Did you know, approximately 40 million people in the U.S have communication disorders?
This then begs the question; what’s client-centered therapy? And how can it help speech difficulties?
Luckily for you, we’re going to break that down for you here in this article. Let’s dive in!
This is a non-directive form of treatment developed by humanist psychologist Carl Rogers.
This treatment encourages clients to talk freely. The therapist doesn’t seek to interpret the patient or offer an explanation.
Rogers emphasized the importance of the individual seeking help. This usually results in them feeling more in control of their destiny. As such, patients are more likely to believe they can overcome the struggles facing them.
This treatment promotes patient empowerment and allows clients to lead discussions. Fundamental to the therapy is the belief that every person has the resources to help themselves, if:
- They’re given the right conditions
- Allowed to grow to their full potential
Sounds good, doesn’t it? So, how can Client-centered therapy benefit speech therapy?
1. Unconditional Positive Regard
Client-centered therapy focuses on the client’s current capabilities and situations. The treatment should be wholly non-judgemental and acceptant of the client’s current abilities, no matter what they say or do.
The therapist is to see their clients as individuals, not as a set of behaviors. As such, their progress is accepted at all stages of treatment.
Thus, this method reduces the pressure on speech therapy clients, as they don’t feel as though they have to “perform.”
2. Healthy Development
Client-centered therapy provides a space for clients to develop at their own pace, without fear of judgment.
When the client feels comfortable, they’re not as worried to practice speaking. As such, they’re usually more willing to explore methods that could help them.
By allowing clients to explore and lead their own treatment, the therapist helps to cultivate their self-esteem. This, in turn, enables clients to feel more confident in speaking.
3. Individualised Therapy Plan
Unlike other treatments, client-centered therapy is tailored to the client’s individual circumstances. As this therapy is based on the client’s personal goals, this means the therapy experience will be different for each client.
This method accepts the unique difficulties and situations facing the patient. So, they’re encouraged to focus on their current subjective circumstances.
This differs from most other therapies that usually focus on the therapist’s interpretation of the case.
4. Patient Empowerment
Client-centered therapy assists clients in taking charge of their treatment, and realize their own potential. Clients are encouraged to lead sessions alongside therapists, rather than be steered in a direction.
This means that people are not ‘put-in-a-box,’ and can work to their own strengths and weaknesses. They are also encouraged to realize they’re more than their perceived problem or behavior.
The patients are encouraged throughout treatment to self-assess and to stay positive in their ability to fulfill their potential.
Unlike other therapies, client-centered methods communicate to the patient that they’re responsible for their own life. It’s not down to the therapist to wave a magic wand for improvements to happen. Instead, it’s up to the patient.
Therefore, a crucial part of this is the therapist’s recognition that the client is the expert of their own experience, and by forming a cooperative relationship, they can work together to create a new understanding on the client’s skills.
5. Collaborative Communication
If speech is a problem, practicing communication is obviously vital; client-centered therapy allows a format of discussion that encourages the improvement and reflection of speech. The therapist allows the client time to think for themselves, which in itself promotes progress.
Strategies in treatment often involve open-ended questions, providing affirmations to help reinforce positivity, and offering reflections on the treatment, so that clients can self-assess and identify their goals.
6. Practical Speech Strategies
Some strategies can be used for speech therapy clients in client-centered therapy, and these include speech intelligibility, practicing words, lists, sentences and paragraphs, and practicing conversations.
As the pressure of “right” and “wrong” is removed from treatment, the client feels at ease to practice speaking and various strategies. They don’t have to worry about going wrong or not making improvements as this isn’t what the therapy focuses on.
The therapy provides a safe space to explore methods of speech and to feel comfortable at the level of speech they’re at.
Client-centered therapy wants to encourage people to be happy with who they are right now. The treatment isn’t about changing someone, but more about helping the patient to accept themselves.
They need to realize what they’re capable of, regardless of circumstances or personal difficulties.
The treatment aims to help clients feel a higher level of self-worth and compassion for themselves. This encourages the patient to take charge of any improvements they want to make along the way.
Goodbye Judgment, Hello Self-Acceptance!
If someone needs to go to speech therapy, chances are they feel a lack of confidence in how they speak. They’re probably concentrating on what they do wrong, and how they’re different to everyone else.
Whereas, client-centered therapy is a method of treatment that allows people to believe in the potential they have. The therapy encourages clients to feel in control over their situation.
Thus, they’re more likely to assert their ability and improve their skills.
This therapy allows for a safe, non-judgemental and reassuring space for clients to work through their issues. The key is that they’re permitted to work at their own pace, and towards their own goals.
Client-centered therapy wants clients to say: Goodbye judgment, hello self-acceptance!
If after reading this you want to know more about client-centered speech therapy, check out Great Speech for further details.