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Siginificant Aspects of Client-Centered Therapy


recorded,
pointing out the characteristic aspects, and agreeing to play later interviews for them to
let them
see the later phases of the counseling process. The fact that I knew with assurance what
the
later pattern would be before it had occurred only struck me as I thought about the
incident. We
have become clinically so accustomed to this predictable quality that we take it for
granted.
Perhaps a brief summarized description of this therapeutic process will indicate those
elements
of which we feel sure.
It may be said that we now know how to initiate a complex and predictable chain of
events in
dealing with the maladjusted individual, a chain of events which is therapeutic, and
which
operates effectively in problem situations of the most diverse type. This predictable chain
of
events may come about through the use of language as in counseling, through symbolic
language, as in play therapy, through disguised language as in drama or puppet therapy.
It is
effective in dealing with individual situations, and also in small group situations.
It is possible to state with some exactness the conditions which must be met in order to
initiate
and carry through this releasing therapeutic experience. Below are listed in brief form the
conditions which seem to be necessary, and the therapeutic results which occur.
This experience which releases the growth forces within the individual will come about in
most
cases if the following elements are present.
(1) If the counselor operates on the principle that the individual is basically responsible
for
himself, and is willing for the individual to keep that responsibility.
(2) If the counselor operates on the principle that the client has a strong drive to become
mature, socially adjusted. independent, productive, and relies on this force, not on his
own
powers, for therapeutic change.
(3) If the counselor creates a warm and permissive atmosphere in which the individual is
free to
bring out any attitudes and feelings which he may have, no matter how unconventional,
absurd,
or contradictory these attitudes may be. The client is as free to withhold expression as
he is to
give expression to his feelings.
(4) If the limits which are set are simple limits set on behavior, and not limits set on
attitudes.
(This applies mostly to children. The child may not be permitted to break a window or
leave the
room. but he is free to feel like breaking a window, and the feeling is fully accepted. The
adult
client may not be permitted more than an hour for an interview, but there is full
acceptance of
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