Carl Rogers sees the process of therapy as being synonymous with the experiential relationship between client and therapist. Therapy consists in experiencing the self in a wide range of ways in an emotionally meaningful relationship with the therapist. He believes that the words of either client or therapist are seen as having minimal importance compared with the emotional relationship which exists between the two.
So what is this mysterious therapuetic relationship which is at the core of most forms of psychotherapy and how is it created? In this issue we see that it appears in many guises – in bodywork, in group work, where clients present with special issues – and that it knows no ethnic or cultural bounds. It can exist just as strongly between therapists and clients in an addiction centre in Dublin as it does in a war- torn African country. The therapeutic relationship is one in which the client is honoured, respected and met with nothing other than unconditional love and acceptance for who he or she really is, or is struggling to be. But therapists are not saints. We may see clients who have committed terrible crimes and whose behaviour we may find it difficult to accept. The client may be met with our own prejudices and pre-conceived ideas. One of our contributors quotes Martin Buber, whose central insight is that each person’s existence is unique and that equally we are partners-in-existence. But to know oneself as unique one needs to be made present in one’s uniqueness by an other. Buber called this ‘confirmation of otherness’. He believed that the act of confirming is at the heart of true meeting and true relating.
The theme of our Winter Issue will be Psychotherapy and the Imagination. As always we welcome your contributions. We would like to hear from you if you have attended an interesting or unusual workshop, or read a book which you would like to review for us. All such contributions will be considered for publication by the Editorial Committee. Also in our Winter Issue we will be listing Training Courses. We would like to have details of any courses which have not been included before, especially any in Northern Ireland.
All copy for the Winter Issue should reach us by 13th November 1998, please.