When experiencing personal struggles and difficulties, it seems logical to search for the support of family and friends. What’s usually received in return is well intentioned advice from loved ones who truly do want to help. Sometimes advice is helpful, however, more often than not it can just end up feeling invalidating - either you’re not feeling heard, or the advice given tends to obscure self-discovery and psychological insight.
Sometimes, other peoples’ advice just doesn’t fit, and you need to reach deeper within yourself to find answers.
What’s right for you and how you can come to trust and appreciate yourself is at the core of the Person-Centered Therapy. The influential psychologist Carl Rogers developed Person-Centered Therapy, finding that people are likely to flourish when their therapist is warm, genuine, and accepting.
Rogers believed that if therapists were empathetic, the people would be free to explore their inner and outer experiences and would come to appreciate themselves thus gaining increased psychological insight, self-esteem, empathy for self and others, reality-testing, and improved decision making. In fact, research has found that Person-Centered Therapy is effective for a wide variety of individuals and difficulties.
The idea of looking into yourself to find answers to your problems seems daunting, and there are certainly factors that can make it even more difficult. In today’s society, we are constantly bombarded with messages from advertising, media and even our own families and friends telling us how to act, what to buy and what we should be doing. It’s much more valuable to focus your energy on “What’s right for me, who am I, and where am I going?”
Self-reflection can be difficult, especially if your inner truth conflicts with what society is bombarding us with. However, with a sense of acceptance, openness, and patience, we can begin to grow towards this beneficial practice.
There are many paths towards insight and self-knowledge such as meditation, journaling, and professional therapy. However each person will need to see what works for them. For me personally, I find meditation and keeping a journal of my personal experience to be revealing and grounding. In my next blog post, I will expand upon these and other practices which can promote psychological insight and wellness throughout one's life.