My counselling approach: core assumptions My counselling approach is an integrative person-centred one, based on the Core Self model. It is person-centred in that it is based on the work of Carl Rogers and other person-centred writers. The cornerstone of this approach is based on the assumption that ‘the relationship is the therapy’ (Mearns and Thorne 2000), which emphasises that it is the quality of the relationship between counsellor and client that is key to a positive outcome of the counselling process. I believe that using this approach the client can be trusted to find their own way forward, accompanied by a counsellor who is capable of encouraging a relationship where the client can begin to feel safe. This relationship can facilitate the client to experience the beginnings of self-acceptance. It is also an integrative model, which seeks to draw together the person-centred and the spiritual in a sensitive way. It rests on the assumption that all human beings are spiritual beings and the spiritual dimension of human nature and experience is foundational to being human. This model sees human beings as complex living unities of body, mind, soul and spirit. It sees various aspects of being and experiencing as closely interwoven in human beings and therefore recognises the importance of being willing and able to engage with this dimension of human experience in the process of counselling. My approach is integrative from the perspective of being open to incorporating relevant insights from psychology, counselling theory and philosophy with insights from Christianity and the world’s other major religious traditions.
My philosophical framework
I believe that human beings are created in the image of God with the potential to grow and develop in every way. I believe as humans we are the pinnacle of creation and that we have been declared in essence ‘good’. I believe that human beings are potentially always in the process of growing towards being and becoming more loving towards themselves, others and God, who I see as the source of all love. I believe that the core or essence of human nature – the true self - is essentially forward moving, positive and social. Because of the action of what Carl Rogers called the actualizing tendency, we are always (if the conditions are right) in the process of growing, developing and becoming fully human. I see human beings as unique and complex beings in whom all the different physical, physiological, psychological, spiritual, relational and social aspects of being and experiencing are closely interwoven. Assuming basic biological and safety needs are met, I believe that people will grow and develop to the extent that their basic psychological and spiritual needs for love and self-acceptance are also nurtured. However, as a consequence of destructive life experiences (trauma, broken relationships) and the prevalence of brokenness in our world which affects us throughout our lives, the ongoing process of psychological and spiritual development can be inhibited or blocked to some extent.
My theoretical framework
I would like to work from a theoretical model that is biopsychosociospiritual. I believe that the causes of psychological problems are complex and involve multiple factors - physiological/genetic, psychological, spiritual and social. These interact together in a complex way to give rise to particular problems. Psychologically, the most important concept is that of the self concept, or self structure. My understanding is that the self concept (our core beliefs about and perceptions of ourselves, others and the world) is formed early in life in the context of our primary relationships. In an environment of unconditional positive regard, individuals have the chance to fully actualize themselves. Due to our human imperfection and need for approval and acceptance we usually experience worth and acceptance