Feeling Blue & Person-Centred Therapy
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Previously I wrote about psychodynamics and CBT. Today I'd like to put some insight into the huminitic approach introduced by Dr Carl Rogers in 1986 as an alternative to CBT or psychodynamic therapies. Thus, you can discover more options and pick the best one for you when you need therapy.
Firstly, I'd like to highlight the differences between CBT, psychodynamics and humanistic (person-centred) approaches. Thus, psychodynamics aims to get insight from your unconscious mind. At the same time, person-centred therapy focuses on the insight you derive from your feelings. Additionally, psychodynamics claims that early childhood experiences determine your personality and that you have little control over it, while PCT gives you free will. Thus, you can consciously shape your reality.
Moreover, PCT does not employ techniques, but places trust in your therapist's abilities to be non-judgmental and act upon an empathetic understanding of you and your problems. Thus, PCT is less formal, and the relationship with your therapist is less official. It is more like talking with a friend. Additionally, PCT differs from CBT and psychodynamics because it focuses on the present subjective understanding, not on the past and unconscious motives or someone else's interpretation of your problems and solutions. It only facilitates your self-healing process.
To make the therapy successful, your therapist must employ the key elements of the person-centred theory, such as congruence, so your therapist is more like a friend, not a doctor. Your therapist can admit if they do not know or understand something or recognize his/her limitations. Your therapist even can refer you to a different professional or therapist if he/she does not feel fit for the role of your therapist for whatever reason. There is no place for a professional mask as your therapist should be him/herself, as it is good enough to be an authentic self.
Moreover, you should receive unconditional positive regard from your PCT and feel entirely accepted regardless of your expressed views, behaviours, and morals that may be different from your therapist. Still, you feel accepted as a person as your therapist separates you from your actions.
Moreover, you may expect empathetic understanding so you feel understood. You feel that your therapist feels your feelings and what you are going through at this very moment, as your therapist can put him/herself in your shoes. Your therapist is there for you but does not pity you. Your therapist feels what you feel, how you feel at a given moment.
You can expect a non-possessive warmth from your therapist. You receive a warm, friendly attitude without forcing help or ideas of support on you. So, you feel accepted and liked/loved no matter what, as no one imposes ideas and do not take responsibility for your actions and the consequences of your actions. You are not judged and receive empathy, not sympathy.
The main aims of the therapy are to facilitate your individual growth and self-healing process. Therefore, you can self-improve, self-heal, self-grow, and self-actualize.
During humanistic therapy, you should feel accepted, understood, and heard.
For example, if you have complex problems related to long-term conflict with your family that involves losing distant relatives and old friends. This may lead to feeling isolated, lonely, worthless, and unaccepted. Then you may feel blue and go into drinking or other substance abuse to numb the pain, creating another big problem. In these circumstances, I'd rather recommend the person-centred-therapy as it gives you more freedom and less structure while still employing free association and allowing you to address and focus on multiple issues.
If you feel isolated, person-centred therapy may help create a friendly bond with your therapist, so you may feel entirely accepted, non-judged, but understood, which may help you build a sense of worth, which may be critical in the healing process for you. This may bring a positive attitude and help you open up even more. The fact that you are the one who comes within insight also may boost your confidence and self-esteem. Also, you can make a positive bond with another person, your therapist, that is not conflictual or toxic. Thus, you may realize that you can find other people in life and build new healthy relationships here and now.
However, if the drinking problem is more severe and the central theme, then I'd recommend CBT to address the addiction and depression or an addiction-oriented program. This is just an example, but if you need help, do not hesitate to ask for help. You matter, and people are willing to help. The world around us is not heaven, but you still can find some angels here, but be careful of the wolves in sheep's clothing.
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