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Beyond psychotherapeutic reach? An introduction to pre-therapy

  Beyond psychotherapeutic reach

By Lisbeth Sommerbeck, Bornholm Psychiatric Center, Denmark

This article first appeared in the Danish Psychological Association's journal Psykolog Nyt: Sommerbeck, L. (2006). Udenfor Terapeutisk Rækkevidde? Introduktion til Præ-Terapi. Psykolog Nyt, 60(8), 12-20. It has been translated and slightly revised for the WAPCEP website by the author.

Many of the most disturbed clients in the backyards of psychiatry have traditionally been regarded as "beyond psychotherapeutic reach". They are apparently unable to cooperate in an ordinary course of therapy (of any orientation). The reasons for this are most often listed as insufficient interest in, or capacity for, 1) keeping a sustained focus, 2) communicate understandably to the therapist, 3) relate critically to themselves and their situation and 4) receive input from the therapist. The psychiatric diagnosis of these clients can vary, but they are most often diagnosed with some form of psychosis or the other, frequently schizophrenia. Sometimes, however, they suffer instead from severe dementia or mental retardation. Whatever their diagnosis, they seem to have one thing in common: They are experienced as being "out of contact." Rarely do others have any idea of what goes on in them, or the experience is that nothing goes on in them, at all.

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Person-Centred/Experiential Therapies Are Highly Effective: Summary of the 2008 Meta-analysis

Robert Elliott & Elizabeth Freire

University of Strathclyde


Author note: This research was supported by a generous grant from the British Association for the Person-Centred Approach (BAPCA).


Among his various accomplishment, Carl Rogers was a pioneer in the field of psychotherapy research. Following in his footsteps, we have just completed a major project to integrate 60 years of research on the effectiveness of Person-Centred and related therapies. Our results have confirmed, strengthened and extended previous results, using much larger sample of more 180 scientific outcome studies. With a few important exceptions, these results are good news for therapists and counsellors working within the Person-Centred Approach, because they provide multiple lines of evidence demonstrating that these therapies are highly effective.

We presented our results this past July at the Person-Centred/Experiential (PCE) therapies conference in Norwich, England. Although we used more rigorous methods than in previous analyses, we found some of the results so different from widely-held beliefs in the mental health field that we felt compelled to go back and re-do them, just to make sure we had not made a mistake somewhere. The pace of research on PCE therapies continues to accelerate, making it difficult to keep up with, and the data set we have assembled so far is rich enough to keep us busy for several years. At this point, however, the main findings are clear and can be summarized as follows:


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Person-centered therapy: The growing edge

By Mick Cooper

First published in 'Therapy Today', July 2007. Published here with permission from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Person-centred therapy is actualising its potential in creative and original growth, forging new pathways and understandings.

Psychodynamic therapists are cold and aloof, cognitive behavioural therapists are not interested in the relationship and gestalt therapists boss their clients around... as with most orientations in our field, numerous myths and stereotypes also exist about the person-centred approach1. One of the ones that I, and many of my person-centred colleagues, find particularly frustrating is the assumption that the development of person-centred theory and practice came to a halt years ago: in 1957, to be precise, when Carl Rogers published his hypotheses regarding the six necessary and sufficient conditions for therapeutic personality growth (if you thought there were three, that's another common myth!). In fact, over the last half century, and the last decade, in particular, the person-centred world has been awash with new developments in thinking and practice, and this article reviews some of the most innovative and cutting edge areas of development.

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