Counselling Skills

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Humanistic Theory

The term of Humanistic theory is an umbrella term. In fact it covers several approaches that embrace the idea of individuals being inherently good and a positive attitude towards humanity in essence. The most famous would be the person centered approach by Carl Rogers. Rogers studied Psychodynamic theory but his personality drove to focus more on feelings and less on the unconscious. He developed a form of therapy that was non-directive by the therapist, allowing the client to lead the session. Rogers considered the client to be the expert of himself, with the ability to heal himself if the conditions were right. He thought that interior growth in people would happened when we were experienced by someone else with no judgements, complete respect, acceptance and honesty. Rogers would call these the core conditions. To create these right conditions would be the task of the therapist.

Rogers defined these core conditions as : Empathy, Genuineness and Acceptance.

Empathy can be defined as understanding a situation from the other person's perspective. This understanding would then have to be communicated back to the client. Instead of taking a solving problem approach towards the issues the client might be presenting, the therapist would try to understand them from the point of view of the client, from the place the person is at that time. When this happens, the client feels that their view is valid, that there is value in their thoughts and that they are therefore accepted.

Genuineness can be defined as being open and real towards the client, admitting our imperfections if needed be. Rogers didn't believe in the therapist as an aloof, impersonal expert but as someone that was “transparently real” to his clients.

Genuineness can be communicated in different ways. It could be through our body language, by maintaining an open posture, not sitting behind a desk and not taking notes. It could also be by disclosing personal details

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