The three core conditions of Carl Rogers are easy attributes for the Person Centred Counsellor to use: explore and discuss.
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The three core conditions of Carl Rogers are easy attributes for the Person Centred Counsellor to use: explore and discuss. The core conditions model introduced by Carl Rogers was originally a feat by Rogers to devise an empirical formulation of an approach to therapy that was already successful and widely implemented. Rogers attempted through his model to envelop the core concepts of his unique approach to clients specifying the features of an interpersonal environment facilitating actualisation and personal growth. The six conditions presented by Rogers (1957:95) provided a bold statement to alternative psychological perspectives by its claim that they were not just useful, but completely sufficient in themselves. They enabled the person-centred counsellor to form a relationship with the client that is healing, allowing the client to feel accepted and valued. According to Rogers, for productive and positive personality change to occur these conditions must be present continuously for them to be sufficient. This mode of working is dependant on the counsellor's ability to convey these qualities in terms of authentic and powerful presence (McLeod, 2003). Three concepts from the original model are the core conditions used in contemporary person-centred counselling, they include congruence, empathy and unconditional positive regard. This combination of attitudes and skills are also considered sufficient to facilitate therapeutic progress because the belief is that the relationship between counsellor and client (or person to person) is the central element in effective therapy (Dryden and Feltham, 2004).
How can a counsellor empathise with a client without identifying with what the client is explaining by recalling similar previous experiences? If Alfred's wife is killed in a car accident and when speaking to an acquaintance she claims to 'know just how he feels', Alfred is unlikely to be reassured by this and might question how she could possibly know how he is feeling, unless she had previously experienced the exact same thing (McNabb, Philosophynow.org). When identification such as this occurs in a counsellor/client relationship it can obstruct genuine empathy because counsellor's own feelings could get in the way of accurately understanding the client's (Sanders, 2002). Paradoxically, by Alfred assuming his friend couldn't not possibly know what he is feeling he is also claiming to know that she couldn't, that is to say, he is making an assertion as to how she is feeling (McNabb, Philosophynow.org). This argument might be resolved by the fact that many descriptions of empathy claim that is it to "try" to see another person's world from their own point of view. If the skill is defined merely by the attempt, then it would no doubt be easy for the counsellor to empathise. Congruence is also referred to as genuineness or authenticity in many texts and is to a counsellor's demonstration of honesty as an important element to both their character and their practice. It infers that the counsellor has an awareness and connection with their thoughts and feelings and the ability to judge when it is appropriate to express them (Dryden and Feltham, 2004).
Although the three core conditions are discussed here in separate forms, it is logical to assume the three are indissoluble in practice. A counsellor can not be empathic and accepting while be being inauthentic (Perraton Mountford, 2006). Amalgamated as one tool the counsellor should easily be able to implement the core conditions through effective counselling skills such as; listening, paraphrasing, summarising, asking questions, reflecting, helping people clarify their thoughts encouraging them to focus on key issues. These skills should be second nature for the counsellor as will the attempt to be genuine, respectful and empathic. Although sometimes these attempts will be difficult, for the majority of clients it should not be. As Perraton Mountford suggests in his article (Therapy Today 2006 p34); "I am inclined to think that this is just how it is to be human.". Words: 1,775 Reference: Barret-Lennard, G. (1993) 'The Phases and Focus of Empathy'. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 66, 3 - 14. Feltham, C. and Dryden, W. (2004) Dictionary of Counselling. Second Edition. London: Whurr Publishers Ltd. MacNabb, R. (2007) The Paradox of Empathy. (Online) Available; http://www.philosophynow.org/issue52/52mcnabb.htm (Dated Accessed: 13th November 2007). McLeod, J. (2003) An Introduction to Counselling. Third Edition. Berkshire: Open University Press. Nelson-Jones, R. (1997) Practical Counselling and Helping Skills. Fourth Edition. London: Cassell. Perraton Mountford, C. (2006) 'Take Six Core Conditions'. Therapy Today, 17(4), 31 - 34. Rogers, C.R. (1957) 'The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change'. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95 - 103. Sanders, P. (2002) First Steps in Counselling. Third Edition. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books. Andria Dawson AT42657 Page 1 12/03/2008
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