This engaging new book presents a ‘child-centred’ model of therapy that is thoroughly person-centred in its values. Establishing the roots of child-centred therapy in both child development theories and the Rogerian model, David Smyth demonstrates that counselling the person-centred way is exceptionally relevant to young people. The book further develops child-centred therapy theory and practice, applying the model to real-life practice with children and young people, whether in play, school, organisations or with those with special needs. It also explores the complex professional issues so critical with this age group, including challenging boundaries, establishing an effective relationship with parents and other primary carers, legal and ethical considerations, and multi-professional practice. The author's warm, accessible style conveys his passionate conviction that the person-centred approach can provide a strong foundation for child therapy practice. His book introduces humanistic counselling and psychotherapy trainees to the particular requirements of working with children and young people, and also illustrates the value of using a ‘child-centred’ approach for those who might already be working with children in mental health settings. Equally, this volume can be used for professional development in many disciplines including adult trained therapists who want to extend their knowledge of people prior to reaching adulthood.
Having reached this stage in my book, I recall its genesis and how important it was to me to try to convey what I believe to be the essence of being person-centred. I think of the tensions this approach has encountered along its evolutionary way. In the early days, it was trivialised by many who thought it was simply a matter of repeating the last remarks of a client. At the same time, Rogers came into conflict with practitioners in other branches of psychotherapy when he stated that, given the means to flourish, clients knew what they needed for themselves. It was the role of the expert practitioner to point out where clients were going wrong and to teach them what they must do ...