In his introduction to On Becoming a Person Carl Rogers recounts how he worked with a mother to help her deal with her child who was 'something of a hellion'. He spent time with the mother gently interpreting her behaviour and showing her the evidence that supported his own insight that it was her early rejection of her son that caused his problems. He got nowhere with her, despite his best efforts and eventually gave up. They both agreed that the therapy had failed. As the woman got up to leave his office, she asked if he did adult counselling. He said 'yes' and she returned to the chair and began to pour out her despair at her own life. Real therapy began at that moment and was ultimately successful. Of this incident Rogers writes as follows:
'This incident was one of a number which helped me to experience the fact - only fully realized later - that it is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried. It began to occur to me that unless I had a need to demonstrate my own cleverness and learning, I would do better to rely on the client for the direction of movement in the process.' (On Becoming a Person, pp11-12).