chapter  88
Person-centred theory and client reactions to being abused as children
Pages 4

Although it is a common experience for person-centred therapists (similarly to therapists of other kinds) to encounter clients who have been abused as children, there is little in the classic client-centred literature about child abuse. This is largely because, for the most part, person-centred therapy is a way of being with a client regardless of what brings that client to therapy or what emerges in the course of therapy. However, Rogers did put a child's relationship with its carers at the heart of his theory about the development of self, and some of his writings are particularly helpful in understanding an abusive adult±child relationship. He described a deteriorating relationship (1959: 237±240), applied his personality theory to family life (1959: 241), and touched on behaviours which might now be ascribed to an abuser (1959: 229). It is only recently that personcentred writers have begun to address abuse. Examples include Hawkins (2005, 2007) and Warner (2000). For the most part, those writing about abuse from a person-centred perspective are addressing it in terms of the dynamics of power (Point 37), `dif®cult process' (Point 36) and/or con®gurations of self (Point 27). However, the experience of childhood abuse can also be framed in terms of the necessary and suf®cient conditions.