What is humanistic therapy and how does it help?

People view the world in different ways, which can impact your choices, thoughts and actions. Humanistic therapy is all about self-exploration focusing on self-development, growth and responsibilities.

Counsellors help you to establish a better understanding of your views to develop true self-acceptance. By questioning what we believe to be true then we can learn more, break out of unhelpful patterns and develop new ways of being.

For example, low self-esteem can develop from beliefs and opinions we hold about ourselves – counselling can help to break free from assumptions which may be holding you back.

Humanistic therapies can help you to develop self-acceptance by offering a safe space to work toward personal growth.

We speak to our Humanistic-existential counsellor, Tanya.

What is humanistic therapy and how does it help?

Humanistic counselling is a non-judgemental talking therapy where the client is in the driving seat. As counsellors, we enter the space with no agenda and allow the client the time and space to reach their own conclusions.

It is about being in the present, but looking at the whole experience of the person to help people grow and reach true self-acceptance.

People have a capacity for growth and by creating a safe and confidential space we can help people nurture and grow feelings of self-compassion, self-love and confidence.

What happens in a session?

I start with a quick summary of the previous week and then ask whether they would like to continue to explore this, or whether they have something else they would like to speak about – continuing to listen and reflect.

I especially listen to what is not being said out loud and reflect back what I am hearing them say. Often we only truly hear ourselves when others speak it out loud. I will also mention what I notice, be it repeated words or sentences or body language. By this exploration, the client will gain self-awareness which can lead to clarity and more confidence.

What techniques do you use?

In Humanistic Counselling, we do not use many techniques. It is more about the relationship and being present with that person – hearing and accepting them.

We use the 3 core conditions (Carl Rogers) to be with the client. They are:

  • Congruence. We are genuine, open and honest
  • Empathy. We can understand the lived experience of a person
  • Unconditional Positive Regard. A feeling of love, affection and true acceptance of a person

By ensuring that these 3 conditions are in the room, we create a safe space for the client to explore raw, difficult thoughts and feelings.

Can you give an example of an issue and how humanistic therapy would help?

Humanistic counselling is helpful for a wide range of issues. But what it can do effectively, is to delve underneath the issues and truly understand what they mean to the client. Every person is unique and our experiences of the same issue can be different. The process can lead to huge changes in people because it allows exploration to find their own truth and road to growth.

Our focus is less on tools and more on understanding the cause of the issue. For example, if you feel that others do not respect you, we would look at what that is like and how it makes you feel. It may make you feel that you are not good enough. So, where has that come from? How has it developed and how is it affecting you in the present? By figuring things out we can develop a new perspective and use what we learn in sessions if we experience the same feelings in the future.

People struggling with mental health may experience low self-worth. But understanding that there are reasons as to why they feel the way they do, allows for freedom in knowing that it is not their fault.

The realisations that people come to are often connected with patterns of behaviour and their sense of self. With space to connect the dots, they may finally understand why they are sad, angry, anxious etc and gain a better understanding of themselves. It’s this understanding which can lead to acceptance, growth and increased confidence.

Interested in humanistic counselling?

If you are interested in humanistic counselling at Breathe, get in touch: hello@breathe-uk.com

Not quite ready to start counselling?

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