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ANXIETY AND THE PERSON CENTRED APPROACH

The philosophy underpinning person centred counselling.

This approach has three distinctive philosophical beliefs: Humanism, existentialism and phenomenology.  To generalise, they assume that people have within themselves the capacity for truth and goodness, and have the fundamental human motivation for self fulfilment or self actualisation.  People have free will, and since there are no universal guide lines or rules to live by or make decisions, life is seen as a series of choices.  The only important meaning which can be put on life is that which is put on it by the individual living it.   Lastly, there is a belief that in counselling the only important reality is the one that each of us experiences.

Carl Rogers' Main Ideas

### Evidence-Based Approach to Person-Centred Counselling for Anxiety

#### Introduction to Person-Centred Counselling
Person-centred counselling, also known as client-centred or Rogerian therapy, is a humanistic approach developed by Carl Rogers. This therapeutic method emphasizes creating a supportive environment where clients can discover and utilize their strengths and potential for self-healing.

#### Core Principles of Person-Centred Counselling
1. **Unconditional Positive Regard**: The therapist provides a non-judgmental and accepting environment, fostering the client’s self-acceptance.
2. **Empathy**: The therapist deeply understands and shares the feelings of the client, helping them feel understood and less isolated.
3. **Congruence**: The therapist is genuine and transparent with the client, encouraging authenticity in the client.

#### How Person-Centred Counselling Helps with Anxiety

##### 1. **Creating a Supportive and Accepting Environment**
- **Evidence**: Studies show that a strong therapeutic alliance is crucial for effective treatment of anxiety disorders (Flückiger et al., 2018).
- **Mechanism**: Person-centred counselling’s focus on unconditional positive regard and empathy creates a safe space for clients to explore their anxieties without fear of judgment. This supportive environment helps reduce feelings of stress and fear, which are central to anxiety.

##### 2. **Promoting Self-Acceptance and Reducing Self-Criticism**
- **Evidence**: Research indicates that self-acceptance and low self-criticism are associated with reduced anxiety levels (Werner et al., 2019).
- **Mechanism**: Person-centred counselling encourages clients to accept themselves, which can significantly lower anxiety. As clients learn to be less critical and more compassionate towards themselves, their anxiety diminishes.

##### 3. **Enhancing Emotional Awareness and Regulation**
- **Evidence**: Enhanced emotional awareness and regulation are linked to lower anxiety levels (Mennin et al., 2005).
- **Mechanism**: Person-centred counselling helps clients become more in tune with their emotions through the therapist’s empathetic understanding and reflective listening. This awareness allows clients to identify triggers and manage their anxiety more effectively.

##### 4. **Empowering Clients and Promoting Autonomy**
- **Evidence**: Empowerment in therapy has been shown to improve outcomes for individuals with anxiety disorders (Zimmerman et al., 2000).
- **Mechanism**: The non-directive nature of person-centred counselling empowers clients to take an active role in their healing process. This empowerment reduces feelings of helplessness and increases confidence, which can alleviate anxiety.

##### 5. **Building Resilience and Coping Skills**
- **Evidence**: Developing resilience and effective coping strategies is crucial for managing anxiety (Southwick & Charney, 2012).
- **Mechanism**: Person-centred counselling helps clients identify and build on their strengths and resources. By recognizing their inner strengths, clients can develop healthier coping mechanisms, increasing their resilience against anxiety-inducing situations.

#### Conclusion
Person-centred counselling offers a compassionate, empathetic, and non-judgmental environment that is particularly effective for individuals experiencing anxiety. By fostering self-acceptance, enhancing emotional awareness, empowering clients, and building resilience, this therapeutic approach can lead to significant reductions in anxiety symptoms and improvements in overall well-being.

For more detailed information and references to studies, please visit our resources page or contact our team of experienced therapists.

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**References**:
1. Flückiger, C., Del Re, A. C., Wampold, B. E., & Horvath, A. O. (2018). The alliance in adult psychotherapy: A meta-analytic synthesis. *Psychotherapy*, 55(4), 316-340.
2. Werner, K., & Gross, J. J. (2019). Emotion regulation and psychopathology: A conceptual framework. In J. J. Gross (Ed.), *Handbook of Emotion Regulation* (pp. 653-670). Guilford Press.
3. Mennin, D. S., Heimberg, R. G., Turk, C. L., & Fresco, D. M. (2005). Preliminary evidence for an emotion dysregulation model of generalized anxiety disorder. *Behaviour Research and Therapy*, 43(10), 1281-1310.
4. Zimmerman, M. A., & Warschausky, S. (1998). Empowerment theory for rehabilitation research: Conceptual and methodological issues. *Rehabilitation Psychology*, 43(1), 3-16.
5. Southwick, S. M., & Charney, D. S. (2012). *Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges*. Cambridge University Press.

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