Therapist negative reactions : a person-centred-experiential psychotherapy perspective

Elliott, Robert; Wolf, Abraham W. and Goldfried, Marvin R. and Muran, J. Christopher, eds. (2012) Therapist negative reactions : a person-centred-experiential psychotherapy perspective. In: Managing Negative Reactions to Clients. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp. 69-90. ISBN 9781433811876 (

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Therapists in the humanistic-experiential therapy tradition are known for their focus on achieving and maintaining deep empathy for their clients, as well as offering unconditional caring and attempting to be genuinely present to their clients. This makes them sound either like saints or hopelessly naïve and idealistic. Client challenges and coping with therapist negative reactions are not generally dealt with explicitly in the literature on person-centered and experiential (PCE) therapies. Nevertheless, in my experience as a therapist, therapy researcher, trainer and supervisor I have found, unsurprisingly, that they are common. In this chapter, I attempt to shed light on how relational difficulties, from whatever source, are understood and handled in PCE therapies (e.g., person-centered, gestalt, focusing-oriented, emotion-focused).