Sigmund Freud who probably is one of the most famous psychodynamic therapists known, used to have his ‘patients’ lie down on a couch and sit behind them so they could not see his face. He interpreted what they said, or even what they did not say in line with his scientific theories about the mind and mental illness. A few decades later an American, Carl Rogers, who was the instigator of the ‘Person Centred Approach’, sat facing his patients and used communication skills and body language to help the ‘person’ interpret their own problems. His practice was a stark contrast to Freud’s, yet both Rogers and Freud were successful. There has been focus on the role of the relationship ever since. Scientific understanding of the brain, as well as observed human behaviours and philosophical ideas have all led to an understanding of the importance for us, as people, to seek reassurance of our own experiences through others. (This is called intersubjectivity). My role as a counsellor is to provide you with a relationship that encourages you to be you and for you to experience another person (me) who is able to accept you in your totality. Carl Rogers wrote about certain core conditions counsellors should provide, I adhere to these;
Unconditional positive regard– I respect you for being you
Empathy– I empathise with your experiences
Congruence– I am true to myself and facilitate you to be true to yourself.