Person centered therapy is a form of non-authoritative approach in psychotherapy and counselling in which special emphasis is put on emphasizing the uniqueness of human beings, which isn’t only merely a theoretical assumption but also an underlying critical ethic that the practitioners believe in.
The therapists’ responsiveness and the client’s specific wants and needs are given a special priority, and thus the client is allowed to take a lead in discussions. The process of client centred therapy allows the client to discover his or her own solutions, wherein the therapist acts as a compassionate facilitator. The client’s experiences, sentiments, ideas and thoughts are acknowledged without any judgement and with an accepting, unconditionally positive attitude. The therapist does not try to move the conversation in any particular direction, and guides the client’s therapeutic process without trying to disrupt or interfere with the flow of self-discovery and increasing self-awareness of the client.
This approach was parented by Carl Rogers, who passionately advocated the usage of the word “client” instead of “patient” for the individual seeking therapy. He emphasized the fact that the client who seeks such assistance is in control of their own destiny and must overcome their own difficulties. By using the term client, it is implied that the client is himself or herself in control over the process of client-centred therapy, and not the other way around.
A similarity between the ideas of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and Rogers’ approach is that they both believed that insights and lasting changes are born out of the therapeutic relationship. Rogers’ disagreed with the psychoanalytic view in terms of his belief that clients must be encouraged to focus on their subjective understanding of their present instead of unconscious motives that are alien to them, or a third person’s opinions or analysis of their circumstances. Another major difference is that in psychoanalysis, the therapist controls the direction of therapy whereas in person centred therapy, the therapist is believed to play the role of a non-directive, unconditionally accepting enabler who facilitates the process of change and development in the client.
Core Conditions of Person Centred Therapy
Three basic core conditions in person centred therapy reflect the attitude of the therapist towards the client. They are followed with great sensitivity and discipline in this approach. They are as follows:
Congruence With The Client: The therapist must be genuine with the client instead of putting up a front or an unnecessary façade in the process of client centred therapy. All in all, the therapist must remain authentic and true to himself or herself throughout the course of the treatment.
Unconditional Positive Regard: The therapist must accept the client as they are and make sure the client feels valued and comfortable as themself. The therapist remains careful in always maintaining a positive attitude and unconditionally giving away warmth to the client.
Accurate empathy: The therapist, through his training, develops an ability to sensitively and effectively understand the client and his or her feelings and is able to perceive the client’s internal frame of reference to the extent possible.
These core conditions set person centred therapy apart from many approaches and give it a unique quality in its process of trying to emphasize and non judgmentally understand the client’s uniqueness and enable the process of self-development and self-discovery in an organic manner.
Effectiveness of Client Centred Therapy
Numerous research papers confirm that the core conditions and principles of client centred therapy, that are congruence, unconditional positive regard and accurate empathy, prove to be very beneficial for the clients. This approach, as per the findings of a study, to be especially effective for individuals with common mental health concerns or conditions such as depression, anxiety and mood disorders. It might even be helpful for those experiencing severe symptoms. However, it is also criticized by many psychologists and researchers, as some studies suggest that the core factors utilized in person centered therapy might not be effective on their own.
Tips For Counsellors On Person Centred Therapy
Make sure that you have set appropriate boundaries and have ruled out the topics of conversation for every session. Also make sure that the client is informed on the duration of the treatment.
Do not be judgemental, period. If you pass the slightest of judgement or a negative opinion on what the client is talking about, they may lose that sense of comfort or might not ever be able to regain it with you. That means that they may not tell you about their problems or experiences wholly, authentically and honestly, which will render the whole process ineffectual.
Do not make any decisions for them, and do not try to drive the conversation in any particular direction. Let the client speak his or her own mind and hear them out with patience. Some clients might come to you with a tendency to shirk the responsibility of making their own decisions and choices in life. However, you must remind them that it is them and only them who can decide for themselves.
Accept them as they are, even when they are displaying negative emotions and it is making you feel uncomfortable. Your client might have negative feelings or opinions about you, themselves or their close friends and family. They may act out, and you will have to work with that. Give them warmth, peace and genuine calmness from your end, as these are crucial elements for their growth and development.
Be mindful of how and what you speak. Keep all kinds of verbal and nonverbal cues in your mind when you are trying to communicate with the client.
In the end, know that the client knows best for himself/herself. They will open up to you about their own problems in their own time, and you must not try to pinpoint problems or their solutions for them.
Client centred therapy has proved to be an effective treatment for many problems and its principle theories have impacted the field of psychology and contributed to various approaches, and other fields including medicine and education in innumerable ways. The narrative that Rogers passionately advocated that every human being has the capacity to fulfill his or her own potential transformed the earlier traditionally prototypical model of a therapist as the expert to an empowering one wherein empathy, warmth, and a non-directive approach is given the much needed emphasis. This positively affected the climate of the discipline of psychotherapy, helping the practitioners to learn, recognize and respect human potential to facilitate change.
Psychotherapy is a voluntary relationship between someone who requires and seeks treatment and someone who is willing to offer treatment and is trained in doing so i.e a psychotherapist. It is also known as talk therapy, counselling and psychosocial therapy. Broadly speaking, psychotherapy is a way to help people with mental illnesses and emotional difficulties. It is a powerful human connection that in itself is therapeutic and healing.
Some of the changes that psychotherapy can bring about are:
lessen emotional pressure
improve interpersonal relations
change thinking patterns
increase self awareness
and much more
The therapeutic relationship established between the client and the therapist, and the psychotherapy itself have a specific purpose, or a goal. It is to solve the psychological issue being faced by the client. Such a relationship is deep, with unconditional acceptance and positive regard for the client by the therapist, and empathy. This allows for a trusting environment in which the client can open up and express freely his or her problems with utmost honesty, which is also a prerequisite for the therapy to work properly.
Problems a Psychotherapist Can Help You With
Psychotherapy can help treat many psychological problems and disorders. The type of therapy that you’ll be going for depends on what issues you’re facing, the illness, and your individual preference and past experience with therapy (if any).
Following are a few of the illnesses that therapy can help you with:
Mood disorders: Depression or bipolar disorder.
Anxiety disorders: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, social anxiety disorder (SAD), etc.
Addictions: Alcohol addiction, drug dependence, or compulsive gambling.
Eating Disorders: Anorexia, bulimia nervosa.
Personality Disorders: Borderline personality disorder (BPD), and dependent personality disorder
Psychotherapy can prove to be just as effective or sometimes even more effective than medication as it tackles the problem at its core. However, medication may be crucial in some conditions.
Psychotherapy can also help you with the kind of challenges that we may face in some specific situations during our lifetime. It isn’t necessary to tackle your problems alone without being equipped with the right tools. Know that help is available and possible. Psychotherapy can thus help you with:
Managing unhealthy reactions and behaviour: Such as anger issues, road-rage, passive-aggressive behavior, etc.
Coping with stress: Such as workplace stress or other causes of stress
Overcoming and recovering from sexual and physical abuse or witnessing such an experience
Coping with life challenges: Like a death in the family or divorce, etc.
Resolving conflicts and improving any relationship
Coping with an ongoing major physical problem such as cancer, heart problems, etc
Getting better sleep
Psychotherapy can help you with becoming more self aware, knowing yourself and your personality well, navigating through life better and becoming a much more resilient person.
Types of Psychotherapy
There are numerous approaches in psychotherapy:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a short and efficacious treatment of many psychological problems. It is scientifically proven to be very effective for a wide range of disorders. It combines cognitive therapy approach with behaviour therapy approach. It equips the client with a dynamic variety of skills that help him/her tackle and identify his/her problems effectively.
Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
EMDR works by activating the brain’s neural capacity for healing from symptoms and emotional distress that results from disturbing experiences in the past. It is proven to be one of the most effective forms of therapy. EMDR therapy enables the accessing of the memory network that is associated with trauma. New associations are then made between the traumatic memories and the more adaptive information or memories stored in the brain. The brain’s information processing system then gradually moves towards better mental health.
According to the humanistic-existential approach, psychological distress arises from loneliness, alienation, meaninglessness and nonfulfillment in life. Therapy creates a permissive, non-judgemental atmosphere with complete acceptance and positive regard for the client which allows for free emotional expression that the society curbs. This leads to emotional integration of the client. The client himself/herself is responsible for the success of the therapy and the therapist is a mere enabler and a guide.
Psychodynamic therapy views intrapsychic conflicts i.e the conflicts between the parts of the psyche that are id, ego, and superego as the source of the psychological problems of a person. According to the psychodynamic theory, unresolved childhood fears and unfulfilled desires of childhood lead to such conflicts. For psychodynamic therapy, the client is mainly asked to talk about their problems while lying on a couch and being completely relaxed. This method is called free association. Another thing that the client is majorly required to do is reporting their dream. The duration of this therapy is usually several years. The outcome is emotional and intellectual insight and complete acceptance of one’s conflicts and the ability to change one’s emotional reaction to such conflicts. The distress is thus reduced.
According to this approach, the distress of the client arises from faulty behaviour or thought patterns which can be unlearnt. The focus, unlike with the psychodynamic approach, is completely on the present. Such patterns are corrected by means of negative reinforcement, positive reinforcement, aversive conditioning, token economy, systematic desensitization, modelling and vicarious learning.
Cognitive therapy approach locates the cause of psychological distress in the irrational thoughts and beliefs of the client. These therapies involve the antecedent-belief-consequence (ABC) analysis. Antecedent events cause distress, irrational beliefs distort reality and the consequence is negative emotions and unhealthy behaviours. Such irrational beliefs are refuted through non-directive questioning.
What to Expect in a Psychotherapy Session
In the first session of your therapy, you will be asked to fill a few forms regarding your situation and condition and what you need help with. The therapist will try to gather as much information about you as possible. This is necessary for picking a proper action plan and therapeutic approach well suited to your needs.
What your responsibility is to check whether the therapist’s approach works for you or not. The first session gives you a chance for the same. You need to make sure you know what type of therapy will be used for your sessions, the goals of your therapy, duration of each session, and how many sessions you will require to heal. If you don’t feel comfortable with any of this and your therapist, then you should see someone else.
Frequently Asked Questions on Psychotherapy
Q. Is therapy confidential?
Yes, therapy is a fully confidential treatment and it will be considered extremely unethical if any therapist discloses your information or anything that you’ve stated in any of the sessions. Thus, your privacy is always considered to be the utmost important thing for us.
Q. What do I do if therapy doesn’t help?
You then need to talk to your therapist. They may take a different action plan and set different goals for you. One of the most important things for therapy to work is your cooperation and honesty. So, communicate all issues to your therapist.
Physical wounds are easy to spot as they usually leave physical evidence of an injury such as a broken bone or blood. They also leave emotional evidence such as anxiety or pain. Emotional wounds, like physical, can leave physical evidence such as loss of appetite or sudden sickness. They also leave emotional evidence such as depression or anger. However they do not always leave evidence. These wounds are much harder to spot because they have been hidden or denied for so long but far more devastating in the end if not properly addressed.
To heal from a physical wound such as a large cut, you must begin by realizing that you have a wound. Then you need to asses if it is a wound you can manage or if it is a wound that you need help managing. Your next step is to clean out the wound, stitch the wound up if needed, and finally bandage the wound. Failure to clean out the wound effectively can lead to infection. Healing from an emotion wound works much the same way.
Realizing you are wounded. Emotional wounds are not as obvious as blood pouring out of your body but they do have some familiar signs. They can stem from any number of traumatic situations such as a death of a loved one, sexual or physical abuse, car accident, divorce, unexpected pregnancy, bankruptcy or witnessing a crime. Common signs of emotional wounds are depression, anxiety, anger outburst, isolation, change in interests, lacking enjoyment from life, and change in personality. Realizing you are wounded and by what is the first step.
Assessing your abilities. One of the hardest steps is to asses if you are able to manage the emotional wound yourself or if you need help managing it. It is extremely important that you accurately assess your abilities as in the example of a large cut, if you are wrong about your ability to manage the wound, the consequences can be lifelong. It is much harder to clean out an infected wound that has already been improperly healed than it is to deal with it when it is fresh. If you have recently experienced a traumatic situation, being honest with your abilities can be a life saving event.
Cleaning your wound. Thoroughly cleaning out a large cut can not only prevent infection but it will also help the wound to heal faster than if you left it alone. Cleaning out emotional wounds means revisiting the traumatic event and allowing yourself the freedom to feel the emotional pain. It is also a time to confess any responsibility you may have in contributing to the trauma. In the event of a large cut, you may have been handling a knife improperly; in the event of a traumatic situation, you may have ignored warning signs of danger.
Stitching your wound. Sometimes cleaning a large cut is not enough, you might need a few stitches to facilitate the healing process and ensure that it heals properly. Stitching up emotional wounds means you recognize how other areas of your life have been affected by the trauma. For instance, if your traumatic moment was verbal abuse by a parent, a spouse yelling at you could cause you to get overly angry and have an outburst. The wound of verbal abuse needs to be stitched up before dealing with your spouse.
Bandaging your wound. The last step in the physical healing of a large cut is to bandage it up to keep from re-injuring the area until it has fully healed. Emotionally speaking, bandaging up wounds is granting forgiveness, accepting a loss or gain of life, being satisfied with less income or being peaceful in the midst of a storm. Not that the pain has fully gone away or that there won’t be a scar left after the bandage has been taken off but rather there is calm where there used to be trauma.
All of these steps require time and patience with yourself and others as you begin to work through them. The best part of reaching the end of this journey is the ability to guide others along the way because it is in watching their healing take place that you are able to find meaning in yours.
The Gottman method was devised by Dr. John Gottman. It is a structured form of couple’s therapy. It is an approach which is based on 40 years of research with thousands of couples.
The Gottman Method for Healthy Relationships is a form of couples-based therapy and education that includes a thorough assessment of the couple relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory (SRH).
The Gottman Method Theory aims to increase :
Friendship and closeness in couples
Building a shared life together.
Being more attentive and considerate to your partner.
It does this by showing them ways to deal with problems and conflicts in a positive way. Not all conflicts have a solution, but the theory is that you can learn to live with it and not allow it to destroy your relationship.
Some of the relationship issues that may be addressed in therapy include:
Frequent conflict and arguments.
Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation.
Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting.
Even couples with “normal” levels of conflict may benefit from the Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
The Gottman Method identifies nine Principles, which the couple must work through together in order to nourish and maintain their relationship.
Build love maps – this will help partners to learn more about each other’s inner world, joys, hopes, and concerns.
Share fondness and admiration – regular expressions of appreciation and respect increase affection and reduce contempt.
Turn towards instead of away – state your needs, become more aware of bids for connection turn towards them. Small happy moments are the building blocks of a happy relationship.
Develop a positive perspective – a positive mindset improves problem-solving and repair attempts.
Manage conflict – conflict is a natural part of all relationships and it may have functional, positive effects. Couples need to understand how to solve problems that are solvable and manage problems that pop up repeatedly.
Make life dreams come true – create a comfortable environment where each partner is able to speak honestly about his or her dreams, values, and aspirations.
Create shared meaning – learn more about the myths, narratives, visions, and metaphors of the relationship.
Instill trust – it is vital that couples know their partner has their back.
Develop commitment – couples must act on the belief that their relationship is a lifelong journey for better or worse. If the relationship becomes worse, both partners must be willing to work to improve it.
Summary Based on Gottman Method
1. First Communicating with couples and evaluating
2. Second Modifying map of love
3. Third Strengthening the sense of attachment and praise
4. Fourth Taking steps to each other instead of turning backs on each other
5. Fifth Accept your partner’s influence
6. Sixth Solving solvable problems
7. Seventh Continuing to train the pattern for solving conflicts and remove obstacles
8. Eighth Goal of the sixth principle, overcoming the barriers of concept of impasse in
marital relations, identifying the impasse causes
9. Ninth The realization of common concept
10. Tenth Final discussion regarding the meetings and posttest
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EMDR therapy was first developed in 1987 by psychologist Francine Shapiro upon noticing that certain eye movements reduced the intensity of disturbing thought. This led to the development of a new type of psychotherapy known as EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
EMDR therapy has become a more common treatment in recent years as a treatment option for people suffering from:
EMDR therapy is a phased and focused approach to treat trauma and other symptoms by reconnecting with the client in a safe and measured way.
EMDR helps the person associated with trauma, and allows the natural healing powers of the brain to move towards an adaptive resolution.
In EMDR therapy sessions, you relive traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs your eye movements. This allows you to be exposed to the memories or thoughts without having a strong psychological response. Over time this technique is believed to lessen the impact that the memories or thoughts have on you.
How does EMDR Therapy works?
An EMDR treatment session consists of eight essential phases :
PHASE 1: History and treatment planning
The First phase of EMDR treatment includes an evaluation of client safety factors . This will determine client selection, including the client’s ability to withstand the potentially high levels of disturbance by the reprocessing.
PHASE 2: Preparation
Your therapist will then help you learn several different ways to cope with the emotional or psychological stress you’re experiencing. Stress management techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness may be used.
PHASE 3: Assessment
During the third phase of EMDR treatment, your therapist will identify the components of target and all the associated components (such as the physical sensations that are stimulated when you concentrate on an event) for each target memory.
PHASES 4-7: Treatment
In this desensitization phase, the client’s disturbing event is evaluated to change the trauma-related sensory experiences and associations.
Your therapist will then begin using EMDR therapy techniques to treat your targeted memories. During these sessions, you will be asked to focus on a negative thought, memory, or an image.
Your therapist will simultaneously have you do specific eye movements. The client is asked to attend both the target image and eye movement simultaneously and is instructed to have openness to whatever happens.
PHASE 8: Evaluation
In the final phase, you’ll be asked to evaluate your progress after these sessions. Your therapist will also perform an evaluation from their end.
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