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Person Centered Therapy Essay

1439 words - 6 pages

A Brief Critique of Person Centered Therapy

Date of submission: 11.09.2008
A Brief Critique of Person Centered Therapy
“Existential therapy is a process of searching for the value and meaning in life” “(Corey, p. 131) with a focus on central concerns of the person’s existence; Such as death, freedom, existential isolation and meaningless. “Existential therapy can best be described as a philosophical approach that influences a counselor’s therapeutic practice” (Corey, p. 131). Founders of Existential Therapy include Soren Kagarra, Fredrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and Martin Buber. They employed ...view middle of the document...

“Once individuals recognize their role in creating their own life predicament, they also realize that they, and only they, have the power to change that situation” (Corey, p. 131). Some of the basic therapeutic goals include recognize the factors that block freedom, to challenge clients to recognize that they are doing something where they formally thought was happening to them. Finally, existential therapy requires that the client accepts the freedom and responsibility that go hand in hand with actions.
The therapeutic relationship is of paramount importance because of the quality of the encounter that takes place within therapy. “Existential therapists give central prominence to their relationship with the client. The relationship is important in itself because the quality of this person-to-person encounter in the therapeutic situation is the stimulus for positive change” (Corey, p. 148). Rather than prizing the therapeutic objectivity and having a professional distance, the existential therapist is fully present and strives to create caring relationships with their clients. Therapy is a caring relationship where the counselor accompanies the client on a journey of self discovery.
“The therapeutic alliance is the powerful joining of forces which energizes and supports the long, difficult, and frequently painful work of life-changing psychotherapy. The conception of the therapist here is not of a disinterested observer-technician but of a fully alive human companion for the client” (Corey, p. 148).
Techniques in existential therapy place an emphasis on understanding client’s current experience. Existential therapists are free to adapt their interventions to their own personality and style paying special attention to the client’s best interest. Therapists use techniques as tools to help people become aware of their choices and their potential for action. Although existential practitioners may integrate some techniques from other theoretical orientations their interventions are guided by the philosophical framework of what it really means to be human.
Existential therapy has made many great contributions to the world of counseling. Existential therapy brought out the focus on the humanity of the individual. The approach has something to offer counselors regardless of their theoretical orientation as it stresses self determination accepting the personal responsibility that accompanies freedom and viewing oneself as the authors of their own lives. There needs to be a self responsibility that is taking place within the client in all types of therapy. Existential therapy also provides a perspective in understanding the value of anxiety and guilt, the role and meaning of death, and creative aspects of being alone and choosing for oneself. A major strength of the approach is that it enables clients to examine the degree to which their behavior is being influenced by social and cultural conditioning.

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