Person-Centred Therapy Over Time

In 'Person-Centered Therapy Over Time', David J. Cain demonstrates a contemporary version of Carl Rogers's pervasively influential approach, which focuses on how the quality of engagement and collaboration between therapist and client can create optimal conditions for growth. This empirically supported therapy emphasises therapist presence, empathic attunement, acceptance and affirmation of the client, and congruence or authenticity in the therapist. Person-centered therapy is based in the belief that clients are resourceful persons capable of taking responsibility for their lives and solving their own problems. It emphasises honouring and preserving clients' autonomy and choice, as well as the client's role as an active participant in all aspects of therapy. In essence, being person-centered means to create a therapy that fits the unique person of the client, so therapists consider clients as experts on what works best for them, and thus engage clients as cotherapists. In these sessions, Dr. Cain works with a young African American woman grieving the recent loss of her father. As therapy progresses, she comes to terms not only with her loss, but with troublesome aspects of her father's personality and behaviour, especially regarding his treatment of her sister. She also gradually learns to let others take responsibility for themselves and to let go of her role as the responsible one in her family and social relations. Throughout these sessions, Dr. Cain provides an empathic, affirming presence that enables the client to feel accepted and safe, and to develop insights about how she approaches life and her capacity to make effective choices.