Counselling and Psychotherapy can actually be traced back to the ancient Greeks! However, in more recent times (1900’s) Sigmund Freud introduced talking therapy. Freud’s style of therapy allowed treatment of mental illness to move away from the asylums and into therapy rooms. Since that point, there has been many advances in counselling and psychotherapy. There are over 400 different therapeutic approaches!
I studied person-centred experiential (PCE) therapy. Person-centred therapy was founded by Carl Rogers in the 1940’s. Rogers named six necessary and sufficient conditions for constructive personality change to occur (Rogers, 1957) but, in recent times therapists more commonly refer to the ‘core conditions’ which are:
Unconditional Positive Regard (otherwise known as ‘non-judgemental’)
The necessary and sufficient conditions give person-centred therapists a framework to work to, more than that it’s a set of attributes and attitudes that remain a part of me and my everyday life.
You will notice that I have not spoken about the ‘experiential’ part yet. This part is an advancement on person-centred theory. The focus here is on experiencing – that could be what you, the client is experiencing or even what I, the therapist is experiencing moment by moment. By offering these reflections and understanding your process behind these experiences, it brings new awareness which could then translate into a EUREKA moment!
Both approaches facilitate growth with the actualising tendency being the underpinning theory. The actualising tendency was founded again by Rogers who believed that all organisms have the potential for growth and that the answers they are seeking are within them. This is a theory that has always resonated with me and I hold on to that aspect even when you cannot yet see it for yourself.