Rogers states that the most vital factor in a successful therapy relationship
is moulded by the therapist’s attitude towards their client. Rogers added that, “It is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what
problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried.” Rogers
(1951, 2004) p62 citated in Culley & Bond (2011). Although, person centred
counselling is a non-directive style of counselling, it empowers the client.
The advantage of this approach is, it is more beneficial to individuals who
have the strong will power to explore themselves and linking this into my practice,
Rogers statement to say the client knows what hurts, does not apply to all
circumstances. In our practice, some of our clients that have dementia, physical
and mental disabilities so some of these clients may not even be aware of what
they need to live a life that is worthy. They do not have the mental capacity
to know and decide what is wrong and what is right for them. Therefore, these
clients might not even know what their problems are, in this case these clients
are protected by the Mental Health Capacity Act (2005) and Safeguarding of
core conditions of counselling that Rogers identified are all inter-linked and
he believed that these are necessary if clients are to make progress in
counselling, Rogers (1951). These conditions are supported with some skills for
counselling to be more effective. Online,
http://www.thecounsellorsguide.co.uk/active-listening-skills.html. In a
counselling relationship Rogers, describes congruence as genuineness and he
regarded it as a quality of honest, sincerity and authenticity. He suggests
that for the counsellor to be congruent with clients, counsellors need to be
honest. Hough (2013) p. 151. Rogers believed that transparency of the therapist
and willingness to listen to their story client would build and strengthen
relations between the therapist and client Rogers (1957).
(1994) an American Professor of Organisation Studies, formed a 3 stage skilled
helper model which also believes in the 3 core conditions which are congruence,
empathy and the unconditional positive regard (UPR), which Rogers (1959)
believes into as well. The skilled helper is used by professionals such as
doctors, social welfare workers, teachers, psychologists, ministers of religion,
just to name a few Hough (2013) p.18. Unlike Rogers, Egan’s Skilled Helper Model
uses a directive approach. Egan’s skilled helper model is much focused on
problem solving, predicting when a problem is about to happen and preventing
the problem before it happens. In other words, it is a solution focused model.
The skilled helper model assists their client to develop and acquire skills
which are then applied to solve both current and future problems Egan (1994).
The use of open questions helps the client to talk more. The clients are
encouraged to utilise external resources and support groups to realise their
potential. This model helps clients to apply skills that will lead to realistic
and achievable goals. The skilled helper model is different from person -centred
counselling in the fact that, it’s a non-directive approach. There is no
challenging involved in the person-centred counselling Rogers (1957).
the first stage of the skilled helper is exploration and this is whereby the
counsellor has an initial meeting with client and the counsellor is trying to
find out more about the client, Egan (1994). This stage the same as Rogers
person centred theory whereby both client and therapist are getting to know one
another. It is important for the counsellor to introduce themselves, the
company they represent and what they do. It is at this stage whereby the
counsellor is trying to establish the difficulties that the client might be having.
This stage requires clarification and identification of the client’s problems
that needs priority and to know the level of seriousness and the urgency of the
issues that the client has, Culley & Bond (2011) p16. To help the
counsellor to achieve this, there are some important basic skills which are
useful and one of them is active listening. This is a very important skill and if
combined with reflecting, it helps to achieve empathy. Active listening is a
technique which is used in counselling and l use it in my practice Culley
(2011) p17. I am a support worker in my work place, and my responsibility
is to make sure that the learning disability clients in our care setting are
properly cared for and supported to make their lives as comfortable as possible
therefore, active listening and communication is of paramount importance to
both staff and clients. This technique is used daily and can be divided by two
components which are verbal and non-verbal communication. When actively listening,
one should pay attention to what is being said and observing the body language,
Culley (2011) p27-60.
Active listening and attending affects and
adds value to each other, Hough p.50. Listening carefully with all your senses
and paying much attention even to the client’s body gestures during a
conversation will make it easier to paraphrase and reflect on what the client
has said, and the body language can represent feelings. Paraphrasing and
reflecting should be done through checking with client, repeating what they
have said to you using your own words to verify understanding and feelings.
Although paraphrasing and reflecting is recommended as a way of checking your
understanding of what is being said, Nelson-Jones (2005) argues, that it is not
always necessary to paraphrase all the time, but only to do it when necessary.
This is evidenced by the reaction of some of my clients as they usually get
upset if you repeat something to them often. In my evaluation, l share the same
idea with Jones (2005) that the counsellor must make their own judgement as to
how many times one should make the use paraphrasing in each situation as this
appears to irritate others in some circumstances.
stage of the skilled helper model is challenging and this involves brain storming
and creative thinking. This is done by the counsellor to encourage the client
to explore other options of solving their problem Egan (2002). The client is
still the main priority in this problem solving but, the counsellor may help to
identify the area in which progress may be implemented. This is the stage to look
at the blind spots and challenge them by finding a way to solve the problems or
concerns Egan (1994). In the 3rd and final stage of the skilled
helper, the action and implementation of the new plans looking to move forward
are applied. The skilled helper model is also applied in some areas of my work.
We do safeguarding of our vulnerable clients; therefore, we look at the current
and future situation. An example is when our client X moved into our setting,
she was young and managing to walk down some steps through the lounge but,
after a recent near miss accident, an assessment was carried out and a new hand
rail was installed in the lounge for her to pass through with easy access. We
are assisted with tools such as care plans and some monthly or weekly reviews
which we carry out regularly. This is focusing on both current and future
situations. There are measurable and realistic targets that we set as per
individuals according to their needs. This allows us to solve current problems
and focus on the future.
defined empathy as a level of understanding that must be accomplished by the
therapist to the client, Rogers (1957). In the early 1900s, there were some
definitions of empathy in psychology and psychiatry by other researchers.
Empathy was a great therapeutic connection with the client’s experience. (Clark
2004, Feller & Cottone, 2003; Pigman, 1995). Although, Rogers (1957)
believed empathy was a requirement in person centred counselling and mental
health, Clark (2004) questions if empathy was the only necessary and sufficient
condition of the therapeutic process. Rogers suggests that the counsellor ought
to feel the client’s world like his own and show this understanding to the
client. He refers this as taking a client’s frame of reference meaning an
understanding of the client or how they perceive the issue on their client’s
hand (Rogers, 1957,1959). Unlike Truax (1967) and Carkhuff (1969) who successfully
described empathy for use in training programs, but Roger’s work did not
provide specifications on basic or advanced empathy. Rogers believed that if
the three core conditions namely congruence, unconditional positive regard and
empathy are met, clients are more likely to engage willingly and this will
facilitate personal growth hence moving towards self -actualization, Rogers
(1957). Although Rogers core conditions are important they are not sufficient
on their own.
conclusion to this essay, I have learnt to keep some reflective journals as recommended
by Barbra Bassot (2016). The reflective journal will help me to understand
myself more and to take a deeper approach to my personal development where l
gained a lot of knowledge and understanding through learning and applying new
skills. These skills learnt will not only be beneficial to me l will apply them
at work and use them when helping my family and friends.