Our Newsletter “Encounter”


We use the word Encounter as our title because of its relevance and reflection of what we offer as an academic institute and training college for counselors and psychotherapists at ICPPD.

The hope for our Encounter Newsletter is that it will leave a positive impression, with an invitation to connect and relate in ways that can empower and support you on your journey of personal and professional development. We would like to thank you for your presence and hope that you will contact us, we would love to hear your views and comments. Thank you for your ongoing support.

What does Encounter mean within therapeutic space –

Encounter is at the core of counselling and psychotherapy training and practice, regardless of therapeutic modality. According to research therapeutic encounter is impacted by the interrelatedness of personal growth and self-care, therapeutic approaches, and the creation of a safe space,

When we first meet as therapist and client both people show who and how they are and can form an impression of ‘the other’. Forming a solid relationship can empower clients to delve deeper into the issues they may be facing and to ‘open up’ emotionally to the therapist. Therapeutic presence involves being intimately engaged and absorbed in the experience of the moment, with therapists’ attention and focus on the client and the interaction taking place. Therapeutic presence involves (a) being in contact with one’s integrated and healthy self, while being (b) open and receptive, to what is poignant in the moment and immersed in it, with (c) a larger sense of spaciousness and expansion of awareness and perception. This grounded, immersed and expanded awareness occurs with (d) the intention of being with and for the client, in service of their healing process (Geller & Greenberg, 2002, 2012).

Therapeutic presence allows for a therapist to offer nonjudgmental, highly focused, and attuned awareness with the intent of being in service of the client’s healing process. Therapeutic presence also allows the therapist to work at a relational depth and enhance the therapeutic relationship and alliance between therapist and client, a key factor in successful therapeutic work (Lambert & Simon, 2008; Mearns, 1997).

The theory of therapeutic presence proposes that the most important guide to a therapeutic response or reflection is to be present, grounded, and fully open and receptive to the client from moment to moment. From that place of receiving the client on a multi-sensory level, therapists tune into their own theoretical, learned, personal, and intuitive understanding of the client and a natural response or direction emerges from within. This encourages clients to feel open, safe, and accepting or present with themselves and with the therapist, which allows for a co-operative relationship to emerge where the therapist and client can develop greater mutual presence as well as I-thou contact and relational depth.

Therapeutic presence involves the therapist being fully in the moment on a multitude of levels, physically, emotionally, cognitively, spiritually, and relationally (Geller & Greenberg, 2002, 2012). Therapists’ cultivation and ability to be present with their clients provides an invitation to the other to feel met, understood, and to open and become present within their own experience as well as with their therapist, which can allow for moments of relational depth to arise.

With ICPPD’s holistic approach to education, mental health, the importance of the therapeutic encounter is paramount. During an assessment a counsellor/psychotherapist considers the spiritual, psychological, functional, and structural aspects of a client. They inquire about the building blocks to health, family, social, environmental, and external factors. The aim is to identify the initiating and aggravating influences that are contributing to the symptoms and dis-ease, and to determine what needs to change or what a client might require to kindle their innate healing ability and to achieve a desired state of well-being.

Tierney, writing on presence and encountering the other states “Mutuality and therapy is about both connection and separation. By seeing our interconnectedness and overlapping interests with others, the relational-cultural therapy model of the primary relatedness of humans heals the split between self and other, between self and society. I can be with others in my vulnerability rather than standing against others in my separateness. Mutuality is tender presence. The “moment-to-moment encounter of psychotherapy” happens in the immediate present (Rogers, 1980: 2155); “it is involvement in the immediacy of experience of relationship”. This attitude of tenderness is the fourth core condition (Thorne & Lambers, 1998).