The Difference Directiveness Makes: The Ethics and Consequences of Guidance in Psychotherapy


Witty, M.


Non-directiveness is an attitude of the client-centered therapist. It is the valuational matrix within which the core conditions of acceptance, empathic understanding, and congruence coalesce. The paper explores how departing from this attitude makes a difference in clients’ experiences of psychotherapy. An excerpt from focusing-oriented therapy suggests effects of directivity that re-inscribe the authority of the therapist and undermine clients’ “power to refuse.” It is argued that non-directive client-centered therapy trusts clients as the proper architect of the therapy process and that process directive and experiential therapies do not.