Client-centered theory is not one built off of beautiful techniques and elaborate goals. It is a theory simply based on a relationship between a client and a therapist. The therapist has an unconditional positive regard for client. Carl Rogers is the mastermind behind client-centered therapy. Client-centered approach is not for every counselor. It is an attitudinal style of counseling. The counselor has to learn that the client is not defined by their personality, but is a person in the process of finding that personality. Counselors are simply there to create an environment where the client can feel free to explore their own insights.
Client-centered theory is always all about the client. Critique Strengths. Creating an environment where a client feels like they can be their self is a major strength. All client-centered therapists strive for that relationship that is filled with trust and unconditional positive regard. They spend time building rapport with the client that other theories simply say to skip over. Another strength is that the client is guiding the session, while the counselor is reflecting on the emotions and thoughts that the client has. Client-centered theory is also being used in other types of medical practice.
It is being implemented in occupational therapy or at least attempting to be. Wilkins, Pollock, Rochon, & Law (2001) believe that using client-centered theory would help in letting the client feel respected, supported and cared for when doing their occupational therapy. Wilkins, Pollock, Rochon, & Law (2001) found through their research of different clinics that client-center theory was able to make clients feel like their therapist genuinely cared about him. That is a definite strength for client-centered therapy, it shows that it can be implemented across practices and not just dealing with mental health concerns.
Weaknesses. Every different theory has been scrutinized and picked apart. Client-centered is no different. There are many theories who believe that clientcentered is a waste of time (Kirschenbaum & Jourdan, 2005) A weakness that follows a strength, is the strength of allowing the client to set their own goals. If the client does not set goals they are specific enough, or measurable enough. It would be hard for the counselor and the client to see where the client has succeeded (Moon, 2007).
An example of a client who desires some type of insight and the client centered therapist giving that client the insight through empathy responses, but the client actually wanted encouragement through support giving. Bohart and Byock (2005) initiated that clients could quite possibly take poor empathy responses and twist them around to be productive directions. There are clients who will take creative measures to misinterpret the therapist suggestions, but that is with every theory not specifically effect client-centered alone (Bohart & Byock, 2005).
There is no room for directing on behalf of the counselor, this trait is learned and practice through the years. Counselors are taught to help others, to help others see their underlying issues, but with client-centered counselors are only there to help facilitate the client’s own processes (Moon, 2007). That is not the easiest thing to do. There is a lot of theorist who think client-centered is the easy way out, but actually for the counselor is is harder not giving that advice or not telling what the client should do. Overall there are strengths to weaknesses to every theory out there.
Client-centered does an incredible of making sure that client’s needs are the most important part of the any therapy session. Underlying Assumptions The main underlying assumption is that the client is always in charge and being held responsible. There is a hopeful view of human nature. Humans crave relationships. They crave to have people care about them unconditionally (Rogers, 2013). There is assumption that client is their own vehicle for self-change. The client is capable of their own growth and is able to take responsibility for it (Brodely, 2006).
Client-centered theory gear from within the client, therefore the client in control of their own life it is just the counselor’s place to help them see that. Helping a client see their own capabilities is the main underlying focus of client-centered therapy. Role of the Therapist Client-centered therapist generally takes a backseat in therapy and they are viewed more as the laid back almost lazy of theorists. There are three major objectives of the therapist, congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding.
Congruence is referring to the inner combination and the wholeness of the counselor (Brodley, 2006). Congruence compels counselors to engage in individual’s own processes and behaviors that will continue to keep integration of their self. Brodley (2006) stated it is essential to the client’s view of the counselor as authentic and real in communicating empathy understanding and unconditional positive regard. Unconditional positive regard is referring to the counselor’s acceptance, nonjudgmental caring or unreserved approval of the client (Brodley, 2006).
It encompasses the counselor in an open-minded acceptance of clients, whatever clients are directly sharing about their own feelings, thoughts or actions (Brodely, 2006). Unconditional positive regard involves taking the person who is not regarding their thoughts or actions, and it contains caring for the client regardless of the client’s variances from the therapist (Rogers, 2015). This approach is expressed in the counselor’s presence as personal warmth. “Unconditional positive regard is not communicated explicitly; it is primarily implied by the absence of directions, interventions, and confrontations” stated Brodley in 2006.
The client-centered counselor must grow an ability for having a mentality that is free of wanting to diagnose the client (Knight, 2007). Empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference is going to refer to an attitude that generally encompasses the counselor in intentional verbal behavior (Moon, 2007). The counselor will devote their full attention to the client and to the client’s immediate life experiences and the way they communicate (Rogers, 2015). Empathic understanding does not happen one time, it is every time the client and counselor meet.
It is processional interaction of communication with the client. The counselor’s simple role is to live in the attitudes of the client, themselves while still interacting with the client (Brodley, 2006). This attitude is what defines the counselor’s purposes and then their purposes will shape the client’s reactions. Building warmth between the client and the therapist is also another role that they serve. Rogers (2013) wanted therapists to build a relationship that the foundation was an honest, real genuine relationship.
Creating an environment where the client felt comfortable enough to release whatever their own personal insights were most important to Rogers (2013). The role of therapist is different for every client. As the counselor and client meet, the counselor learns what the client needs from the therapist. In client-centered therapy, the counselor simply waits for the client to figure out themselves what they feel like is their needs and wants. Techniques Utilized Unlike other theories client-centered does not have a set of techniques a therapist can always pull out and use with a client.
The therapist engages in active listening and reflection of feelings and sometimes clarification (Knight, 2007). Focusing on the present and the experiences and expression of feelings are the beginnings of client-centered. Creating genuine and warmth empathy is another technique utilized (Knight, 2007). A technique that some client-centered therapist is employing is homework. Normally this is only done when the client wants to take a portion of the sessions home with them. If the client is the one who initiates the homework, the counselor will be glad to provide (Brodley, 2006).
The counselor never monitors the homework, they only will speak about homework if the client brings it up in the session first (Brodley, 2006). Brodley (2006) gave some examples of self-initiated homework-“writing journals, recording dreams, recording situations that bring anxiety, and writing down fantasies” (p. 149). Homework can help the client participate in the sessions outside of the therapy room. It allows the client to have more ownership in their therapy than if they were just sitting in a room talking (Knight, 2007).
Homework does not work with all clients, but it is a good way if they want it to have the client engaged in the counseling Acceptance is one of the keys of techniques in client-centered therapy. The client wants to feel like they could say anything in that room and they still feel like they are cared about and are not judged (Rogers, 2015). Therapeutic Goals Carl Rogers’s primary goal was not to aid the client in remember what actually happened to them or to discover a feeling that was distorted, but his goal was to help the client become free to experience whatever their own understandings pointed toward (Watchel, 2007).
In 2013, Rogers did not want to acknowledge the unconscious thoughts and feelings, but he wanted the client to see those thoughts and feelings were being obstructed by anxiety and self-ridicule. Client centered goal is to further develop the personality and not necessarily the discovery of what was already there. Brodley (2006) stated “good therapy requires that therapists not have goals for clients” (p. 143). Rogers would agree with that whole heartedly (Rogers, 2013). Termination is hard for any client and therapist relationship, and it is not any easier in client-centered.
Krebs (1972) stating that saying goodbye is a complicated thing, but best practice is to allow the client to feel the sadness and then allow them to see where they have come from. The client can then really see them self for who they are. The client can see that they came up with their own goals and their own therapeutic goals, which means they can do this world without their therapist by their side. If the therapist has helped the client reach this point in client-centered therapy they have reach the ultimate goals that they client did not even know was set (Krebs, 1972).
Relationship between Client and Therapist Carl Rogers, who is still similar to contemporary relational theorists today, remind society that the foundation of any effective therapy is a relationship (Kirschenbaum & Jourdan, 2005). Being in a relationship with a client, while a vital basis key, is necessary but not sufficient (Watchel, 2007). There different types of relationships between client and therapist some are good relationships and others are bad relationships, then there is therapeutic relationships and relationships that eventually counter act the therapeutic (Watchel, 2007).
One of the most significant themes Rogers made is that the therapeutic relationship is not something unique and different from the rest of the world. But yet it shares a lot in common with normal every day human relationships (Watchel, 2007). The types of bond and the kind of support that people seek are much wider than what tends to be incorporated by any of the specific theories. And each of those theories come with their own ideology and their own set of blinders to block out the different things from the world (Rogers, 2013).
In the relationships and connections that occupy the lives of people, they do often pursue not only being listened to, but also understood without giving the person unwanted advice (Watchel, 2007). Humans are relationship creatures. They were built to have relationships. There are not many people on the world, who live without any type of relationship in their everyday life. People yearn for someone to listen to their thoughts and their wants, and when a person finally gets that they will understand all the advice in the world.
In client centered therapy the most important thing is that relationship between the client and the therapist. Conclusion Client-centered theory is a human theory. It recognizes that the client is not just a client, but also a person, which is where the newer name comes from person-centered theory. People crave relationships, and there are times that people do not need advice or other forms of responses. They literally need someone to sit there and listen to him in an unconditional, judgment-free way. Client-centered is that method.
Client centered and person-centered are becoming one, but they still have different theorist that back up the two different theories (Kirschenbaum & Jourdan, 2005). Client-centeredness will occur along a range depending on the ability of the client to take control of their own situation. Being aware of having that own power is a trait that can be found in client-center therapy. The client is a safe, judgment-free zone, they are free to speak on any topic they choose. The therapist is along for the ride.