Person-centred therapy is about giving someone the time to lead their own recovery.
Counsellors are there to guide, not to be a chauffeur, and not to be a back-seat driver.
When I had therapy at the training institute I had, I think, four different therapists.
One of them pushed me a lot and was also the only male. This may be a gender difference but I’ve not had another male therapist to compare him to. He insisted that I made eye contact for the duration of the session and kept telling me to look at him when I was talking to him. It’s a lot more difficult to be evasive and pontificate when you are directly looking at someone. He pushed me to try and have one more go at having a proper conversation with my father. I did eventually do it, after we had finished therapy and didn’t get anywhere. I was sort of glad I tried but I also recognised that I wouldn’t try again and that I wouldn’t have done it without being pushed. I think possibly the counsellor wanted to achieve something with me, to feel that he’d got me on the right track.
Of the other three, one was good, one was OK and one was useless. The useless one was incredibly patient, didn’t push me and didn’t guide me anywhere near enough. I felt safe but also that the sessions just weren’t going anywhere. It felt as if I’d gone out for a drink with an acquaintance and had a nice time. It was frustrating and eventually I said so and we sort of discussed it but the therapy just petered out and at that point I decided not to continue.
I have talked about this occasionally with my therapist. She is very comfortable and easy going with me but she also asks good questions and gives good guidance. In two of recent sessions I had I really pushed myself to say things never said before. When we talked about relationships we talked about sex and I found that extremely difficult.
This was my choice though and we had spent enough time together for me to feel safe enough to say these things.
Which is all well and good but time is money, especially with therapy and a year costs £2,500. It’s not cheap. On the other hand I have said more and got further that I have with all the short term therapists so I’m not saying it’s not worth it.
If someone comes to therapy and says they’ve only got 12 sessions, because that’s all that’s funded or that they can afford, how does that affect therapy? They might have a short problem that can be easily resolved but they might not.
What happens about finishing? If a client doesn’t say that’s it, I’m done, can the therapist? The client can always benefit from more and further insight but there come a point when they’ve covered the basics. The therapist gets paid regardless. How do you be a responsible therapist and leave a client when the time is right.