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An exploration into the client at the heart of therapy : a qualitative perspective

Rodgers, Brian (2003) An exploration into the client at the heart of therapy : a qualitative perspective. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, 2 (1). pp. 19-30. ISSN 1477-9757

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Over 50 years ago Eysenck challenged the existing base of research into psychotherapy. Since that time, a large number of investigations have been conducted to verify the efficacy of therapy. Recently however, an increasing number of studies have cast new doubts on this research base. Instead of therapy being a function of the therapist, it is now becoming ever more apparent that the client plays a prime role in the therapeutic process. The qualitative studies presented in this paper provide some examples of research that demonstrates that clients are actively involved in their therapy, even making counselling work despite their counsellor. These studies suggest that clients may not experience therapy as beneficially as traditional outcome studies indicate. This raises a new challenge to researchers to more fully explore the client's experience of therapy, a challenge to which qualitative methods of inquiry would appear well suited.