Core Condition 2 - The first, whom we shall term the client, is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious.
This condition is simply implying there is a problem perceived by the 'client'. The difficulty though that is people can be so incongruent with their 'selves' that they are detached from themselves, unaware or dissociated. Maybe they are so unaware that there is indeed no 'problem' to them, as they are not aware. This lack of awareness can be a real problem as the organism may not sense a way of living healthily. They may not sense danger or hunger for example. If a client is incongruent they probably would not enter therapy anyway, but they may be referred by professionals such as social workers or psychiatrists.
I believe that a client needs to be in a state of congruence to some degree for therapy to be helpful. The incongruence can create feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, stress call it what you will, but the client needs to have some awareness that there is a problem, otherwise what's the point?
Rogers hypothesized that the two people Therapist and Client must be in Psychological Contact. Psychological contact is when both parties are fully aware of the other. There may be moments for the client when they are unaware of the other, so it is important for the the therapist to be in the relationship, by way of communicating empathy. Sometime therapists seem to be keen on eye contact possibly for this reason, but when deep internal processing is happening then eye contact may lack. Eye positions may be at the floor or another direction, and I believe that therapists should provide unconditional positive regard for this , and 'allow' it to happen without distraction - although this may conflict with the idea of a need for psychological contact.
I will expand on the idea of Unconditional Positive Regard in another of my posts. I think think UPR is the most interesting of the core conditions, so look forwards to writing about that.
Carl Rogers (1957) believed that 6 core conditions were necessary and sufficient for therapeutic change to occur. Thus by default he also believed that there is no need for fancy techniques, or ways of working. So, so long as the 6 conditions exist in whatever model of therapy then, he believed that over time 'therapeutic change' would occur.
I believe that these conditions seem to be taken for granted by other more cognitive models. Some therapists may not even be aware of the existence, let alone importance of the conditions, as technique or 'case formulation' takes over the therapy.
I believe bereavement counselling works and helps by giving you a safe space to explore grief for yourself, and be understood by another human being. Everyone grieves differently it is personal and cultural. Families can be brought together by grief, and also torn apart.
Therapy or counselling will help you talk about the person that died, and your feelings associated with this. You may find people avoid speaking about grief or the person that has died, this can be a very frustrating and isolating experience.
You may want everyone to know what you are going through, and that a special person has died. This can also be a very lonely place to be, as others just seem to be going about their lives without much care. People may seem superficial and shallow when you are in the midst of grief.
Emotions may be experienced in any order and may seem chaotic and raw. You may feel a range of emotions including: ashamed, low, angry, anxious, angry, depressed, empty, guilty, jealousy, and even pleased or relieved. Whatever you are feeling is right for you at the time.
The truth is you never 'get over' someone, it can just become easier to live without them. It can also feel more difficult to live with before it gets easier.
Grief is something that you adjust to, it is not an illness, and it is not something to be 'treated'. Grief is part of life - something to be experienced, it's a process, and avoiding the process is probably not going to be that helpful to you.
So take care of yourself, be gentle and kind. If you want support, then look in the right places - places where you will be valued and held.
Often within therapy counsellors will repeat back what they have heard you say. This can feel a bit strange at first, but there is a method to it. A counsellor will do this as a way of holding up a mirror to you. It helps deepen your understanding of yourself, and give you a clearer idea of what you are meaning.
Sometimes it won't sound like the therapist has got it right, it is afterall their understanding of what you have said. This gives you the opportunity to fine tune what you have meant , giving you a clearer idea of meaning, and you.
This technique is called 'paraphrasing' and many professionals will use this to check you are both on the same page.
As well as checking understanding it can help deepen empathy, and relational depth between people.
Chris Rudyard MBACP
Professional, experienced counsellor/psychotherapist in Liverpool