The title above is the key point of client-centered therapy. It is true, that the most important thing to do as a counselor is to be able to listen. Not just with our ears, but with our hearts. By listening to the problems that our clients have, they will feel that we respect them and we really want to help them. When we just ‘hear’ to what they say, then we won’t be able to grasp the essence of their problems. No wonder, we won’t be able to help them.
In client-centered therapy, the center of the therapy is the client. We listen to what they say. We clarify if we want to make sure that we understand of what they are saying. We do not interrupt. We do not guess of what they will say or do. We don not judge, whatever they say. We listen to them ….
David Goodwin, in one of his classes, said that client-centered therapy is his best tool, to gain information from clients, no matter how old or how young is his client. He always made a big step of understanding his client’s problems with this approach. Client-centered therapy is a part of humanistic view, which believe that human have their own positive sides and deserve to get some help, a pair of ears to listen and -above all- a heart to support them.
He believes that when we really listen to what clients say, they will be willing to open up everything in front of us, because they desperate to get some help. Children may refuse to talk because they have been rejected by adults who ‘think they know’ what those children feel or think. Adults usually avoid asking questions, because they think ‘they know’ everything about their children. It is wrong, parents! We never know how our children feel, unless they make their statement in front of us. And, in order to get that, you should ask questions. Be careful not to cross their privacy area though…
Oh, don’t forget to remind yourself, that whatever information that you have regarding your clients, it’s a secret, not gossip materials. It should be save in your hands!
Whenever David thinks that he has all the information that he needs, he will move into other therapies: behavioral, reality therapy and rational-emotive therapy. In each therapy, he will pick the best way to help each client and, sometimes, custom-made the most possible and positive way to help the client out.
I will talk more about the other therapies on my next articles.