The Person Centred Approach to Psychotherapy is based on the belief in the life force of the organism, the forces of life within the person that inherently knows what is good for them or what is the right pathway to move along, the one that will encourage them to reach their fullest potential.
This particular style of therapy sees the correct psychological environment as essential so that the child feels free from physical and psychological threat.
This is not achieved through arranging the furniture or having nice lights and bright colours, it is achieved through the relationship with the therapist. The therapist, who understands the child’s needs, desires deeply; who is empathic. The therapist who accepts the child unconditionally and who is very honest in herself and with the other.
Carl Rogers the founder of the Person-centred approach said:
“…deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another”
Empathy is putting yourself into another’s skin to feel their pain/frustration; their joy etc. to resonate with them as oppose to seeing yourself as separate or superior in any way. To sense accurately the feelings and meanings of these feelings that the person is experiencing and communicating this understanding to them; having a real sensitive and active listening ability is one of the most potent forces for change (Rogers 1980)
Trusting in the person:
To encourage change the therapist accepts completely the person and their immediate and moment to moment feelings, expressions without wanting to change them or control them in any way. Rather to welcome them, their behaviours and attitudes with an acceptant loving attitude herself; respecting their opinions, their ways as worthy and knowing that this person is fundamentally trustworthy.
The more the therapist is real without any professional or personal masks the person will respond beautifully. Just as she accepts unconditionally their experience, so the therapist is openly living the feelings and attitudes that are running through her.
Person Centred Psychotherapy traditionally has been a talking therapy but what about those people who do not talk? Who find talking difficult or on the other hand, who when they do talk have such a hard time either articulating or being heard or even understanding themselves or their own vocabulary?
Through movement, we have the opportunity to meet in ways which are inaccessible through talking, we open up a whole new language!
Humanistic Psychology grew from the theories of Carl Rogers and of Abraham Maslow, a holistic approach if you like toward the positive side of human nature. It shows us that in order to reach our fullest potential we must have certain needs met.