BASIC PREMISES AND PHILOSOPHY: Create a warm, caring, and nurturing environment for clients to facilitate trust and openness to structure a climate for clients to learn. Core conditions for change to take place are: contact, genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Focus should remain on the human experience, not on the problem (person centered vs. problem centered).
COUNSELING GOALS: To make clients feel valued, understood and empowered. Offer a sense of hope and potential for clients to move past their dilemmas.
ROLE OF COUNSELOR: Provide warmth and human contact. Be fully and completely attentive. Have and demonstrate openness and unconditional POSITIVE regard for clients. Provide support, trust, and caring through authenticity, warmth, and genuineness. Immediacy—pointing out ways behavior is unfolding in the moment. Demonstrate empathy and congruence. Focus on affect and feelings. Use active/reflective listening.
ROLE OF CLIENT: Be willing to discuss feelings and develop trust and good repoire with counselor. Be prepared to discuss abstract concepts and explore ambiguity. Be self-directed and motivated.
USEFUL WITH WHAT POPULATIONS AND TYPES OF PROBLEMS: Best with clients who are willing to take time for therapy and are not as interested in quick fixes or especially goal focused. Also effective for clients who are willing to be self-directed and motivated. Good for a large variety of populations and agencies or environments. Generally serves as an effective basis for communicating with others and problem solving by establishing positive relationships.
TERMS: reflective listening, immediacy, authenticity, empathy, acceptance, unconditional positive regard, person-centered vs. problem centered