Person-centred counselling – working with all client's needs

Each client I work with is a unique experience, and the relationship and the work is always different but nevertheless a rewarding journey. The type of counselling I offer is what is commonly referred to as person-centred counselling, which is client-led and was developed by Psychologist Carl Rogers, but also further developed by a number of other practitioners over the years. In essence, clients attend sessions in a state of incongruence, be it to work through an element of their life which is holding them back, or to support a long-standing issue. The work we carry out can allow the client to come to a point where they are able to gather confidence and develop skill sets to move forward on their own, or to have a support system over a longer period of time.

To break this down further, I will speak in brief about the experiences of working with a number of clients, starting with an older male client whom I worked with a number of years ago. For the purpose of this article, he will be known as client A. Client A had worked with a number of counsellors over the years but had found the work we had done together around his relationships in particular very rewarding. The client compared the work to looking in the mirror, where he was able to express otherwise confusing thoughts and feelings. Through our work, these were reflected back to him in such a way that he was able to make sense of them and to work out a clear path forward. When this client finished the sessions, it was the first time he had made the decision to finish with a counsellor due to reaching a point where he no longer required the support. Reflection of your own words can often pin point thoughts you were unaware of and lead to a resolution you had not yes realised; hence it is an import part of person-centred work.

My work with clients can take on many directions, and the pace can change dependent on the client's requirements. A younger male who we will refer to as client B, whom I worked with over a period of about a year, had a number of issues related to grief, bereavement and family relationships and had found his work with previous therapists too unstructured. He commented that the previous work he had carried out felt just like catching up for a chat. With this in mind, we worked together to form a structured approach which suited the client's working style where each week we would focus in on a different topic, and I was asked to challenge the client's thoughts to encourage changes in direction.

I have also worked with clients on the autism spectrum, and during my study of my counselling qualification carried out a specific case study on working with this client group. This project was effective in allowing me to understand how autism clients see the world, but also to understand and appreciate areas such as accessing services for clients with autistic children for family members and the impact is has on them. Counselling for clients on the autism spectrum can be difficult, as many clients can be in an alien environment where they may feel alarmed by the thought of working in close contact with another person. Person-centred counselling in this regards always works at the client's pace, and is led by work the client is comfortable with, regardless of their circumstances. During my work with autistic clients, I have worked to help them feel comfortable with social skills and communication as well as on developing friendships, family connections and relationships.

For some clients, the most rewarding element of the work is just having a space to share areas of their life where they have no other person or place where they can express themselves. An elderly client I worked with over a period of three years, whom I will refer to as client C, struggled with early symptoms associated with dementia. For this client, each session allowed the client to reflect on life choices, relationships and friendships both old and new, and was highly effective in terms of keeping memories alive and making sense of her world.

Irrespective of the client group or area, my work is always focused on the client's need, and I work with them to make sense of their world as everyone’s story is unique and just as important. Please contact me on the details as enclosed if you would like further information or have any questions about my work.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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