A Person-Centred Approach

Being a person-centred therapist has many forms. My vision places the clients experience firmly at the centre of the process.

The following is an example…

Therapist: “How’s the pressure?

Client: “It’s fine.

Therapist: “I’d like to get it just right — perfect.

Client: “Huh?

Therapist: “We are going to run an experiment, I’ll try some different pressures and you tell me when it feels ‘really’ good or like it is doing what’s needed.

Client: “Ahh, that feels great, that is just right — it’s less strong than I expected.

Therapist: “Thanks, that’s helpful. Please tell me when you need more or less pressure or even a change of direction, for example…

What’s happening here? There are many things happening here. Here’s a description of two of them.

The role of the client

The client’s role in our person-centred approach is to be ‘actively’ at the centre of the process. This often takes a conceptual shift in the client, it can feel like hard work – why can’t someone just fix it? Of course sometimes someone can, but for long term conditions there is some part the client will need to play. Chronic problems usually take time and sustained effort to improve. Clarity regarding exactly where the issues are helps the therapist make better treatment choices.

The role of the therapist

A key role of the therapist is to assist the client in bringing their attention to their present moment experience, and to develop a language to describe it. There is a delicate balance required, too many ‘requests’ for information can keep clients out of their experience, too few allows a kind of dissociation, or drifting of the attention to a place where there is less work being done. Our role is to find the balance that meets each individual where they are, in that moment.