Client-centred therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic growth: Theoretical perspectives and practical implications

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In practice it is not unusual for client-centred therapists to work with people who have experienced traumatic events. However, client-centred therapy is not usually considered within texts on traumatic stress and questions have been raised over the appropriateness of client-centred therapy with trauma survivors. The present study shows how, although he was writing well before the introduction of the term ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’, Carl Rogers provided a theory of therapy and personality that contains an account of threat-related psychological processes largely consistent with contemporary trauma theory. Rogers' theory provides the conceptual underpinnings to the client-centred and experiential ways of working with traumatized people. Furthermore, Rogers' theory provides an understanding of post-traumatic growth processes, and encourages therapists to adopt a more positive psychological perspective to their understanding of how people adjust to traumatic events.

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