Person-centred basics: expertise of the person-centred counsellor – Dave Mearns & Brian Thorne

The fourth in our occasional series of person-centred fundamentals.

‘The person-centred counsellor must learn to wear her expertise as an invisible garment in order to be an effective counsellor. Experts are expected to dispense their expertise, to recommend what should be done, to offer authoritative guidance or even to issue orders. Clearly there are some areas of human experience where such expertise is essential and appropriate. Unfortunately, all too many of those who seek the help of counsellors have spent much of their lives surrounded by people who, with devastating inappropriateness, have appointed themselves experts in the conduct of other people’s lives. As a result such clients are in despair at their inability to fulfil the expectations of others, whether parents, teachers, colleagues or so-called friends, and have no sense of self-respect or personal worth. And yet, despite the damage they have already suffered at the hands of those who have tried to direct their lives for them, such people will often come to a counsellor searching for yet another expert to tell them what to do. Person-centred counsellors, while accepting and understanding this desperate need for external authority, will do all they can to avoid falling into the trap of fulfilling such a role. To do so would be to deny a central assumption of the approach, namely that the client can be trusted to find his own way forward if only the counsellor can be the kind of companion who is capable of encouraging a relationship where the client can begin, however tentatively, to feel safe and to experience the first intimations of self-acceptance.’

Person-centred Counselling in Action: Dave Mearns & Brian Thorne

Here’s the book link:-

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994


This entry was posted in acceptance, actualizing tendency, Brian Thorne, client as 'expert', conditions of worth, core conditions, cultural questions, Dave Mearns, Disconnection, empowerment, encounter, equality, ethics, external locus, internal locus of evaluation, non-directive counselling, person centred, person centred theory, power and powerlessness, presence, sadness & pain, self concept, self esteem, therapeutic growth, therapeutic relationship, trust, vulnerability, working with clients and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.