A curious paradox

‘…the curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I change.’

Carl Rogers wrote these famous words in 1961*

This may sound glib, but it came out of long experience of therapy in which the counsellor and his or her ability to be ‘real’ within the counselling relationship with a client, was the basis for all change.   Rather than seeing cleverness or analytical ability as the main attributes needed by himself as a counsellor (though he had plenty of both), he later came to see it as ‘a way of being’.

Explaining further his statement above, he writes,  ‘I believe that I have learned this from my clients as well as within my own experience – that we cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed.’

” One way of putting this is that I feel I have become more adequate in letting myself be what I am‘. It becomes easier for me to accept myself as a decidedly imperfect person, who by no means functions at all times in the way in which i would like to function.

*Rogers, C., (1967) On Becoming a Person: a therapist’s view of psychotherapy. London, Constable.