Essay: Counseling Theory and Practice

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¶ … Therapeutic Relationship

Core Conditions of the Therapeutic Relationship

The concept of core conditions in the therapeutic relationship originated from Carl Rogers in his person centered approach. Rogers identified the necessary elements of genuineness, empathy, and acceptance as being imperative for building a working relationship with a client (Watts, 1996). These conditions are believed to become a part of the counselor's persona through personal growth and maturity rather than a direct result of an education or training program (Gallagher & Hargie, 1992). According to Roger's theory, the success of the therapeutic relationship is based upon the client's perception of these core conditions in the counselor (Cramer, 1990).

Empathy has been described as the ability to frame an experience through the eyes of the client and then using this view to communicate understanding to the client (Watts, 1996). Unconditional positive regard is directly related to empathy in that taking on the viewpoint of another indicates that you are interested in being a part of the world that they live in (Watts, 1996). When defined alone, unconditional positive regard is the nonjudgmental acceptance of all aspects of the client, both positive and negative, by the therapist (Watts, 1996). Genuineness, also referred to as congruence, is also a key factor in developing a therapeutic relationship and can be expressed through the ability of the therapist to be themselves in the counseling setting (Watts, 1996). This includes the expression of the feelings that the client's behavior has on them as well as any emotional responses these behaviors may bring out.

When operationalized, the core concepts have been linked to both verbal and nonverbal behaviors such as body language, openness, and making eye contact (Gallagher & Hargie, 1992). Interactions with the counselor have also been associated with the core concepts such as asking open ended questions, reflective listening, restating, and demonstrations of positive affect (Gallagher & Hargie, 1992). It is believed that the development of these core conditions comes from the counselor's ability to develop self-awareness (Gallagher & Hargie, 1992). The client must perceive the presence of these core conditions in order to gain treatment improvements (Cramer, 1990). Each client is treated as an individual and their unique characteristics and viewpoints are both… [END OF PREVIEW]

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