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Expectations for Progress

The person-centered counselor who adequately and consistently provides the necessary therapeutic conditions can expect Maria to progress in some general ways. It should be made clear, however, that Maria may not change in the ways that others deem to be best. Maria is seeking herself, and finding more of herself will likely reduce the control these others have over her. Such control will be replaced by increasing trust in her organism so that Maria will begin to realize her personal ability to control her own life while still considering the needs of others.

Maria becomes more open to talking and reacting honestly about difficult issues as her trust increases that the counselor will still think well of her, no matter how inappropriate certain aspects of her feelings, thoughts, and actions seem to be. Problems begin to appear as manageable and not nearly as terrible or insurmountable as Maria had believed. Her excitement about finding new ways to see the world will likely be followed by struggles to understand her new world and how to relate to it differently.

Maria will soon find a need to explore her new ways of viewing, feeling, and acting in the world outside of counseling. She will want to know how her children, family, boss, and dates might respond if she chooses to act differently. Such issues will be explored in the therapeutic relationship before she tries them out. Maria will want to understand both the good and bad results after they have been tried in real life. The new ideas, observations, and attempted behaviors involved in each new situation will expand Maria's view of the world and likely bring her back to the counselor for help in integrating the newfound information.

Pleasures, fears, successes, and disappointments will all be parts of Maria's development. But she will come to recognize that each experience provides learning that promotes confidence in her ability to self-direct and correct mistakes. Eventually, she will gain enough confidence in her immediate reactions to use a productive combination of her own ideas and those of others to develop positive outcomes. She will recognize that even when things do not work out as planned, she is effective enough to overcome mistakes and move forward.

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