Client centred approach to mental illness was introduced by psychologist Carl Rogers. Unlike the usual approaches talking about either action over thinking or about the subconscious desires and unawake mind of the individual, this approach talks about allowing people to talk about their own experiences in their own way, at their own speed and pace. No diagnoses, advises, do’s and don’ts, interpretations, evaluations, reassurances, praises or blames are put on the patient or the person. Instead, the patient is supposed to explain or elaborate on his condition on his own. The focus is most on the patient and he is known as the client, to provide a more equal footing to the person when he/she discusses his/her issues with the psychologist. It is a non-directive therapy, directly focusing on the person/client (Wu et al. 2017). Covid 19 pandemic that has gripped the world has had impacts on the status of mental health of the population in terms of increasing stress and anxiety in the patients and their families and carers as well along with the general public living in isolation and under lockdown (Rajkumar 2020). This article discusses this effect of the COVID 19 pandemic on the mental health of people through the client centred approach as discussed above.
Physical and social distancing being practiced during this pandemic is proving to be detrimental towards the mental health of people and affecting their stress and anxiety levels seriously. A look at the Australian context tells us that lifestyle changes, psychological distress, fear for the health of loved ones and the stress of going through it is impacting the mental health of Australians severely (Van et al. 2020). In a situation like this, a more humanistic and person-oriented approach of dealing with mental health issues is going to prove helpful. Emphasizing on the humanistic perspective when dealing with therapeutic relationships with the clients will help in ensuring self-esteem, actualization and help improve the strengths of the clients. This approach will help in dealing with understanding the person’s life experience from his/her own point of view. The therapist with his/her work, therefore, needs to facilitate this by helping create an enabling environment for the client to find the solution to his or her problems on their own. The therapist doesn’t try to give directions to the client or offer solutions (Wu et al. 2017).
The enabling environment to be provided to the client will include empathy, transparency and positive regard. Empathy will involve sensitive tracking of the individual and his/her feelings and thoughts moment to moment. It will also include summarizing those thoughts and presenting them to the client. Transparency will involve the therapist not lying to the client or deceiving or fooling the client. The therapist will convey his/her own personal thoughts clearly and will not comment on something he/she doesn’t understand. Transparency involves what the therapist is thinking. Positive regard should be unconditional from the therapist’s side towards the client and they should be regarded as valuable and worthy of it (Wu at al. 2017).
The described approach including genuineness and transparency from the therapist can help both the client, a corona patient maybe and his/her family and carers as well in opening up and expressing their feelings and create an enabling environment for them. The anxiety and stress levels associated with the family of the patient and the carers is also noted to be on the higher side while measuring mental health status. Reasons discussed for the same were focused upon fear of the unknown, worry about the health of the loved one and also associated stress about his/her own health in the carer’s mind (Uwakwe 2020).
An approach based on the principles of recovery and participation of consumers can help in better assistance of the patients/consumers and their families/carers in dealing with issues around their mental health. The basic ten core principles of recovery include empowerment of the client/person along with utilizing a person oriented approach, where consumers will self-direct their own recovery in a holistic manner with the help of support from peers and the recovery will be non-linear and based on the consumer’s own strengths. The consumers are themselves responsible for their own recovery which is based on respect and hope. Consumer participation will involve their inclusion in their treatment process and provision of information to them about their condition and mental health. It will also include participation of the family and carers in the healing process to provide support and care to people. The involvement of carer in the process of treatment planning and listening to them and their feedback along with respecting them for their role as carers will help improve the mental health of both the client and the carer (Snyder et al. 2015).
The approach described will better help in dealing with corona and the pandemic crisis to better assist the patient and his/her family. The consumer participation approach will help relieve the fear of unknown for the patient and help him/her get a better idea of their condition and reduce their anxiety and stress as well along with reducing stress for the carer and the family as well (Uwakwe 2020).
Some services available online in Australia to support consumers and their families with a mental illness- include the following-
Beyond Blue provides information, advice and strategies to help manage your wellbeing and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1800512348- contact number
The essay discussed the client-centred and person-oriented approach of looking at mental health issues and also looked at the current covid-19 crisis in the world and how its impacting the mental health of individuals, patients, their families and carers in terms of rising stress and anxiety levels. The client centred approach looks at the client as a person who himself/herself is responsible for finding the solution to his/her problems and the therapist only needs to provide a genuine and enabling environment to the client for the same. The principles of recovery and the idea of participation of consumers including the family and carers will help deal with the issues of mental health due to corona in a better way. More efforts are needed to provide services like these to people suffering from mental health issues to help them deal with the issues in a better way and recover.
Rajkumar, R.P. 2020. COVID-19 and mental health: A review of the existing literature. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, p.102066.
Snyder, M.D. and George, B. 2015. Addressing principles of recovery to engage consumers in outpatient treatment. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 36(8), pp.644-648.
Uwakwe, P.C. 2020. Genuineness In Client Centered Psychotherapy: It’s Relevance To The Nigerian Society During The Convid-19 Global Pandemic. International Journal For Psychotherapy In Africa, 5(1).
Van Rheenen, T.E., Meyer, D., Neill, E., Phillipou, A., Tan, E.J., Toh, W.L. and Rossell, S.L. 2020. Mental health status of individuals with a mood-disorder during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Australia: Initial Results from the COLLATE Project: COVID-19 and mood disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders.
Wu, I.H., Bathje, G.J., Kalibatseva, Z., Sung, D., Leong, F.T. and Collins-Eaglin, J. 2017. Stigma, mental health, and counseling service use: A person-centered approach to mental health stigma profiles. Psychological Services, 14(4), p.490.
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