Carl Rogers, the father of person centred therapy, revolutionised counselling and psychotherapy. Roger’s articulated a philosophy of being. His main hypothesis was that “Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes, and self-directed behaviour; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided” (Rogers 1980, p.115) by a therapist, in a client-therapist relationship.
The relationship creates a safe therapeutic space so the client then has the freedom to choose who they really are. This allows a client go behind their roles and masks, examine how they are living, how they think they ought to, to go into the frightening realm of the unknown, discover the full breadth of experience of feelings, and experience all the parts of themselves which have been hidden. The result is a unique person, who is more open to his own experience, who is less defensive, whose reality is less distorted by previous experience, who can trust himself and his experience, and as a result, can choose behaviour suitable, even in the face of contradictory feelings.
The process engages a person’s creativity, it moves the locus of evaluation, from an external one, where the client relies or looks to others for approval or choices, to an internal one. A person can then create a life which is rich and is truly satisfying. It is an ongoing process of becoming. (Rogers, 1961). The process leads to empowerment, a sense of personal responsibility and an ability to make conscious aware choices.
The core conditions of congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathetic understanding exist over time. As a client is listened to with acceptance, clients then “gradually learn how to listen more acceptingly to themselves” (Corey 2009, p.173). As they are cared for and valued by the therapist, then clients will give that to themselves. Client’s learn to value themselves as they experience congruence and realness from the therapist. This self-actualising journey is shared by the client and therapist, as the therapist is on the same journey (Corey 2009). The counselling journey is both intensive and extensive.
If you would like to explore how to be more trusting of your own self, then then consider making an appointment with Bronwyn, an experienced counsellor at Your Path Psychotherapy and Counselling, in her rooms in Remuera, Auckland.
Corey, G. (2009). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Eighth ed, Thomson Brooks/Cole, CA.
Rogers, C R. (1980) A Way of Being, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.
Rogers, C.R. (1961) On Becoming a Person. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.