“In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for their own personal growth?”
(Carl R. Rogers, 1961)
In therapy and with supervisees, I talk about “organic change“.
What I mean by that is, change that happens slowly – depends on the client’s pace and the issue at hand – but it happens slowly because we are dealing with the root issue, not only the symptoms but the root cause of the problem or dilemma the client might bring.
This means that personal growth will remain as such, with a few setbacks of course, but it can never go back to zero once the process has begun.
This process, as Carl Rogers found out, can only take place when the therapist stops trying to fix or solve the problem for the client – they are not broken, I must add – and relies on the therapeutic relationship that develops throughout the sessions, to explore and understand the root of the thoughts, emotions, behaviours, etc., that the client might have and why these are so.
This allows for organic change, change from deep within, which frees the individual into a more self-aware and fulfilled life.
This will be different for everyone, but if we as therapists work on this premise, the chances of having an impact on our clients that allows for personal growth will be massive.