This approach to counselling and psychotherapy sees human beings as having an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential. But this is inevitably blocked or distorted by our life experiences, in particular those who tell us we are only loved or valued if we behave in certain ways and not others, or have certain feelings and not others. As a result, because we have a deep need to feel valued, we tend to distort or deny to our awareness those of our inner experiences that we believe will not be acceptable.
The counsellor or psychotherapist in this approach aims to provide an environment in which the client does not feel under threat or judgement. This enables the client to experience and accept more of who they are as a person, and reconnect with their own values and sense of self-worth. This reconnection with their inner resources enables them to find their own way to move forward.
The counsellor or psychotherapist works to understand the client’s experience from the client’s point of view, and to positively value the client as a person in all aspects of their humanity, while aiming to be open and genuine as another human being. These attitudes of the therapist towards the client will only be helpful if the client experiences them as real within the relationship, and so the nature of the relationship that the counsellor and client create between themselves is crucial for the success of therapy.