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Person-Centered Therapy

Person-Centered Therapy

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Person-Centered Therapy

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  1. Person-Centered Therapy

  2. Carl Rogers • In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth? • The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.

  3. Relationship to Existing Theory • Based on concepts of humanistic psychology brought to the US by Jews fleeing the Nazis • Was developed as non-directive counseling • In reaction to the directiveness of psychoanalytic theory • Falls into what has been termed the third force in therapy • An alternative to both psychoanalysis and behaviorism

  4. Theory Development • First Period -- 1940s • Nondirective Counseling • Developed in reaction to psychoanalytic approach • Challenged the basic assumption that “counselor knows best” • Second Period -- 1950s • Client-Centered Therapy • Reflects emphasis on the client rather than on nondirective methods • Characterized by shift from clarification of feelings to a focus on the phenomenological world of the client • Focused more actualizing as a motivational force

  5. Theory Development • Third Period -- 1950s – 1970s • Openness to experience • Trust in one’s experience • Internal Locus of Evaluation • Willingness to be in process • Encounter Groups, Applied in education as student-centered

  6. Existentialism & Humanism: Similarities • Share a respect for the client’s subjective experience • Trust in capacity of the client to make positive and constructive conscious choices • Emphasize concepts such as freedom, choice, values, personal responsibility, autonomy, purpose and meaning • Parallel concepts with regard to the client-therapist relationship at the core of therapy • Both adopt a phenomenological stance • Call for therapist to enter the subjective world • Both emphasize client’s capacity for self-awareness

  7. Existentialists believe that, as humans, we are faced with the anxiety of choosing to create an identity in a world that lacks intrinsic meaning Humanists believe each person has a natural potential that we can actualize and through which we can find meaning Existentialism & Humanism: Differences

  8. Major Philosophical Assumptions • Belief that people are resourceful, capable of self-direction and able to live effectively and successfully • People will move in positive directions if the way is clear for them to do so • When people are free to do so, they will find their own way • Has little faith in the role of experts who direct others toward self-betterment

  9. Major Philosophical Assumption, cont… • Humanistic philosophy is compared to the acorn, which, if provided the right nurturing conditions will automatically grow in positive ways, pushed naturally toward actualization as an oak tree.

  10. Major Philosophical Assumption, cont… • Becoming increasingly actualized = • An openness to experience • A trust in oneself • An internal source of evaluation • A willingness to continue growing

  11. Central Constructs & Tenets • Therapist can promote client growth by demonstrating: • Congruence • Unconditional positive regard • Accurate empathy • Self-Actualization • These result in people being less defensive, letting go of rigid perceptions and being more open to self-actualization

  12. Congruence • Genuineness & Caring • Real without False Front • Considered by Rogers as most important • Trying too hard to be genuine can lead to incongruence • Therapist does not have to be fully self-actualized in order to be effective: However, Congruence must be present in the counseling relationship

  13. Unconditional Positive Regard • Refers to acceptance of the worth of the person; not acceptance or approval of all behaviors

  14. Accurate Empathy • Able to grasp the subjective world of another • Implies that the therapist will sense the client’s feelings without getting lost in them (losing own identity) • Easier said than done, learning it sometimes feels silly (example of mirroring in counselor training)

  15. Tolerance of uncertainty Acceptance of self and others Spontaneity and creativity Comfort with solitude Autonomy Capacity for deep personal relationships Sense of humor Genuine caring for others Inner-directedness Positive outlook on life Self-Actualization Looked at the healthy rather than the sick side of clients and at the value of their moving toward self-actualization through which they experience

  16. Therapeutic Frame of Reference • Present • Past is important only as it contributes to current awareness

  17. Therapeutic Goals • To achieve a greater degree of integration and independence • To focus on the person rather than on the presenting problem. • No preset goals • Client with the help of a trusted, facilitating therapist will set own course

  18. View of Pathology • Clients come to therapy in a state of incongruence (discrepancy between self-perception and their experience in reality) with resultant anxiety • Feel sense of helplessness and powerlessness toward making appropriate decisions to direct their own life • Since the drive toward higher levels of psychological maturity are deeply rooted, person-centered therapy can be effective with normal and maladjusted persons

  19. Therapeutic Objectives • Congruence • Increased trust in self • Increased willingness to explore alternatives • Increased personal resources

  20. Role of the Therapist • To establish a therapeutic climate (i.e., congruence, empathy, unconditional positive regard) that facilitates growth and change. • Clients should be able to: • Feel understood and accepted without judgment • Lower their defenses to self-exploration and feel more open to experience • Discover hidden aspects of themselves • Become more realistic • Perceive others with greater accuracy

  21. Relationship of Counselor & Client • Quality of relationship determines outcome of counseling • 2 people are in psychological contact • Client is in state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious • Counselor is congruent or integrated in the relationship • Counselor experiences unconditional positive regard for the client • Counselor experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference and endeavors to communicate this experience to the client • The communication to the client of the counselor’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a minimal degree achieved

  22. To hear stories from counselors who worked with Rogers’ about his perceptions of the importance of Counselor-Client relationship and approach to developing and maintaining that relationship click the picture. http://www.odu.edu/~eneukrug/therapists/rogers.html

  23. Clients should be able to… • Feel safer and less vulnerable • Accept themselves more as they are • Become truer to themselves and less affected by others’ expectations • Become more self-directed • Perceive the past as less deterministic

  24. Multicultural Contributions • Significant contributions to cross-cultural communication • Person-centered philosophy and practice is studied and practiced in many different cultures • Emphasis on core conditions increases the utility of approach for understanding diverse worldviews

  25. Multicultural Limitations • Some clients desire more structure • Difficult to translate the core conditions into actual practice in some cultures • Communication of conditions must be congruent with client’s cultural framework • Internal Locus of Evaluation • Some cultures value collectivism more than individualism

  26. Gloria Video • Watch for Rogers’ use of techniques and tenets related to his theory with Gloria. • Click on the picture to play the video clip.