‘… each individual asks of himself – what is the goal, the purpose, of my life? I have tried to tell you what I have learned from my clients, who in the therapeutic relationship, with its freedom from threat and freedom of choice, exemplify in their lives a commonality of direction and goal.
I have pointed out that they tend to move away from self-concealment, away from being the expectations of others. The characteristic movement, I have said, is for the client to permit himself freely to be the changing, fluid, process which he is. He moves also toward a friendly openness to what is going on within him – learning to listen sensitively to himself. This means that he is increasingly a harmony of complex sensings and reactions, rather than being the clarity and simplicity of rigidity. It means that as he moves toward acceptance of the “is-ness” of himself, he accepts others increasingly in the same listening, understanding way. He trusts and values the complex inner processes of himself, as they emerge toward expression. He is creatively realistic, and realistically creative. He finds that to be this process in himself is to maximise the rate of change and growth in himself. He is continually engaged in discovering that to be all of himself in this fluid sense is not synonymous with being evil or uncontrolled. It is instead to feel a growing pride in being a sensitive, open, realistic, inner-directed member of the human species, adapting with courage and imagination to the complexities of the changing situation. It means taking continual steps toward being, in awareness and in expression, that which is congruent with one’s total organismic reactions. To use Kierkegaard’s more aesthetically satisfying terms, it means “to be that self which one truly is.” I trust I have made it evident that this is not an easy direction to move, nor one which is ever completed. It is a continuing way of life.”
Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy
Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter
Counselling Exeter since 1994