The most rewarding exploration is discovering our true, perfect selves

What is Counselling?

“Learning to love yourself unconditionally is the greatest learning of all”

The British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) describes the key elements of counselling as:

  • A service provided when you wish to make changes in your life
  • An opportunity to make sense of your individual circumstances
  • Contact with a therapist who helps identify the choices for change
  • Support for the individual during their process of change
  • The end result leaving you better equipped to cope for the future
And what, specifically is Person-Centred or Client-Centred Counselling?

More specifically, Person, or Client-Centred counselling is based on the principle that people have an inherent capacity to move forward towards becoming fully functioning human beings. It is based on the belief that we all have the resources within us to make changes to our lives, or resolve crises and work through perfectly natural thoughts, feelings and reactions to abnormal situations.

Client-Centred therapy is based on what Carl Rogers' (previously a psychoanalytical therapist) discovered about his own clients,

A number of incidents helped me to experience the fact that it is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried. It began to occur to me that unless I had a need to demonstrate my own cleverness and learning, I would be better to rely upon the client for the direction of movement in the process. (Cited in Kirschenbaum and Henderson, 1989a:13)

Rogers realised that what people needed was to be listened to so that the therapist got a sense of who the client is , what troubled them and how they experienced themselves and their meanings, and that they could discover their own resources for coping, putting things right and resolving their own difficulties and dilemmas.

Therefore Person/Client-Centred therapy is about actively listening to the client and understanding empathically. Empathy, for Carl Rogers meant;

Entering into the private world of the other and becoming thoroughly at home with it. It involves being sensitive, moment by moment, to the changing felt meanings which flow from this other person, to the fear or rage or tenderness or confusion or whatever that s/he is experiencing … It includes communicating your sensings of the person’s world as you look with fresh and unfrightened eyes at elements of which he or she is fearful … You are a confident companion to the person in his or her inner world (Rogers, 1980, 142).

Empathy includes an understanding of someone else’s point of view, or frame of reference, which includes thoughts, beliefs, meanings and perceptions. The effect of this close empathic understanding is to create a relationship in which a person feels safer to explore more of their inner or hidden world of experiences and meaning. A Client-Centred therapist would attempt, by listening, checking their understanding of the clients and clarifying experiencing and meaning, to understand their client as deeply as possible.

As well as listening and trying hard to understand empathically a Client-Centred therapist will be non-directive, non-judgemental and genuine in the relationship. This results in a high quality therapeutic relationship, and it is the quality of the relationship that can be most healing.

Testimonial

I've been working with Annette for 14 months on my personal development. I'd been getting consistent feedback about my behaviour at work which was holding me back. There was nothing earth shattering, I just wasn't giving my best contribution and I needed to unlock whatever it was that I did or did not do which kept me stuck.

Annette was recommended to me by a professional coach whom I trust, so I started our sessions with an open mind and a willingness to change. Annette's style of working in partnership with me helped me be honest and frank from the first session. I was able to see my own limiting mind sets and behaviours with a fresh perspective and this created the conditions for deep personal and professional change.

Annette created the space for me to hear my own voice and explore my own thoughts, free from what others might want me to think, feel, or do. I was able to connect more deeply with my own personal purpose and from that place of strength I started to make small, safe changes over time.

In our sessions we used the humanality profiling tool. I'm familiar with many such tools but this one was new to me. The insight it provided helped me flex my style to meet the different preferences of colleagues at work. It also helped me understand why my some of my friends are the way they are and I've worked my way through some conflicting situations using an understanding of humanality types. After 14 months, using this logic comes naturally and both personal and professional relationships are benefiting.

The overall results from my sessions with Annette are remarkable. I've moved from the middle of my professional peer group at work to become the outstanding performer of the year. I work for a board member in a FTSE 100 and they have said the change in me is 'astonishing'. They have never seen anyone achieve the performance I've managed in such a short space of time and deliver such world class results.

At a personal level the changes I've made have helped improve my relationships at home and I've now been back at the gym for six months, so my energy levels and physical wellbeing has improved also.

I've invested 50 mins each week over 14 months working with Annette. It's been the best investment I've made.

Peter.
FAQs
What does Client-Centred mean in practice?

I believe, and it has been my experience, that when people are trusted to explore their problems or dilemmas at their own pace and depth, following their own agenda in an emotionally safe relationship (e.g. with a therapist) great insight, comfort and a sense of prizing of themselves can be achieved. In my view, therapy might feel as if you are talking to a trusted friend who has no agenda or personal investment in what decisions you make, what feelings you express or what different future you desire for yourself.

So what will happen if I come and see you, what will you do?

My aim is to let you do most of the talking while I listen very hard to what is important and meaningful to you, and what that feels like for you; how you experience it. I might ask a few questions to either clarify what I make of what you say, and I might summarise what you say to be sure I have it all. I would let you know if I didn’t quite get what you meant by something, and ask if you can explain it another way. I would try and put myself in your shoes and check with you that I understood or empathised accurately.