What is Humanistic Counselling?
Humanistic counselling is the most well known counselling model or therapy. It is actually a collective of psychological models or theories to form what is accepted as the most effective therapy for the most effective resolution of life’s challenges and problems.
It works on the belief that the human being has within them the skills needed to live a fully functioning existence and that all human beings have these resources within them as a kind of blue print for life.
Though there may be many barriers to these being available to us, the Humanistic counsellor will work with you to enable these inner resources to become a life long set of skills to help you self actualize or live authentically and happily.
Humanistic counselling or therapy is generally made up of at least these three psychological theories.
- Person or Client Centered Therapy Developed by American psychologist Carl Rogers, this model emphasises the connection between clients and their counsellor or therapist, it relies less on skills and more on the connection we make with another human being, the skills are seen as secondary to the unique connection built between a client and counsellor. The counsellor sees the client as equal in the relationship, they see the client as the expert on themselves and will enable the client to find their inner resources to enable them to find ways to deal and manage life’s challenges.
- Existential Theory Is based around what is known as the ‘Human Givens’, the aspects of Human life which we all have in common. They are Meaninglessness, Freedom and Responsibility, Death, Loneliness and Isolation. Most of life’s challenges and difficulties have their roots in one of these conditions. In Existential theory it is accepted that Human Beings are ultimately alone in the world and that this belief creates a need to connect with others and to feel valued and accepted by others, however, knowing this creates an anxiety and the awareness that ultimately we are alone and that our own happiness and validation must come from within ourselves and not from others. This maybe difficult for most people, especially if their basic needs were not met during their formative years. The counsellor will help you to learn to be happy and content within and not need validation from others.
- Gestalt Therapy Concentrates more on the ‘Here and Now’ and how the clients past may have an impact and influence how they live today. Role play or creative therapeutic writing are key elements of this model. Writing letters to people who have had an impact on our lives is very powerful, whether they are actually sent or just written for their therapeutic use, the writing of letters is very useful in resolving past hurts and this tool is widely used in therapeutic counselling.
Creating a working relationship
The relationship between client and counsellor is the major factor in Humanistic counselling, building a trusting, safe environment, a safe place for clients to express their fears and worries is very important. The Humanistic counsellor has a belief that the client is the expert on themselves, it may be that the person does not feel or know that they have the ability to live the life they desire, but the Humanistic counsellor will help and enable the client to unlock the inner strengths which he/she believes we all have within us. Once these beliefs and inner resources are realised, you will have the know how and skills to deal with all future life challenges and problems more effectively
Skills and Tools
The Humanistic counsellor relies much less than other therapists on tools or skills, though the counsellor is very skilled, the relationship and the connection between two people who travel the therapeutic journey together is more important. The three tools or skills which are seen as paramount are:
- Acceptance or unconditional positive regard (UPR) This is the counsellors positivity and acceptance of his/her client, it is essential to the therapeutic relationship that the client and counsellor create together a working, caring relationship.
- Genuineness or congruence means that the counsellor is more willing to share more of themselves with the client, this reduces any perception that the counsellor feels superior to the client , the counsellor truly believes that the relationship is equal and will foster that belief in the working relationship.
- Empathy is what happens when the counsellor truly listens, hears and really understands the feelings of his client, the ability to enter into the clients perception of their life and to see and feel things as the client experiences them. This kind of understanding is very rare outside of counselling, we may be listened to, but not fully understood, the power of feeling fully understood is extremely beneficial and feeling listened to and understood is a major step to therapeutic change.
Myself and other Humanistic counsellors or therapists believe, if these 3 core conditions are in place then therapeutic growth and change is likely to take place, these are the key aspects of Person Centered Counselling and they create a wonderful, close working relationship where change and development are possible and in most cases likely.
Online Humanistic Counselling
As with face to face Humanistic counselling, Humanistic counselling online maintains that the relationship is the major factor in the therapeutic experience. The fact that the counselling is online can in many ways be a benefit, here are some of them:
- Writing is very therapeutic and you can choose to save your session and read it back at your convenience
- You can learn a lot about your counsellor before you meet them and decide if you feel comfortable
- Online counselling is great for people with mobility or social phobias
- Online counselling is easily accessible from your home or workplace, or anywhere with an internet connection, even from your mobile telephone
- It is more convenient, no travelling or parking problems
- Confidential as only your counsellor will ever know you are having counselling
- Online counselling is often half the price of face to face counselling offering great value for money
So if you would like to make an investment that will last a whole lifetime, drop me a message and lets see what we can do to change the things that are holding you back. I look forward to working with you.
Paul – Online Humanistic counsellor