The relational approach to person-centred therapy

Di Malta, Gina; Cooper, Mick; Knox, Rosanne and Cox, Steve (2024). The relational approach to person-centred therapy. In: Cooper, Mick ed. The Tribes of the Person-Centred Nation (3rd Edition): An introduction to the world of person-centred therapies. Monmouth: PCCS books.



This chapter details the theoretical and clinical foundations for a relational approach to person-centred therapy. It covers its evolution, philosophical and psychological roots and practice. This approach has evolved from classical person-centred therapy by giving a new emphasis to the first and sixth conditions: contact and client perceptions of connectivity with the therapist. The relational approach has four interlinked dimensions from which to derive relational practice: the relationship to another, where the therapist has an ethical responsibility to encounter the client; the co-created relationship, where healing occurs through moments of relational depth; the self-relationship, as an ongoing commitment to developing self-acceptance, and the relationship to the social world and contexts.
Evidence for the benefits of the relational approach is growing. It comes from research into factors that touch on relationship with the other, and more recently from evidence for the links between relational depth and mutuality, which reflect the co-created relationship. There is also some evidence on the importance of the self-relationship and relationship with the world. Further research is needed in each of these areas, and most importantly on integrating cultural sensitivity into relational person-centred practices.

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