Brian Thorne on the awesome task of the person-centred therapist

‘The person-centred therapist is charged with the awesome task of becoming fully human and the core conditions are the applied practice of that task. It is as if the work of the professional therapist in the person-centred tradition constitutes a challenge of an existential and spiritual order under the deceptive guise of a professional identity. I often say to trainees that by determining to become person-centred therapists they have accepted the responsibility of furthering their own growth towards full humanity as a professional obligation. The core conditions, often so summarily dismissed or even sometimes affirmed by those who have no true understanding of them, are, in fact, an invitation to embrace a way of being which demands not less than everything. The commitment to constant self-exploration and self-awareness which is the prerequisite for the genuine expression of the self (congruence), the dedication to the expressed understanding of the other’s world (empathy) and the ability willingly to accept unconditionally the other person in all his or her kaleidoscopic uniqueness (unconditional positive regard) – this is the disciplined agenda of a lifetime. It can only be undertaken by someone who has a profound faith in the infinite worth of the human person, including himself or herself, despite the often considerable challenges to such faith from the destructive behaviour and denigration of persons by which our culture is frequently characterised and in which we are all implicated. As I listened to the mourners after Mary’s funeral* their testimony was clear and unequivocal. For them, Mary inspired and healed not because she was perfect but because she had glimpsed the glory of her own being and conveyed to others that they shared with her a common inheritance. Within the struggle and the anguish of the therapeutic relationship she had found the means of confirming the infinite value of the human person and in so doing she had conferred meaning on herself and others. What is more, she had revealed a resourcefulness and connectedness within the cosmos which is both exemplified and illuminated by the experience of relational depth made possible by the disciplined offering of the core conditions.’

The Mystical Power of Person-Centred Therapy: Hope Beyond Despair

*Mary Kilborn 1943-2000

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994


This entry was posted in acceptance, actualizing tendency, Brian Thorne, communication, congruence, consciousness, core conditions, cultural questions, empathy, empowerment, encounter, equality, ethics, grief, growth, healing, human condition, immanence, interconnection & belonging, internal locus of evaluation, kindness & compassion, loss, love, meaning, non-directive counselling, organismic experiencing, perception, person centred, person centred theory, power and powerlessness, presence, relationship, resilience, self concept, spirituality, therapeutic growth, therapeutic relationship, trust, unconditional positive regard, values & principles, vulnerability, working with clients and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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