chapter  21
The effectiveness of a therapist's unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding depends on the extent to which they are perceived by the client
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Together with the `contact' prescribed in condition one (and probably more than it), the elements of condition six, the communication to and/or perception by the client of the therapist's UPR and empathic understanding is relatively little understood or discussed and yet Rogers is very clear that unless this happens to at least a minimal degree change will not occur. In Rogers (1957: 96) the sixth condition is articulated in terms of the communication to the client of the therapist's empathic understanding and UPR while in Rogers (1959: 213) the emphasis is on the client's perception of these from the therapist. These two different formulations are not in con¯ict but together aid a complete understanding of the desired process. In effect, what this condition states is that change depends on the client being and feeling understood and accepted, however dimly. Not only must the therapist have an understanding of the client's experience and have unconditional positive regard for that client, the client must be aware of and receive these at least to some extent. If the latter does not occur then condition six has not been met regardless of how empathic and accepting therapists believe themselves to have been. This places the client at the centre of the therapeutic endeavour but it also lays a responsibility on the therapist. In some way, therapists must communicate (or make available) to the client their understanding of the client's experience and UPR for the client. To be effective, this cannot be a mechanistic or uniform process. It need not be verbal but it must involve high quality attention to the client's process and a perceivable intention to understand the client's experience and both of these must be presented in a climate of warmth, regard and genuineness. `Communication' as a therapist behaviour is

postu-the client experience is of being received `warts and all' and yet not found wanting, being seen with faults and fears but not judged and all this within the framework of the therapist's genuineness. This can be a singularly powerful experience for both parties and it can result in a `moment of change'. Various attempts to explore this `high level' experience have been made and terms such as `presence', `tenderness' and `relational depth' have been applied to it. These are returned to in Points 25 and 38.