Client Centered Psychology: All About What the Client Needs!

Religious Psychology?

Imagine this:

You walk into your psychologist office because you have an issue that you want to deal with.

Let's just say you are a woman and you just lost your baby in the seventh month. For you gentleman reading, it is a stretch, but bear with the thought. It is going somewhere.

You feel as if a stone crushed your womb and heart at the same time and you seek someone in which to confide and find solace.

Now, comes a little back-story.

In order to get to this point, say you went to church and spoke to your minister, rabbi, imam or such--let's just say you are Christian.

You went to your Church leader in the first place because or your guilty feelings about how the situation began--an act of fornication which led to impregnation. Your church leader compassionately recommends a faithful, Christian psychologist to help you--a member of the pastor's large flock of followers. Imagine the rest, and let's move on.

We have established that you are Christian, a woman, depressed and miserable because you lost your baby--or pretend, remember men?

Anyway, the man-of-God-recommended psychologist's office that you walk into (and remember, this is on the recommendation of a minister whom you trust and adore) feels warm and inviting. Your attending counselor touts himself as a Christian Psychologist.

So, you pour your heart out to him and tell him that losing your baby was the worst thing ever that could have happened to you.

You tell him that you felt the life growing inside of you stop moving and it crushed you.

You tell him that you had to deliver the infant cadaver!.

You tell him you want to know why you should try to live life anymore!

He, the recommended of God (or at least one of his servants), counselor looks at you coolly with compassionate eyes.

He tells you amidst your tears and heartache, "Your baby died because it was conceived in sin. It is your fault!"

Do I have to say more about this?

Does anyone else see anything wrong with a psychologist saying something like that to a woman who just lost her baby?

Do you think that her depression and hurt went away after dealing with that person?

No, it did not. In fact, I bet it became worse!

I came upon this true tell--yeah it is true--from a fellow classmate during a discussion about religion and therapy.

I am of the opinion that religion is an important part of psychological healing and can lead to a permanent solution to psychological problems. Unfortunately, there are some who share horror stories about a religious psychologist who twists the brains of trusting people. I could not let this exception of a twisting pass by without sharing here for others to consider.

I pray to God the above story is an exception to the rule!

Religious Therapy

Carl Rogers


The Role of a Psychologist: Religions and Lifestyles of their Clients?

I personally agree with humanistic approaches to psychology and feel that cognitive functions are spiritual in nature.

I understand the incorporation of environment and behavior, but I feel that people are naturally good and want to succeed. People have an inherent desire to be whole and feel complete with all about them.

I also believe that when the natural cognitive functions stray away from this natural and normal desire for good and completeness, and people become ill seeking to do ill towards others and themselves that spiritual or mental healing can occur with therapy. Unless something physically vexes the brain, like a chemical imbalance calling for the inclusion of artificial supplements--DRUGS!--counseling can work!

In order for a person to feel comfortable and complete psychologically, he or she must have people in his or her life who provide unconditional positive regard, which is one of the tenets of Carl Rogers .

This means that there has to be someone who, without question or judgment, cares about and supports the client's well-being--offering encouragement and attention always . This does not mean the supporting person agrees with what the client has done or supports negative actions. It DOES mean the supporting person will continuously regard the person without judgment no matter the action the client commits.

This spiritual/mental connection allows the client to open up to the therapist in a way that allows her to feel safe. It allows the client to have a sounding boarding for all types of challenges.

The supporting person does not even have to be a therapist for this positive regard to occur though I recommend seeking professional help always for serious psychological challenges.

Extreme Positive Regard!

I relate a tell paraphrastically of a few women who plotted against one collective friend. This friend never said an ill word toward or about another person to the knowledge of this group of friends.

She always had kind things to say and encouraging praise no matter how degenerate the person to whom she referred. These friends of hers were sure that she did not have something positive to say about the common enemy of God, Satan.

What she said made them all laugh.

She said that he, Satan, was a hard worker--trying to win the souls of men! Now that is positive regard! I should say, she is the type of person each one of us on the planet should have to be our support person/therapist!



Faith is Important - Client Centered

Religion is a funny thing in that people tend to believe anything that makes them feel good or secure.

For Jewish people, it is important of certain sects to marry in the faith and raise children of the Abrahamic lineage. This distinction gives purpose to some. It provides an identity, exclusivity, and goals .

Knowing beforehand that a client's choice of marriage, residence, education and such are based on religious or spiritual consideration helps to best treat him or her.

If a therapist is working with a client and that client is Muslim and the therapist could not find the way to best connect with the client because of religious and cultural differences the therapist should recommend another therapist who has similar views as the client to increase empathy and understanding.

If a therapist understands what drives the client he or she can carefully guide the client to self-actualization. Once the person accepts and realizes more intimately herself, she can cope more easily with situations in her life.


Spiritual Beliefs and Religious Mores Are Necessary

Everyone should have a religion or spiritual belief. Clients do not have to have a set belief system per se, even though that would be better because it would create a system from which to better help clients relate to the world.

Psychologists should work with whatever system of beliefs a client brings. If the client loves his or her job, the therapist should use that as the focus if necessity dictates. The point is to find out what is important to the client and use it to help that client reach self-discovery, actualization.

Religion is just one key to helping clients along the road to recovery--albeit an important and defining one, not the only one.

Clients gain control as they feel someone supports them and regard them in a positive light. It gives them confidence knowing that someone really cares and wants to encourage them along.

A parent, teacher, neighbor, school bus driver or any person can do this. However, when others fail, a therapist can succeed because of training and desire to help.

The value in religion is only given by the person who believes it. A therapist can do little to add value to a person's beliefs, so the focus should not be on validating the client's beliefs, but on validating the person's worth and connecting to the client within her system of beliefs without judgement.

Take what is of value to the client and then use it to help the person heal. The reality of a person's belief is also individual.

Focus on the One in Need

Work for what is best for the client. Having many sessions and earning a profit provides physical comfort for counselors, but the health of the client must be paramount.

Clients, go to people that make you feel comfortable. If you prefer a White therapist or an Arab therapist for whatever reason, then you should go to one.

Politically correct issues have a place in therapy, but not unless gender, race, or religious sensitivity work is directly a working issue in question--such as to help a person change ill behavior towards gender, race, or religion.

Alas, I am not a certified psychologist. So what do I know? Well, more than the certified psychologist mentioned in the beginning of this article!

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Comments 7 comments

Jn 6 years ago

How got get over therapist betrayals & violations:

I have just tried 7 months of a 12 month skills based treatment program and then it was decided by them(without consulting me)that it wasn’t as effective as targeting certain areas as expected. First round you learn the coping skills modules then you repeat what you learned again the same for another 6 months to reinforce & start using the skills just learned.

I was fighting with the team therapists & esp. with my very inexperienced-panic -merchant one on one therapist in the program too.

Sometimes it’s often the case that the therapists have more issues than the client.

In this instance there was a gross inability to foresee or be mindful of implications& the impact of acting improper. This fracture of careless, cruel distrust in the early days of the program left some lingering violated wounds.

Ironically I was told I was in good hands with an ‘excellent therapist’. Anyone can give great generalised therapy but can falter and really mess up and put their clumsy worst food forward when the cases get more extreme. There were some communications cues are basic interacting skills that are taught in psychology 101& are in the Psychological Society Code of Conduct & Ethics.

I think it is a miscarriage of justice or false advertising to claim that one is a specialist in areas where they do not practice what they preach but do the opposite and arrogantly, defensively further induce pain & animosity.

Often cold & distant & patronizing the therapist would not remember details or be able to make her own decisions and join the dots of evident information sensitively. They could not make a simple judgment call without calling in the troops or getting them to protect & fight her battles for her.

There was such a strong inability to separate fact from feeling &consult with client first yet the therapist would attempt to encourage being vulnerable & take risks to disclose more. It almost made me wonder if this therapist had been dropped on their head as a baby or maybe autistic to not be able to make basic cognitive links within their passive aggressive self.

They had rules & decisions that I was never consulted with and often came back to me starting sentences with ‘we have decided’. They would spring upon me double standard disciplinary action for the littlest things but take no part in owning their 50% contribution to their counter—knee –jerk reactions. All the while, preaching the mindful & accepting, non-judgemental-Zen philosophy. The therapists would too late see that their counter reactions would set of the flight & fight responses in clients.

By the end of it I felt there where a whole lot of unethical breaches of code to my rights & privacy & respectful care. The breaches I felt were: lack of consent in decisions making which recreated trauma& sense of being abused ‘again. There was inadequate care to ensure confidentiality, protecting trust or privacy. The brutal violation felt when sharing irrelevant & personal information with other people without pre warning & sufficient preparation. I felt over-reaction on their part whenever an intense emotion or urge was shared. Especially, when the whole program is all about feelings, thoughts & urges.

I felt set up for the program team accepting someone more ‘challenging or treatment resistant’ than the mainstream clients that they took on. Basically being inflexible & acting out of their competent skill range. This is a program for those with severe emotional & behavioural issues, when one is poked at with such rigidity, it is expected that all sorts of exposures would naturally be triggered or come to the fore.

She/They would constantly invalidated, re-enforce that my being different or more vocal’ equalled ‘them having ‘never encountered such problems or client as yourself’. Then at the end they just wished me well, said it wasn’t working and that was that –have a nice life.

Had it just been me seeing a one-on-one treatment therapist there would’ve been so much LESS drama & unwarranted overreaction. I had been seeing someone for 10years separate from the program& never in all my years had I come across so much breach of personal intrusion & poor interpersonal skills of therapist transference. But inside a program run by health dept. & hierarchy then there is a lot more accountability & legal liabilities to adhere to. It borders on being treated like a criminal with their voice being taken away.

The environment is so full of white western one-minded school of thought, punitive, harsh scrutiny. In this supposed therapeutic setting it was very hard to foster any real trust connection in order for the treatment to contain& hold a person’s erratic recovery.

Many graduates of the treatment program never completely recovered but merely reduced their troublesome behaviours & emotional targets.

This kind of horrible invasive experience with the therapeutic system only fostered resentment, dis-empowerment & disappointment. And so once again this kind of damaging mismanagement of outcome re-enforces that people like us fall thru the cracks & become forgotten. There is never quite a ‘suitable’ program or place to ‘place’ us for others to cope with & nicely fit those DSM psych diagnosis manual criteria’s.

When a client has more severe cases of non-mainstream symptoms or issues outside the one-size -fits all ticked boxes-therapist have not a clue what to do and behave inappropriately.

Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

This is a very personal and poignant experience. Thank you so much for sharing. I apologize for taking to long to respond to you.

Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

First let me say this is so well written! Now about the Therapist he is a very disturbed and disturbing man! This is shocking! I loved the entire article and this needs to be shared with people. I will share this on Twitter, Facebook, hub followers and google+ and plan to stop back and share this again.

Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks you for posting Angela and your gracious compliment and sharing. I appreciate the support.

Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona Author

Thanks for commenting ChloeHIbb. I wish that I could get in contact with the person Jn, who posted the story in the comments, but alas we cannot.

Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

You are welcome! Any time!

disequilibrium1 3 years ago

Rodric, I believe problem in therapy starts long before the destructive example you cite. The first damage is when therapists play their client's self-doubts to manipulate them into seeing the counselor as a god or a parent figure. Therapists, after all, are masqueraders who took some grad school courses in naming arbitrary disorders and staging an empathy performance.

Therapy would less fantastical if counselors related to their clients with respect and humility. Any therapist who takes the role of the omniscient god is a fraud. The client is the expert in her own life. Thank you for this thoughtful discussion. Best to your classmate.

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