Counseling can offer numerous strategies to deal with traumatic events in one’s life effectively. The concept of self-compassion can be utilized in different therapeutic approaches and provide people with tools to address their issues or transition from one stage in their life to another. This post will examine self-compassion in gestalt and existential methods and discuss how person-centered and existential methods differ from the psychodynamic perspective.
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Self-compassion in counseling is the ability to direct sympathy and kindness towards oneself. It can be employed in gestalt therapy to allow patients to enact their emotional issues and offer them a softer way to confront their problems and themselves (Crozier, 2014). In existential therapy, self-compassion is used to allow clients to understand their ultimate concerns. According to Edwards and Milton (2014), it can be directed toward older people’s changing self-construct and foster understanding of the new limitations during the transition into retirement. Overall, self-compassion in counseling facilitates the patient’s empathy for themselves and their position in life.
Person-centered and existential approaches to therapy differ substantially from the psychodynamic perspective. The latter view aims to help clients achieve insight into the root causes of their issues and allow them to cope with them (McLeod, 2013). Thus, the perspective focuses primarily on the individual’s negative experiences. In contrast, person-centered therapy encourages self-actualization, empathy, and compassion towards the self (McLeod, 2013). The existential method allows patients to examine their relationships with the self, the world, and others (McLeod, 2013). Overall, the main difference between the therapies is in assigning value to varying experiences in the clients’ lives.
In summary, counseling employs several different therapeutic approaches and strategies to assist patients. The concept of self-compassion can help individuals direct empathy towards the self and accept themselves and their position in life, especially during traumatic and transitional periods. However, self-compassion is not utilized in all therapies, as the psychodynamic perspective focuses mainly on negative experiences, while person-centered and existential approaches promote sympathy and self-actualization.
Crozier, D. (2014). Self-compassion. An introduction to self-compassion and its relevance in Gestalt therapy. Gestalt Journal of Australia and New Zealand, 10(2), 85–108.
Edwards, W., & Milton, M. (2014). Retirement therapy? Older people’s experiences of existential therapy relating to their transition to retirement. Counselling Psychology Review, 29(2), 43–53.
McLeod, J. (2013). An introduction to counselling (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
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