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Client’s Responsibility in Person-Centered Therapy Essay

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Updated: Jul 17th, 2020

The client plays a significant role in person-centered therapy. As the name suggests, person-centered therapy targets the clients ability to come up with a solution to his problem after going through the therapeutic process. This implies that the progress of a therapy exercise and its successful completion is dependent on the clients participation in the process and cooperation with the therapist. Every person-centered therapeutic process is tailor-made to suit an individual client. This is important in order to accommodate people with different kinds of problems. The therapist assumes that the client has the capacity to utilize the therapeutic process and make decisions that will eventually solve his problems. In essence, the role and responsibility of a client in the therapeutic process refers to the aspects that are crucial to the achievement of the desired goals of therapy. Person-centered therapy emphasizes the responsibility of the client for his own life and the need to take control and find the solution to his problems. The clients willingness and desire to participate in the therapeutic process and cooperate with the therapist does not only favor the client but also strengthens the client-therapist relationship. In addition, it creates a good rapport for a working relationship within the therapeutic process.

Since person-centered therapy should be interactive, a client’s feelings, emotions, and perceptions will determine the outcome of the therapy. It is the responsibility of the client to cultivate a positive attitude throughout the therapeutic process. This is because the realization of the therapy goals and objectives depends more on the input of the client rather than the therapist (Elkind, 1992).

The client shows responsibility in a number of ways throughout the therapeutic process. These include communicating with the therapist and demonstrating enthusiasm concerning the pursuance of goals for the restoration of health. Communication from the client produces better results than the messages that originate from the therapist. It also promotes the relationship that exists between the two parties in the therapeutic process. The client should ensure the therapist has comprehensive information regarding his status. This enables the therapist to create accurate records upon which he or she can evaluate the treatment of the client. Another way the client demonstrates responsibility is through exploring himself and realizing change or effect, being transparent or open with himself and the therapist, and paying attention to the interventions and reactions made by the therapist. Such undertakings improve the client’s involvement in the therapeutic process, inhibit his hostility, and indicate participation, trust, and confidence in the entire process. The clients willingness to work in collaboration with the therapist, engage himself in the proposed activities and interact freely in the therapeutic process does not only demonstrate his responsibility, but also produces results at the end of the session. The other way the client can demonstrate responsibility is by giving negative responses during transference as a way of reflecting his ability to present hidden thoughts and emotions. When positive emotions and thoughts start to replace the negative ones, it is an affirmative indicator of progress in the therapeutic process.

Considering the resources and time that the client invests in the therapeutic process in order to realize the solution to his problems, it is imperative for him to participate, cooperate and engage in the designing and implementation of therapy sessions. This will ensure a wholesome therapeutic process. Furthermore, it is important for the attainment of positive results without which therapy fails to make sense. This is the responsibility of the client. The therapist’s role is only to encourage and motivate the client to throughout the therapeutic process. If the client exhibits signs of irresponsibility during therapy, the therapist should consider such occurrences as evidence of resistance. This resistance could be a product of misunderstanding between the therapist and the client on various issues that arise during therapy.

The main reason as to why the client goes through a therapeutic process is to help the therapist identify the client’s problems and assist him in finding a solution to the problems. Thus, the client has a responsibility in ensuring that the therapeutic process is successful. The lack of responsibility concerning therapy sessions is an indicator of a hostile response. The client may also refuse to take part in the activities suggested by the therapist and hamper communication by refusing to respond to the therapist’s comments and advice. Furthermore, the client may disagree with the goals and objectives of the therapeutic process and express negative feelings towards the therapist. These behaviors are detrimental to the progress of the therapeutic process. If the therapist identifies such occurrences, he should take the initiative to reevaluate the objectives of the therapeutic process and uncover the cause of the resistance. The therapist should evaluate whether the hostile response may be due to inappropriate therapeutic strategies or a poorly negotiated working alliance, which introduces mistrust in the therapy exercise (Neal & Gail, 1966).

Both the client and the counselor play a crucial role within the therapeutic process. The client has the responsibility to maintain a positive attitude while actively participating in the entire therapeutic process. This includes communicating with the counselor, participating in tasks given by the therapist, and cooperating and collaborating with the therapist to create a good relationship for the attainment of desired results.

The counselor, on the other hand, plays a pivotal role in ensuring that all the requirements for the success of the therapeutic session are accessible. The counselor designs tasks for various therapy sessions based on a consensus between him and the client. He sets goals for the entire therapeutic process. In addition, the therapist listens to the client during transference and other communications. He provides motivation to the client by acknowledging his potential and capacity to realize change and find the solution to his problem. The counselor also enhances the progress of the therapy by expressing other experiences and using analogy to make the client pay attention. He ensures that the client understands various aspects of the therapy process without portraying arrogance or disregard for important issues within therapy sessions. The progress of the therapeutic process is also dependent on the relationship between the counselor and the client. It is important to maintain good rapport between the two parties throughout the therapeutic process to enhance a favorable alliance and avoid stalemate during various stages of therapy.

The progress of the person-centered counseling involves the full participation of both the therapist and the client in all therapy sessions. The counselor guides the client through a process of finding solutions that fit his problems. Thus, they work as partners throughout the therapeutic process. This approach facilitates the attainment of various therapeutic goals and objectives.


Elkind, S. N. (1992). Resolving impasses in therapeutic relationships. New York: Guilford Press.

Neal, G., & Gail, F. (1966). Counselor verbal behavior as a function of client hostility. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 13(2), 184-190.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Client’s Responsibility in Person-Centered Therapy." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/clients-responsibility-in-person-centered-therapy/.


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