I this essay I intend to demonstrate my understanding of the Relational Approach and its underlying theory.
I will show throughout this essay that it is essential to understand relationships, their development and impact on humans. I am also going to discuss the concept of secure base and repeating relational patterns. I will then consider the implications of working with a culturally diverse population and how this effect the counsellor‘s way of being with the client.
At the heart of the client’s and counsellor relationship is empathy. I will look at the importance of empathy being applied within the therapeutic relationship.
I will illustrate this essay using examples from my own client base as well as referring to my own life experiences.
Relational model of counselling is a synthesis of both humanistic and psychodynamic theories. A central defining assumption of this approach is the importance of relations in the development of self, especially childhood and infancy. Environmental factors also play a crucial part (Stephen Mitchell 1988, 1993: Greenberg & Mitchell 1993).
The relational approach looks at the sum total of an individual’s relationships from early childhood through to adulthood, i.e. the present. In order to create the therapeutic alliance, an atmosphere of comfort should be established. Trust and reassurance become critical and mutual agreement must take place. Client and counsellor can best work together with a particular emphasis on clear contracting and clear stating of boundaries (Kahn 1991).
Throughout an individual life span personal development will be affected by the relationships with other people and objects. A person’s sense of self develops through relations with others (Rogers. 1961, Winnicott. 1990: Stern. 1985: Brazelton &Cramer. 1991).
Relations in the development of self are central to this theory as Holmes noted, and “physical and psychological dependency in infancy and childhood ensures