It is axiomatic that the necessary and suf®cient conditions for constructive personality change are precisely that. Therefore, certainly from at least the classical client-centred position, all that is required of person-centred therapists is to ensure contact and, once it has been established, to hold the three therapist conditions in such a way as to allow their clients to perceive empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard. The primary way in which this is done is by `checking perceptions'. The implicit question behind a majority of therapist responses is `This is what I think you mean/how you feel/what you are experiencing . . . have I got that right?' However, questions as such are not amongst the primary tools of person-centred therapists so they are more likely to check and communicate their understanding by conveying their sense of what has been said or their impression as to what the client is currently experiencing. `You are sad' is probably a more effective response than `I think you are telling me that you are sad. Am I right?' On the other hand, in person-centred terms, both are better than `Are you sad?' and certainly than `How do you feel about that?'. Crudely, this is the `technique' of re¯ection. Often there is more concern with re¯ecting feelings than re¯ecting anything else but what the client is thinking is also of importance and deserves to receive a response. Certainly, even when the client is talking about past events, the primary focus of the therapist is on current experiencing ± in the ®rst instance that of the client but also (for a variety of reasons including monitoring congruence) their own. This does not mean that person-centred therapists ignore historical accounts of either the `When I was a kid . . .' or `On my way here . . .' kind and all things between but rather just as the client is telling the story from the perspective of the present, so the therapist responds to it in and from the present
and the sophis-For a start, because person-centred therapy is always about the particular individuals and the particular relationship how this is done varies from relationship to relationship and, as the client moves through the seven stages of process (Point 17), over time. Responses of different kinds may be required to accord with the therapist's different reactions to the client's material. Although many person-centred therapists would see empathic responses as the primary tool in person-centred therapy, there may be times when, perhaps in order to maintain or regain congruence, a response of a different kind is necessary. This section is about how the necessary and suf®cient conditions are implemented and just how sophisticated this can be.