An Exploration into the impact of working with a dying client on the Humanistic PersonCentred Psychotherapist

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This discussion and review critically evaluates the theoretical approaches used in a client centered humanistic therapeutic or related approach of treatment, and the conclusions reached in published studies. The review also addresses similarities and differences in theoretical methods and perspectives adopted by different researchers and provides an evaluative analysis on the effects of working with a dying client and the impact this could have on the therapist.

Introduction

The death or dying condition of the client has a profound impact on the therapist who not only witnesses the gradual demise of a person he knew closely but also the dissociation of a relationship that may have developed over years in which the client and the therapist were part of deeper thought processes and the therapist became aware of the inner mental processes of the client.
Considering that the therapist may well have been the closest person to the client, and the client revealed many secrets to the therapist, the bond may have been especially strong between the client and the therapist. Clients in many cases are closest to their therapists than even to their family members and the client therapist relationship is defined by trust as the client reveals many personal facets to the therapist which the world may not even know. The therapist and client thus develop a mutual attachment and that is why being attached to a dying client and witnessing a close person's death could have a significant impact on the psychotherapist. ...
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