HELPING RELATIONSHIPS: CORE CONDITIONS
The concept of basic or core condition related to the helping relationship has its basis in the early work of Rogers (1957) and the continued work of such authors as Carkhuff and Barenson (1967), Combs (1986), Egan (2002), Ivey (1998), Patterson (1974), and Truax and Carkhuff (1967). The concept incorporates a set of conditions that, when present, enhances the effectiveness of the helping relationship. These conditions vary in terminology from author to author but generally include the following: empathic understanding, respect and positive regard, genuineness and congruence, concreteness, warmth, and immediacy.
It should be obvious in reviewing this list that the concept of core conditions relates directly to various personal characteristics or behaviors that the counselor or therapist brings to and incorporates into the helping relationship. It is difficult to pinpoint with any exactness how such characteristics or behaviors develop. Are they the result of life experiences, classroom instruction, or some combination of both? Our experience in education favors the last explanation. Core conditions or behaviors must already be present to some degree in our students for our instruction to enhance or expand them.
The remainder of this section deals with the core conditions and relates these directly to personal characteristics or behaviors of counselors or therapists that should enhance their ability to effectively use these conditions in the process of helping. Although definitions, emphases, and applications of these conditions differ across theoretical systems, there seems to be agreement about their effectiveness in facilitating change in the overall helping relationships (Brammer, Abrego, & Shostrom, 1993; Brems, 2000; Freedberg, 2007; Gatongi, 2008; Gladding, 2009a, 2009b; Murphy & Dillon, 2003; Prochaska & Norcross, 2003).