ERIC Number: ED326815
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Aug-15
Reference Count: N/A
The Experience of Acceptance and the Acceptance of Experience.
Hager, Drevis L.
This paper contends that, in a psychotherapeutic relationship, the client must experience himself or herself as deeply understood and unconditionally accepted by the therapist. This subjective experience of the client is seen as the quintessential dimension in successful psychotherapy. The paper goes on to state that the client's experience of being understood and accepted is a product of a specific pattern of client-therapist interaction and that, as a product of this process, the client begins to internalize these acceptance promoting client-therapist interactions, thus facilitating self-acceptance and greater psychic health. The necessary interactive pattern between therapist and client is discussed, and several steps in the process are identified: (1) the client develops a sense of safety in the therapy relationship and risks disclosing aspects of the self that are usually concealed; (2) the therapist receives and empathically understands the client's disclosures; (3) the therapist communicates this understanding to the client; (4) the client acknowledges that the therapist has understood; and (5) the client still believes in the therapist's acceptance. A section on the acceptance of experience explores why the experience of being deeply understood and unconditionally accepted by another person can itself be therapeutic. While it is hoped that the process of understanding and acceptance will be developed and carried through to the point where the client recognizes and integrates experiences previously denied to awareness and reduces psychic dissociations, it is recognized that the process can also arrest at any point, resulting in a therapeutic impasse. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Acceptance (Psychology)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (97th, New Orleans, LA, August 11-15, 1989).