Person centered therapy and psychosocial therapy - Intervention Plan and Case study
Category : Psychology
Person Centered Therapy (PCT) Intervention Plan: the case of a 13-year old girl who was molested by her tennis coach
Introduction of the Case
The case is about a 13-year old pupil (name withheld) who was molested by her tennis coach. Although the newspaper article (see Appendix) talks much of the legal aspects of the case, a basic description of situation of the victim is perceptible and could serve as sufficient supporting proof for an intervention plan focused on the principles of Person Centered Therapy (PCT).
Introduction of the Therapy
The Person Centered Therapy (PCT), also known as Client-centered Therapy, non-directive, or Rogerian therapy, is characterized by the idea of empowering the client in the therapeutic relationship as the expert, rather than the therapist, and set out against the standard of traditional therapy (, 2000). This was developed by humanist psychologist Carl Rogers and referred as counseling rather than psychotherapy. Accordingly, the most outstanding attributes of this approach is the involvement of human relationship of the therapist and the client (, 2000). This more personal relationship offered by the therapist assists the patient to reach a state of realization particularly on the thought that they can help themselves. PCT is mainly used in order for people to achieve personal growth and solve problems or overcome situations that they are having (, 2000). The core concepts or values of PCT are empathetic understanding (empathy), congruence or genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and self-actualization ( & , 1984; ., 1990; , 1993). (2000) identified the most fundamental concepts of PCT namely: trust; empathy; congruence; genuine respect for the other; and unconditional regard for the client that includes a non-judgmental view of them.
Some of the humanistic schools, such as Gestalt or person-centered approaches, do not deal with the client’s past, for example, because they believe that the most important materials are offered in the present (, 2000). In application, the person-centered counselor’s role is to stay with whatever the client feels, and this is to let the client lead. The counselor reflects back the client’s feelings to him/her, so that s/he can hear them from another point of view. This clarifies his/her feelings for him/her or makes them more apparent. His/Her empathy encourages him/her to express the feelings that s/he has. Furthermore, it is the therapist’s role to help individuals to discover their own potential for themselves, and resist the temptation to solve clients’ problems for them. This may be one of the difficult aspects of the training in the person-centered approach (, 2000). It is highly emphasize in person-centered counseling that clients define their own goals, and counselors strive to deeply understand the world as their clients see and experience it (, 1995).
One of the most typical criticisms to PCT and delivering the core values and conditions is that what all good therapists do before moving on the specific intervention and application of their expertise to make the client feel better (, 2003). Also, the PCT seem to avoid addressing confrontational situations ( & , 1999). To address such, (1995) put it, "the differences between people are outweighed by the similarities, and... understanding, empathy and acceptance are activities (or qualities) that transcend cultural and social differences" (). This reconciles the difficulty in applying the principles of PCT as well as its core concepts particularly in any psychotherapeutic situation.
Reason of Using the Therapy
The primary reason of using PCT approach is bounded on the idea that the victim is a child, that her concept of human emotions/relationships and personality development (self-actualization) is needed to be effectively facilitated. By looking on the purposes of PCT, these are, increasing self-esteem and greater openness to experience; increasing client’s independence and integration; fostering client including closer agreement between their idealized and actual selves as well as better self-understanding; lowering levels of defensiveness, guilt, and insecurity; creating more positive and comfortable relationship with others; and increasing capacity to experience and express feelings at the moment they occur, the reason of utilizing this approach is to provide a clear understanding of the victim’s situation and eventually to achieve self-acceptance and actualization. It is presumed that by possessing truthful knowledge on the victim’s experience, she is able to continue to live a normal life leaving no traces of the negative impacts of her sexual affliction.
The Intervention Plan
The Case Problem
The case problem is mainly reflected on the situation of the 13-year old pupil who was molested by her tennis coach. One of the most alarming problems is when the girl climbed on to the roof of her family home, and threatened to commit suicide after hearing the court’s decision toward her offender. Now, the challenges are to lessen the risk of self-inflicted harm and how to bring back trust, security, and self-actualization on the part of the victim.
The Case Background
The 13-year old girl was said to be frequently sexually molested by her tennis coach. The mother of the girl discovered the act when she had returned home early from a social gathering and find out that her daughter was naked and the coach is having oral sex with her daughter. Looking on previous accounts in the court, the tennis coach “had worn her pupil's underwear and tennis gear, shared a room with the girl at a hotel in Bournemouth during a tennis tournament, and offered to baby-sit her, the trial had heard”. Further, “the academy suspected that their relationship was becoming inappropriate” because the tennis coach spends time in “the child's room when she should have been studying”. According to the news article, “the relationship continued for some to months before the girl became withdrawn and her tennis began to suffer”. After the mother’s discovery of the act, she reported to the police. The trial continued and came up with a guilty verdict on the tennis coach. Now, the consequential effect of the court’s decision is the attempt of the girl to commit suicide by climbing on to the roof of her family home.
The key issue is the girl’s attempt to commit suicide and believed to be caused by depression and repercussion caused by the experience itself. The depression is more likely to occur after the experience that leads to the development of negative behaviors like insecurity, social withdrawal, and other emotionally-based circumstances. Other repercussions caused by the experience are seen on how the girl deal and communicate with her immediate environment particularly in her school performance and parental relationship. It is said that during the months of the relationship of girl and her tennis coach, the girl became reserved and shows most likely poor performance on her tennis class.
In relation to the intervention plan, the causes are mainly based on the need to assist the victim to pass through the entire experience. First, the girl needs to have a clear understanding of her self as growing adolescent. Second, her motivation in her consensus relationship with her tennis coach must be identified on her part and on her family members as well. Lastly, the intervention plan works on the effectual administration of the PCT approach while considering its purposes as reasons for involvement. It must work on the eventual development of the victim in terms of personality, behavior and self-actualization.
- Providing clear understanding of her self as growing adolescent
- To provide understanding of her self as a growing adolescent in terms of personal strengths and weaknesses
- To establish trustful connection between the client and the therapist
- To encourage unrestricted and two-way communication
- Conversations using formal and informal methods but mostly interpersonal in nature. Communication is among the most influential technique of intervention and it also aids in predicting necessary steps that work for the eventual positive progression of the case. Through communication, trust is cultivated which result to development of connection with the two interacting bodies. The process of communication is ultra dynamic and surpassed the expectations of some of its deliberate functions. The interpretation of the message or information being relayed through communication poses a challenge on the therapist, particularly on the establishment of human relations or patient’s relationship. In general, communication becomes effective when both parties involved are honest, sincere, and open to share information and have the ability to decipher the meaning of their messages. Effective communication must always be practiced as it is significant to individual health as well as for the creation of positive relationships. Specifically, the ability to communicate directly affects an individual’s stress levels, self-esteem and relationship quality ( & , 1998; , 1992).
- As part of the communication process, journal or diary writing may serve as a direct way of analyzing the girl’s behavior and personality. This process facilitates the bringing out of thoughts, feelings, and other issues on the part of the client especially those things that are not easy to explain or afraid of communal disclosure.
- The communication or interaction between the client and the therapist may continue all throughout the recovery or when positive results are emerging especially on the part of the client.
- Identification of her motivation of entering a consensus relationship with her tennis coach
- To identify the personal motivation of the client in entering such relationship
- To be aware of the factors within the client’s family and background affecting such behavior or personality
- Interviewing people who has knowledge on the beginnings and foundations of the relationship is deemed imperative. This will give background on the motivations or reasons why the client had this kind of relationship. Exercising precautionary measures particularly on the issue of confidentiality and objectivity among sources and their responses is also crucial.
- Interaction on the client is very sensitive on this case as it can bring negative repercussions. The therapist must gauge the degree of asking questions about the relationship. If discretionary questioning is practiced, it may create communication barrier such as hesitation, individual bias or prejudice, and other personal differences.
- Communication is still elementary. On the part of the sources, it must be identified that the action is directed toward therapeutic intervention in smallest amount, thus honest and objectivity is a basic consideration.
· A couple of days and weeks before the intended intervention are helpful. However, consistency must always be taken into specific attention.
· Ensuring the effectual administration of the PCT approach while considering its purposes as reasons for involvement
· To guarantee effective result of the PCT approach by considering the given purposes and reasons of utilization
· To identify the possibility of higher forms of therapeutic attention and management
- The method of ensuring the effectiveness of the PCT approach lies on the ability of the therapist to manage the current as well as the future conditions in their client-therapist relationship.
- On the part of the client, her understanding and self-concept of the situation is a great method in transforming negative experiences.
- This can materialize upon the conception of the therapeutic intervention plan and extends beyond until the conclusion or when positive results are eventually achieved.
Basis of Assessment (How can I assess the case?)
Assessing the case is a challenging endeavor as it requires an intensive ability to see what is apparent and to dig deeper on the hidden circumstances existing in the case. It also allows the chance to look ahead or advancement of viewpoint in the development of potent useful mechanisms. On this case, the basis of assessment is the current condition of the girl on the state of depression and possessing suicidal tendency. Consequently, the case is assessed by using earlier information that deals directly to the situation and the victim. It may include information gathered from immediate individuals and communities – personal statements of parents, relatives, friends, classmates, and related persons as well as in the school or at home.
The Client Dynamic
The client dynamic includes individual factors that personally influence the idea of self-identity and societal role, community factors, and freedom. In the PCT approach, the client is free to choose any directions but inherently chooses positive and beneficial pathways.
Causes of Limit of Client Change
The possibility of client change is challenged by the limitations caused by personal emotion such as fear, individual differences, parental acceptance and stress, problematic behaviors, anxiety, emotional disturbance (, 1998), and external forces such as social norms and measures particularly on the idea that sexual abuse is a social problem and secure form of recognition for abuse victims and their sufferings (, 1998, ), and others. These sample factors that causes limitation in client change must be addressed. Both ends and means used in the attempt to bring out change in client’s behavior are open to inspection, which is certainly not true of many other psychotherapeutic approaches and management. It must be understand that because approaches and styles of counsellors vary as well as the coping-mechanisms of clients, the idea of flexibility on practice is cultivated. In particular, the therapist or counsellors in general need to pay attention to issues relating to the client’s boundaries and sense of self and be wary of taking on individuals who have such poor ego boundaries that a fragile sense of self-actualization may disintegrate to a point where boundaries between self and other are no longer discernible and capable of being respected. Additionally, therapy for some may only be safely proffered in an environment that provides security and protection for both client and therapist, for instance within the confines of a secure psychiatric unit where the risk of the client acting out destructive fantasies against the therapist is reduced by institutional safeguards that serve to protect and preserve the physical welfare and anonymity of the therapist. The use of self is also, and crucially, about therapists knowing and respecting their own limits as well as those of their clients. To end, the best quality of a therapist or counsellor, in my own opinion, is the ability to remain authentic and realistic with what is really practical and functional to daily human development and overall existence.
Appendix - The Newspaper Article
Tennis coach found guilty of molesting 13-year-old pupil
Published: 19 October 2007
Retrieved November 30, 2007 from,
A top tennis coach has been convicted of repeatedly sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl who was her pupil at the Lawn Tennis Association academy.
, 29, a former professional who began her own playing career at the age of 10, was found guilty of four out of five counts of sexual activity with a child at Liverpool Crown Court.
In recent days the court had heard how the girl's mother had returned home early from a party to find , from the Shirley area of Solihull, West Midlands, naked and having oral sex with her daughter. The jury – which failed to reach a verdict on a fifth count of abuse – rejected 's claims that the allegations were made up by the "pushy" and "ambitious" mother.
had worn her pupil's underwear and tennis gear, shared a room with the girl at a hotel in Bournemouth during a tennis tournament, and offered to baby-sit her, the trial had heard.
Judge QC said: "The view I formed... is that the defendant faced an overwhelming case."
The jury of four men and eight women reached its verdict by a majority of 10 to two. On the other charge – which related to having sex at the coach's flat – the jury failed to reach a verdict, and will not face a retrial. The coach was given bail, and will be sentenced on 2 November.
On hearing the verdict yesterday, stared ahead in disbelief before sitting with her head in her hands, knowing her career lay in tatters. Outside the court she broke down in tears, comforted by her parents, who sat in court during her trial.
During the case, 's defence portrayed her as a tough and dedicated tennis player and coach who had been offered a job at the LTA academy by the former British No 1 .
's tennis prowess had been spotted at her local club by Warwickshire county selectors, after being encouraged to play by a friend's mother. then found herself invited to the Bisham Abbey National Tennis Centre, and was propelled into the punishing world of round-the-year tennis tournaments.
By the age of 16 she had turned professional and within three years had broken into to the top 500 ranked players in the world.
However, after developing a reccurring cyst on her wrist that threatened to take her out of the game for up to 18 months, took a decision that she said she came to regret: giving up her playing career and beginning coaching part-time at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham.
"I wanted to give something back to the game which had given me so much so I threw myself into coaching," she told the court.
Subsequently voted LTA Young Coach of the Year, she was head-hunted by the LTA Academy to coach the best young players coming through the system.
Within months had become close to a particular girl – the victim – and the pair spent lunchtimes together in isolated parts of the University of Loughborough campus, the leading sports centre where the academy was based.
The court heard how the coach and her pupil wore similar tracksuits and their hair in similar ponytails. But staff at the academy suspected that their relationship was becoming inappropriate, with spending time in the child's room when she should have been studying.
In late October 2005, 's colleagues decided to take action, unaware that by this stage that the girl's mother had discovered them in the child's bedroom naked and having oral sex.
However, the relationship continued for some to months before the girl became withdrawn and her tennis began to suffer.
The "final straw" came when the mother found the coach wearing her daughter's tennis clothes in the summer of 2006. The mother's "stomach turned over" and – infuriated by 's "smirking and dismissive" reaction – she approached the police.
After hearing what had happened, the girl climbed on to the roof of her family home, and threatened to commit suicide.
Since the allegations, the LTA has restructured its youth academy scheme.