Mary comes to therapy with many issues. She is going through a divorce, she feels inadequate to enter the workforce, and she has entered a depressive state where she does not take care of herself or her children. Now that Mary wants to make a difference in her life she is seeking help to “feel better about herself as a person and to get her life back. ” It would be up to a person center oriented therapist to not solve her problems, but to insist on her personal growth. Throughout Mary’s adult life she took care of others. She was a stay at home mother who raised four children and was a wife to an alcoholic, abusive husband.
She is falling into a state of depression that has left her feeling hopeless and helpless. Mary has an increasing desire to have someone else love and understand her, but what she really needs is to love and understand herself. She has put so much of herself into helping other’s she is left feeling exhausted and incapable of taking care of herself let alone anyone else. She has depleted all of her emotional capabilities; therefore she has been left with lack of sleep, an unhealthy diet and weight, and an increasingly short temper with her children.
However, Mary has a desire to enhance her livelihood, she wants to change her immediate state, and therefore she is seeking therapeutic help to become a fully functioning individual. In order to become a fully functioning individual she must become aware of her masked facade, which she developed through the process of socialization. Throughout her lifetime she has been socialized to fit specific gender roles and she has complied to a more traditional approach where her domineering husband made all the money while she stayed home with the kids.
Now that her husband wants a divorce her role as a stay at home Mom is about to change. This can lead Mary feeling isolated and anxious and all she wants is someone to understand her predicament. She has not done it all on her own before and feels inadequately prepared for the challenge. It would be my goal as a person centered therapist to help Mary understand her facade and help her discover her actualized self. She must understand that she does not need someone else to help her through life, but she is able to do it on her own.
As a counselor I must build a rapport with Mary through openness and understanding. Once a relationship was formed I would facilitate Mary’s therapeutic goals. My main role is to be there and perhaps for the first time listen and understand where she is coming from. I would apply a positive attitude towards achieving her goals, rather than applying any specific techniques. I must be used as a tool for personal growth by believing in Mary and helping her realize that she is capable of change and taking care of herself.
I must be real with Mary by being empathetic, accepting, and congruent in order to be a catalyst for change. Mary comes to see a person centered therapist in a state of incongruence where there is a discrepancy between her self-perception and reality. Mary must be willing to explore these discrepancies and possibilities of change. She must come to the conclusion that she has the power to be responsible for herself and she can use the therapist client relationship to gain a greater self understanding.
It is crucial for me as a therapist to remain real with Mary so she is comfortable exploring her own feelings and beliefs and incorporate them into her own structure. During the therapy I would not play an active or direct role, but I would remain there as a strong presence and engage Mary with qualities such as listening, accepting, respecting, understanding, and responding. I must be honest with my expressions. Initially, I would assess Mary not with tests and procedures, but using the most useful source, Mary herself.
Mary must have the freedom to learn with the therapist therefore she will become more self directed and not rely on others for the solution. In conclusion, person center therapy would be helpful for Mary to help her realize her full potential. The therapist is the facilitator of learning and gives Mary the autonomy and care to express herself freely. She will soon become empowered and able to take self direction. She will become a self actualized person who is open to explore different experiences, find a trust within her, and be able to assess herself at a deeper level.