chapter  49
Person-centred practice comprises solely `re¯ection' and this is a technique of little effect
Pages 4

At least super®cially, the practice of classic client-centred therapy can appear to be little more than parroting the client's words. Sometimes this referred to as `re¯ecting'. However, this is in some ways an unfortunate term. Although, when faced with a therapist who represents what they have said, this may be like having a mirror held up to them the better that they can understand what they said this is not the intention of personcentred therapists. Rogers (in Kirschenbaum and Henderson 1990a: 127±128) was clear that when he con®ned his responses to the frame of reference of the client he was not trying to `re¯ect feelings' but ascertaining that he had heard and correctly understood the client's communication. In such `re¯ective' responses therapists are asking the implicit question `Have I understood you? Is this what you are experiencing?' Moreover, when such responses are made in an accepting way there is an implicit assertion from the frame of reference of the therapist which is something like `I understand the feelings you are experiencing, the events you are describing and something of how it is to be you in this moment and this knowledge does not alter my perception of you as a person of worth.' Of course, person-centred therapists respond not only to expressions of feeling but to expressions of other kinds including thoughts, bodily sensations, fantasies, memories and so on.