Person centered therapy focuses at helping clients in the growth process so that they can better cope with the difficulties they are facing and with future difficulties. A person centered counsellor will help a depressed client by creating a helping relationship that helps the client explore ares of their life that are distorted (McLeod, 1998)
Case Study of Billy
Billy's self analysis shows that he feels helpless, powerless and incapable to make decisions or efficiently direct his own life. On the brighter side, he has quite a good idea of what he wants for his life. The person centered therapist relies on the self analysis as it tells of Billy's self -view. The therapist will work towards understanding him from his internal frame of reference. Billy has listed goals that he hopes to achieve during therapy. He is not motivated to change and seems skeptical about therapy. Given these situations, the person centered counselor still has faith in his ability channel his own path and trusts that he has within himself the necessary resources for personal growth. She encourages Billy to freely speak about the perceived discrepancy between the person he sees himself as being and the person he would like to become; about his feelings of being a disappointment, or not being man enough, being inadequate, about his concerns and hopelessness. The therapist strives to create an atmosphere of freedom and security that will encourage Billy to explore the threatening aspects of himself. To achieve this, the therapist listens intently to Billy and observes the manner in which he expresses himself. She attempts to be empathic by taking time to understand what it is like to live in his world. She conveys to him the basic attitudes of understanding and accepting, and by using positive regards he may be encouraged to drop his pretenses and defenses thus he can more fully and freely explore his personal concerns. The positive regard and acceptance is unconditional hence it is not dependent on the client's feelings and decisions.
Billy has poor self esteem and a poor evaluation of his self worth. He wants to be loved although he has difficulty believing that others really like him. He hopes to feel equal to others and a sense of acceptance and belonging. Billy needs to feel that the therapist is genuinely interested in him by creating a supportive, trusting and encouraging atmosphere. The relationship will serve as a learning tool for Billy to be more accepting of his weaknesses and strengths. He has the opportunity to openly talk about and face his reality and of being a failure, inadequate and hopelessness. He can explore how he feels judged by his family and peers. He is given a platform to explore his guilt feeling about not measuring up to his family's and his own expectations. He can explore his hurt feelings over not feeling loved and wanted. He can also explore the loneliness and isolation that he feels, and his addiction to alcohol and drugs as a means of dulling these feelings.
Point out to Billy that he is no longer totally alone, for he is taking the risk of letting his therapist into his private world. By letting the therapist in, Billy gradually gets a realistic view of his experiences and is able to accept and change his own feelings and attitudes. He becomes awareness that he has the capacity to master his own strengths and make his own decisions.The care and faith, Billy receives from the therapist helps him to increase his own faith and confidence in his ability to resolve his problems and create a new way of life.
Success of the therapy will be exhibited in the following ways:
- Billy sees himself in a more positive way and their behaviors should exhibit more flexibility and creativity.
- He will empower himself to direct his own life instead of looking outside or answers and using drugs and alcohol to escape from reality.
- He will come to appreciate itself as he is.
- He will be more aware of mental messages that are self defeating and less dependent on approval from others.
- Billy should be able to live life as he imagined,be more in touch with what he is experiencing at the present time, be less bound by the past and gradually trusting in themselves to successful manage their life (Corey, 2009)
Gerald Corey (2009) Theory and Practice of Couseling and Psychotherapy (8th ed) Brooks/Cole. Australia.
Mcleod John (1998) An introduction to Counselling (2nd ed) Open University Press. Buckingham.