rogers theory and work is very simple to describe and many people would try to provide evidence of that, by using both of the approaches and working as a person-therapist or counsellor, it can be difficult at times to put into the therapy session because the approach itself does not use specific techniques but is very heavily dependent on the personal qualities of the therapist and the person in order to form a non-judgmental and empathic relationship (BAPCA, 2018).
There are many methods of working that goes along with person-centered therapy. The goals of each session is to obtain the trust of a client and try to have the ability to be in the present moment at that time, promote the client’s self-awareness, empower change, encourage congruence behavior and feelings and help people to gain the ability in order to have control of their lives and become the image of themselves that they want to be (AIPC, 2010). Although techniques are not heavily relied on in person-centered therapy, knowing the approach to take and what it means is especially important. All therapist should have some type of Congruence. Congruence is said to be whether or not the therapists are genuine and authentic towards their client and the session as a whole during the therapy process (AICP, 2010). Unconditional positive regard is when a therapist shows acceptance, respect as well as show care towards their clients (Seligman, 2006) Empathy is used by person-centered therapists to show understanding of a client’s emotions (Seligman, 2006) and Nondirectiveness refers to the therapist allowing the clients to be the main focus of the therapy session and not have the therapist themselves without give advice, suggest strategies or certain activities (AICP, 2010). Allowing the clients to have room during this process is key. This allows distance between the two while trying to establish a real unique bond between the client and therapist. In order to accomplish this bond the therapist may need to get creative when on their part to find a way to communicate fully and effectively with the client (Meyers, 2014). When dealing with adolescents in this therapy process counselors need to have an even greater sense of patient than they would when dealing with an adult (Martin, 2014). By not showing a great deal of patience towards an adolescent, this can allow the young client to never trust the therapist and in that case may form some type of resilience towards them. (Martin, 2014).
Validation, acceptance and empowerment are critical parts in allowing and hoping that younger clients will open up and feel heard and understood (Meyers, 2014). Validation and acceptance are highly important in any part of a therapeutic intervention, regardless of the type of client population (Martin, 2014). Giving clients the options to to distance themselves from certain parts of the therapy process such as talking about person issues course to touch on personal issues that are important and matter to them can make the some clients create a feeling of being not judged and the counselor really sees them as something more than what they are. (Ostrwoski, 2014). Enthusiasm for the work can help improve as well as increase the counselor- client relationship, if a counselor has good chemistry and the appropriate background working with the clientele then amazing things can happen in the therapy process (Martin, 2014). Acceptance while in the therapy room is without a doubt a major factor that plays into person centered therapy and if it will be successful or not. Having unconditional positive regard can benefit clients in multiple ways. When a therapists offers no judgement the client feels less fearful and can share their thoughts, feelings and actions freely (Harley Therapy, 2016). As the therapist accepts the client, the client is encouraged to find self-acceptance (Harley Therapy, 2016). The therapist allows the client space to think for themselves over using questions designed to illicit certain answers (Harley Therapy, 2016). By allowing the client such space the client can begin to cultivate their inner resources (Harley Therapy, 2016). Also by seeing the client through their behaviors, it allows the therapist to offer the client a chance to realize they are more than just their behaviors (Harley Therapy, 2016). Not only is acceptant better known as Unconditional Positive Regard in person centered therapy used in a counseling setting, it can also be applied the people’s everyday lives. In order to achieve this individuals need to expect people to have internal resources, suspend judgement and bias, allow others to be different, allow themselves to be different and practice self-compassion (Scott, 2016). A question that is asked when dealing with unconditional positive regard is that if it is a realistic practice with everyone. The best way to approach this question is to begin to experiment with the perspective shift of unconditional positive regard in your own daily life and see what affect is has on relating to others and your own mood (Scott, 2016).
When dealing with certain roadblocks along the way with the client or just the whole therapy process as a whole, it is important to understand that all clients move at different paces during their sessions. (Meyers, 2014). Counselors overtime may have possibly have taken a certain client’s view or views and at that time may have forgotten that overall it is the client who is said to be in charge the entire time throughout their time in therapy (Ostrowski, 2014). Ostrowski stated that a client determines what is most important and what may seem like a small issue to the counselor may be a very key of what is currently going on personally in that the individuals life at that very specific moment. (Ostrowski, 2014). In hopes of strengthening the alliance and potentinally move forward. (Ostrowski, 2014). Therapeutic alliance can be used in order to help retain the concept in the clients memory that all counselors are humans too. (Meyers, 2014). In the therapeutic process it is easy to say that clients are the source of the problem or problems, but counselors need to think and put into consideration that them themselves may also be a problem depending on how they are conducting their session or being towards the client (Guterman, 2014). Extreme resistance can also be involved in this process and make it even more difficult to communicate or help clients. Individuals as mentioned before who have been mandated to counseling typically refuse to talk or try to connect with the therapist in any way. A way to increase a client’s cooperation and help obtain that strong alliance that is key for the therapy process is for counselors to express knowledge of and respect for clients individuality such as their cultural background and race (Guterman, 2014). Getting and overall appreciation and well as understanding for each client as a whole will help them in deciding which kind of approach is the right one to take and how successful it may be (Guterman, 2014). An example of this maybe something along the lines of parents going to jail and got sent by the court to engage in therapy in order to figure out what the problem is and why this is happening or continuing on (Martin, 2014). In some cases a counselors cannot make a client who is being negative and resistant into a positive one, despite trying to include everything the client may be good and successful in and at. (Guterman, 2014). When a counselor seems interest and excited, it makes the entire process seems sincere which can possibly make the client and clients to become sincere as well. If not then it is clear that the client will most likely not be successful in trying to obtain what they want, as well as the counselor seeking what they want. (Martin, 2014). A counselor’s whose main desire determination is the number one key factor in developing and having an overall strong therapeutic alliance (Martin, 2014).
Person centered therapy not only has its strengths but it also has its weaknesses. Some of those weaknesses are that the client may not be seen as being challenged by anyone or able to find a clear reason to show their true ability (UK Essays, 2015). Therapy does not offer a clear structure to the client. In this case it can be difficult for the client to progress and have answers (Mearns and Thorne, 2007). Another limitation of this type of therapy is that there is no intervention, which is a negative because intervention is an act to achieve effects and produce results (McNeill, 2005).There is no involvement or interference from the therapist who might offer sound advice (McNeill, 2005). Person centered therapy lacks the agreement intervention and interactive communication, in comparison with crisis intervention where help is offered when a service user is faced with a problem (Adams, 2009). Crisis intervention makes an individual stronger and able to deal with threats and help them with personal growth, whereas person centered therapy may lack those qualities (Adams, 2009). Some believe that this form of therapy is not helpful because it does not challenge the client even if they are headed down a negative path more destructive than they were before. The therapist cannot change the clients minds or intervene which is another downfall to this type of therapy process. When there is no relationship between experience and the individual’s perception of self, a human being starts to experience anxiety and depression (UK Essay, 2015). The result is an unpleasant feeling which can cause defense mechanisms to kick in and the results in denial and distortion which causes blocks to happen to an individual’s self-concept (UK Essay, 2015). So in order for this therapy to be effective it is determined by therapist attitude which is expected to be congruence, authenticity, genuine and how the true feelings of emotions (Rogers, 1951).
A major project was completed in 2017 following Carl Roger’s sixty years of research on the effectiveness of Person-Centered and related therapies. Using larger samples of 180 scientific outcome studies (Elliott & Freire, 2017). Conclusion one of this project is that Person Centered therapies are associated with large pre-post client change (Elliot & Freire, 2017). This was established by looking at 203 samples of client from 191 studies amounting to more than 14,000 people (Elliot & Freire, 2017). Conclusion two states it is important for clients to have large post-therapy gains, so that it is maintained over early and late follow-ups (Elliot & Freire, 2017). Next conclusion is that client in person centered therapies show large gains relative to clients who receive no therapy (Elliot & Freire, 2017). Lastly conclusion four is that therapists are generally more clinical and statistical of that to other therapies (Elliot & Freire, 2017). Some implications of these analyses is that from a policy point of view these data support the proposition that Person-Centered/Experiential therapies are empirically supported by multiple lines of scientific evidence, including ‘gold standard’ and recent very large RCT (randomized controlled trial) equivalent studies (WAPCEPC, 2017).
Research is generalized prejudice by variable-centered approaches, which focuses on communalities between different types of prejudice, we propose a complementary person-centered approach, looking for subgroups of people characterized by similar patterns of prejudice (Meeusen,Meuleman,Abts,Bergh, 2017). Understanding and contributing to the evidence base that supports their practice is key survival strategy for Person-Centered therapist and counsellors (University of Strathclyde Glasow, 2008). Eighty predominately recent outcome studies to large samples previously reported was provided in order to provide an analysis of more than 200 quantitative outcome studies on person-centered therapies, nondirective-supportive, process-experiential/emotion-focused and other experiential therapies (Elliot & Freire, 2017). The following outcomes from these studies states that client in PCE therapies experience large amounts of prior change, gains after therapy were kept up over early and late follow-ups. In controlled studies clients experienced large gains relative to untreated groups, PCE therapies appear to be statistically and clinically equivalent when compared to non-PCE therapies and when examining four different types of PCE therapy, CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) was clearly more superior to nondirective-supportive therapies, but equivalent to person-centered therapies; emotion-focused therapy appeared to be superior to CBT (Elliot & Freire, 2009). Taken all together, the body of evidence clearly indicates that Person-Centered therapists should offered to clients in primary care and other mental health settings (Elliot & Freire, 2009). Relying on multiple lines of evidence such as provided in the present study, provides a sound basis for establishing public mental health policy (Elliot & Freire, 2009).
Depending on the client and their situation, deciding how to approach each therapy session is very important when trying to help the client overcome whatever they themselves are going through. Different situations have taken place that causes each therapist to react in a way other than they normally would. For example when dealing with relationships within clients and counselors, counselors seem to take on an important emotions when it involves using their own types of techniques during their therapy process (Kottler, 2014). Jeffrey Kottler a member of the American Psychological Association stated how he recalled a number of occurrances from research studies and from his own practice, where clients overtime individually claimed that a certain type of specific technique or intervention is what made them feel that was the most successful in helping them (Kottler, 2014). In some cases a client may need a greater feeling of understanding from the therapist and may enjoy the benefits of being in a respectful and positive alliance (Kottler, 2014). It is important for a counselor to learn and understand the clients view and background in order make cooperation easier during the session that is taking place (Guterman, 2014). When counselors try to treat and come to a conclusion about a type of problem and dive straight into the treatment process without first determining a client’s mindset about it, them themselves as counselors are more likely to be met with resistance from the client (Guterman, 2014). In one situation Guterman was dealing with a seventy one year old man who had struggled with alcohol and was resisting multiple attempts of help by several mental health professionals. Someone who is dealing with a long history of alcoholism can be very resistance and believe that certain things may not work for him. In this instance he believed anyone associated with a higher power could not fix him. (Guterman, 2014). Guterman over time really listen to his client in hopes to understand what his thoughts were. Previously tried treatments such as the AA model could help but overall in the end the client would end up drinking again. Some clients in this case come to treatment to only control their drinking and under the AA model, those individuals would be considered in denial (Guterman, 2014). If a client wherever he they are at, a sense of change is always present (Guterman, 2014). Counselors who are dealing with clients who are in extreme resistance have an even greater technique to overcome this. Children and primarily the main focus of resistance in counseling because they do not feel like talking about or expressing how they are feelings to the counselor. In order for this issue to be surpassed, the counselor needs to summarize the overall situation and think about the knowledge and respect for the client and their background, whether it be cultural or not. In one occasion Clayton Martin another member of the American Psychological Association was dealing with a child who fought and ignored him for years throughout their counseling process and they had multiple conversations that somehow helped lead to some type of therapeutic success (Meyers, 2014). There was a point where Martin had found that that the child was to the point that he was misbehaving and fighting during his days in school. The child was taken on a tour of an alternative school known that was known for their troubled students that in the end turned out to be very eye opening experience which lead to a successful therapeutic process. (Meyers, 2014). The child decided that he did not want to be that person anymore and made changes to himself and his life around him (Martin, 2014). This eye opening experience helped him complete therapy, because from that day on he stopped getting into trouble (Martin, 2014). Roadblocks when trying to connect with clients is tough, Martin admitted but he eventually took on the role as an in-home counselor and wanted to work with younger clients at a substance abuse centers (Meyers, 2014). Another result of another counseling session is the case in which space was needed. Olga Gonithellis a licensed mental health counselor stated that therapists must try to challenge their automatic tendency of wanting to take direct control of the session and instead try to approach certain topics. Allowing a client to have space when trying to come up with some kind of special bond can again require creativity and a lot of patience (Gonithellis, 2014). One session Gonithellis was conduction was of a young girl who was seen after a potentional suicide attempt (Meyers, 2014). The first couple of sessions, the girl refused to make any kind of communication, refused looking directly at the counselors as well as used other things to keep her distance and non-responsive during the sessions (Gonithellis, 2014).The next time the girl came to her session, Gonithellis brought in magazines, glue and scissors and told her knowing that she did not want to talk and by bringing these items in then maybe she could understand the girl and what her problems may be by watching and working with her with her collage. (Meyers, 2014). The client agreed that this type of activity helped her overall mood change and she could tell that in that moment she was more responsive. (Meyers, 2014). During the following session the girl made more eye contact and seemed more comfortable and she continued to grow more relaxed and less guarded (Gonithellis, 2014). This was another kind of way of connecting that was meaningful and symbolic by meeting her halfway (Gonithellis, 2014). Results overall are based on how the counselor and clients are with one another. The way a counselor deals with a client who is non responsive or refuses to seek help can and is a major factor in how successful each session will be and shows how that type of counselors is when dealing with certain roadblocks and how to overcome them. Depending on the client’s situation as well as the counselor who is treating them each technique a counselor may try can affect the client, the session or both as a whole. If a counselor cannot overcome obstacles and explore different options if a problem has or is occurring then not only will the counselors feels defeated but the client will as well because they did not get the help they though or were seeking, By the end of it all, a counselor who is authentic in what they are doing and trying to accomplish is the number one key to a successful alliance in the therapeutic process (Meyers, 2014).
Overall, person centered uses a non-authoritative approach that will help clients be able to be more in control and in the process, they will hopefully be able to discover their own solutions and move forward. (Psychology Today, 2018). A therapist is there during session to help encourage and support the client. As well as help guide them through the therapeutic process without harming the client’s progress of self-discovery (Psychology Today, 2018). The success of person-centered therapy as stated before relies on three main conditions which are having unconditional positive regard, empathetic understanding and congruence (Psychology Today, 2018). Some other facts that can be related changes to a cultivated therapy is gaining stronger agreements between an individual’s ideal and actual selves, self-understanding and awareness, decreased defensiveness, insecurity and guilt, greater ability to trust oneself, healthier relationships, improvement in self-expression and overall a healthy sense of change (Counselling Directory, 2018). Person-centered therapy can help individuals of all ages with a wide variety and number of personal issues. Many individuals see person-centered therapy as a very appealing type of therapy because it allows them to be in control over the content that is being discussed as well as the pace of the session, and not have to worry that their therapist or anyone judging them in any way (Counselling Directory, 2018). The approach overall has been seen as being very useful in helping individuals overcome certain problems in their lives such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders and alcohol addictions (Counselling Directory, 2018). Individuals who suffer from these issues can have an important take and a significant impact their on self-esteem, self-reliance and self- awareness. What makes person-centered therapy so special is that it can help individuals to reconnect with their inner self in order to exceed their limitations and continue on the road to a better and healthier life. (Counselling Directory, 2018). Even though person-centered counselling was originally developed as an approach to psychotherapy, it is often shifted to other areas where individuals are in relations, such as teaching, childcare and patient care (Counselling Directory, 2018). Everyday counselors use different forms of techniques are as very different from one another depending on the types of counselors and clients willing to use them (Meyer, 2014). All the different approaches and techniques that are used during this therapy process all have something very important in common with one another, depending on the models and techniques used by the counselor and whether or not these can help the client can likely to be brought down unless the counselor knows what they are doing and want nothing but the best for their client.(Meyers, 2014). Today individuals who are not practice counsellors may want to learn and understanding this approach in hopes of helping it to guide them through their everyday lives.