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Carl Rogers Person- Centered Theory
November 11, 2015
Carl Rogerâ€™s person-centered therapy is one of the most acclaimed therapies that have ever been invented. This theory aims at giving any psychologist a broader scope through which psychotherapy can be approached. Characteristically, person- centered theory is holistic. It is the only psychotherapy theory that details how psychotherapy would be made simpler on each aspect. This paper has broadly analyzed the person- centered theory. Among the aspects that the paper looks into include the applicability of the theory, impacts and comparison with other traditional theories in psychotherapy. Finally, it is understood that person- centered therapy may bear some disadvantages to the stakeholders; thus, the vast publications that this theory has attracted. Simply, person-based therapy is what the world needs today. To be more effective, this theory needs to incorporate some aspects such as the employment of professional skills to compliment individual development.
History of Carl Rogers
Carl Ransom Rogers was born on January 8, 1902 and died on February 4, 1987. During his time, he remained a powerful American psychologist and one of the establishers of the humanistic view to psychology (S.P. 2015, p. 54). Rogers is greatly regarded as among the pillars that established psychotherapy study and was rewarded for his original study with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions through the American Psychological Association during 1956. The Person-centered method, his personal exceptional method to comprehending character and peopleâ€™s associations, discovered broad usage in different fields like psychotherapy and counseling (consumer-centered therapy), education (student-centered learning), institutions, and extra cluster sceneries. Because of his expert job, he was honored with the Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Psychology through the APA during 1972. According to Dells (2006, p. 49), as he was approaching his last days on earth, Carl Rogers was proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize due to his job with the countrywide intergroup clash in South Africa and Northern Ireland. In an experiential research carried out by Haggbloom et al. (2002) applying the six principles like quotations and acknowledgment, Rogers was established as the sixth major renowned psychologist during the 20th century and second, in a group of clinicians, just to Sigmund Freud.
History of the theory
Person-centered therapy was established by Carl Rogers during the 1940s. This kind of therapy deviated from the conventional replica of the therapist as a professional and shifted rather to a nondirective, empathic method that allows and encourages the consumer in the therapeutic procedure. Corsini (2011, p. 109) asserts that the therapy is founded on Rogersâ€™s notion that each person struggles for and has the potential to satisfy his or her personal capability. Person-centered therapy, as well called Rogerian therapy has had a huge influence on the area of psychotherapy and several different subjects. Instead of considering individuals as naturally faulty, with challenging performances and imaginations, which need cure, person-centered therapy recognizes that every individual has the potential and craving for individual development and reform.
Rogers called this normal human tendency â€œactualizing tendency,â€ or self-actualization. He compared it to the manner that different living creatures struggle toward equilibrium, order, and better intricacy. In the view of Rogers, â€œPeople have surrounded by enormous resources for personal comprehension and for changing their personal techniques, essential approaches, and personal guided conduct; these resources may be harvested when a classifiable climate of facilitative mental approaches may be givenâ€ (Corsini 2011, p. 13).
The person-centered therapist educates to identify and have faith in human capability, giving consumers empathy, and free positive regard to aid enabled reform. The therapist evades guiding the track of therapy through pursuing the consumerâ€™s guide whenever possible. Alternatively, the therapist provides support, leadership, and arrangement so that the consumer may find out tailored answers inside themselves. Person-centered therapy remained as the pioneer of the humanistic psychology group, and it has impacted on several therapeutic strategies and the psychological health area, as a whole. Rogerian methods have as well impacted on various different subjects, from drugs to education.
Client-centered therapy runs depending on three essential codes that show the approach of the therapist to the consumer:
Congruence in counseling
Congruence is as well known as authenticity. Similarity is the major significant feature in psychotherapy, depending on Rogers. This implies that, contrasting to the psychodynamic therapist who commonly upholds a â€˜blank screenâ€™ and discloses minimal of their individual character in therapy, the Rogerian is careful to permit the consumer to practice them as they actually are (Counseling Directory 2015, p. 1). The therapist lacks a frontage, that is, the therapistsâ€™s inside and outside practices are one in the same. Simply, the therapist is genuine.
Unconditional Positive Regard
This is the next Rogerian condition. Rogers had the notion that for persons to mature and satisfy their capability it is significant that they are assessed as themselves. This implies the therapistâ€™s profound and authentic compassionate for the consumer. The therapist can fail to endorse a few of the consumerâ€™s deeds, however, the therapist does endorse of the consumer. Simply, the therapist requires an approach of â€œI will accept you as you are.â€ The person-centered psychologist is therefore keen to forever uphold a positive approach to the consumer, even when hated through the consumerâ€™s deeds (McMillan 2004, p. 78).
Empathy is the potential to comprehend what the consumer is going through. This indicates the therapistâ€™s capacity to comprehend sympathetically and precisely the consumerâ€™s practice and emotions in the here-and-now. A significant section of the job of the person-centered psychologist is to pursue correctly what the consumer is feeling and to inform them that the therapist comprehends what they are experiencing (In Corcoran & In Roberts 2015, p. 109).
Characteristically, the Rogerian theory puts gradual progress in psychological growth and development at the center of the success of this theory. According to Rodgers, the key factors in humans that are responsible for their development consequently contributes to the psychological set ups of such people (Corsini, 2011, p. 14). Whenever the six conditions of psychological growth and development are met within an individual, such a person easily gravitate towards constructive fulfillment of their various potentialities.
The first of the six necessary factors of growth as discussed by Rodgers is psychological contact between the therapist and the client. If a positive personal change is the chief objective of the therapist and the client, it is inevitable that there has to be a strong relationship between the two stakeholders. According to In Corcoran & In Roberts (2015, p. 109), a strong relationship between the client and the therapist does not only make it simple to measure the progress of the procedure, it makes the work of the therapist easier. The second factor is the vulnerability of the client. This theory believes that the context imparts some unknown characteristics to clients. Basically, even the client themselves can find it almost impossible to differentiate their own self-images to that which they are exposed to through anxieties and personal experiences. Whenever there is a discrepancy in the self-image and the actual personality, it is always normal that the client develops some characteristics of fears and anxiety. Bothe the therapist and the client stand at a better chance of progress if they understand this second pillar of development.
Thirdly, the therapist has to bear the right characteristics, for a uniform result. Not only should the therapist be aware of their personalities, they should as well be congruent on top of being genuine to their tasks (Bryant-Jefferies 2005, p. 77). This aspect of success does not imply that the therapist has to be perfect in personality, but at least within the confines of therapeutic endeavors. The fourth aspect of development is positive regard from the therapist. In some occasions, the therapist may find themselves in denial- doing all that they can to save their clients. The clients on the other hand could barely be showing only the negative projectiles in progress. No matter the circumstance or the reactions of the client, the therapist is advised to stay positive all the time.
Therapist empathy is another important aspect of the progress. Rodgers argues that â€œempathy is the ultimate platform through which the therapist can build a strong rapport with the clientâ€ (Meltzoff & Kornreich. 2007, p. 51). Here, the therapist aims to fully understand the client, measure the progress of counseling and instill the problems of the clients as one of their own. Ultimately, the client becomes free to share with the therapist whatever their problems could be. Finally, client perception is another important aspect of development. Empathy and other positive characteristics of the therapist may ultimately lead to the client having a better perception of the process.
Usefulness of the Theory
The advent of person- centered therapy has instigated a lot of usefulness in the field of psycho- therapy. First, before the premier of person- centered theory, psychotherapy faced a lot of challenges. One of these challenges was anchored on the long periods that it took to come into solutions of simple health conditions. The long time has been attributed to lack of professionalism with which psychotherapy was associated. Today, both the therapist and the client have felt the usefulness of this theory in the way it has rebranded this profession. With the introduction of person- centered therapy, therapy today is a journey that is purely shared between two people. Both the therapist and the client are fallible to the process.
Apart from rebranding the whole concept of psychotherapy, person- centered theory has as well instigated a sense of development in this profession. Today, practitioners are at liberty of testing emergent techniques in the field (Bryant-Jefferies 2005, p. 108). The previous theories were not only inadequate; such theories as well were rigid that they could not allow for the application of complimentary principles. This happened even with the fact that psychotherapy is a field that faces diverse challenges that need diverse approaches to solve.
Finally, the person- centered has been useful in giving the field of psychotherapy a new way of doing things. The traditionally applied behavioral and psychodynamic theories were not contentious enough to provide the therapists alongside their clients a useful amount of time to be innovative and independent in getting the best out of their clients. Characteristically, the psychodynamic theory and the behavioral theories barely changed for a long period of time. This critically let psychotherapy at stand-still.
The person- centered and other theories
Humanistic theories bear considerable similarities as well as a huge number of differences with other traditional theories. This paper will specifically compare and contrast the person- centered theory with behavioral theory. The first similarity between these two approaches is that both theories give platforms through which psychologically related conditions could be solved. There as well been a huge debate anchored on the argument that the person- centered theory was built from the major characteristics of the behavioral theory. Traditionally, it is believed that conditions that emanate from psychological lapses are majorly manifest in the behavior of the client. Critically, the client would easily get help from a therapist only when they are showing their in- capabilities through their actions and behaviors. Rodgers as well agrees to this criticism by putting an emphasis that self- awareness is a critical aspect to the success of person- centered theory.
Nonetheless, the person- centered theory has a lot of differences to the traditional theories of psychotherapy. First is the understanding of who the type of people that this profession aims at helping. Humanistic counselors refer to those in therapy as clients but not as patients. In humanistic theory, both the therapist and the client are equally involved in the objective of reaching similar solutions (Sommers-Flanagan, et al 2012, p. 72). Basically, by referring to patients as clients, the clients get the feeling of being needed. This makes the healing process easier than if they are referred to as patients as the healing process is critically attached to the perception of the patient.
The roles played by the stakeholders have been shifted in the person- centered theory. Traditionally, the therapists play the sole role of ensuring that the patient heals. In the person- centered theory, gives the patient the liberty to heal from their conditions by themselves. The therapist in humanistic counseling barely offers direction. The client in person- centered theory tabulates what is wrong with them. Such client further suggests the best avenue through which they can be assisted out of their conditions. Moreover, the client views the therapist as a friend but not a doctor.
Traditional theories chose a different avenue of reaching solutions if compared to person- centered theory. Traditional theories such as the behavioral theory put a lot of focus in the past with little focus to the present and the future. Basically, it is true that most psychological conditions are anchored on the experiences of the past. â€œPeople develop most of their current psychological conditions based on the encounters that they have had in the pastâ€ (Frankland 2010, p. 43). To this effect, such traditional platforms aim at understanding the past before they remedy the situation. Rodgers however argues that it does not matter so much the cause of the problem as the current situation and putting mitigating factors for future occurrences could prove more important.
Carlâ€™s argument about the point of focus critically is what makes the person- centered theory more unique. Psychological conditions have a lot of curative phases. Not only do the therapists have an objective of curing the current condition, but to mitigate the possibility of future occurrences of the same or related conditions. The aim of Rodgers is that at the end of the therapy, the patient should be in a position of striving through self-actualization. Reaching self- actualization needs more focus on the present and the future than in the past as it happens in traditional theories.
Behavioral theories as well have different orientations to those of person- centered theory. According to Rodgers, the orientation of the process should focus on both the client and the therapist both listen, they understand each other, accepting and sharing the options with each other. This happens on top of the therapist employing some sense of their skills. The traditionalists on the other hand put more focus of the skills of the therapist. Basically, the results of traditional endeavors solely depended on the skills of the therapist themselves with very little involvement of the client.
As the objective of the behavioral theory is to cure the patient, the same does not apply to person- centered. The person- centered therapist would want to see their clients have the feeling of boosting their own self-worth. At the end of the therapy, a behaviorist would want to see their patients cured freed from their previous condition. The humanist would, on the other hand, reduce incongruence between ideal and real between their clients on top of helping the client to become somebody who can fully function on their own.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Person- centered theory has a lot of advantages. Firstly, this theory gives both the therapist and the client an opportunity to pursue the same objective, albeit through varied avenues. It is the only approach that gives opportunities to both stakeholders to play equal and active roles in reaching solutions. Consequent to its holistic approach, the conditions are tackled equally among the professionals and the clients with all the issues touched from both the professional and individual understanding points of view.
Person- centered theory is not judgmental characteristically. Here, the therapist has the responsibility to accept both the positive and the negative aspects of the encounter (Bryant-Jefferies 2006, p. 44). Behavioral theory on the other hand put so much emphasis on the positive outcomes of the procedure thereby ignoring the positive aspects of this treatment, which are very critical to the success of any psychotherapy processes.
Person- centered therapy creates better solutions than any other traditional platforms. Through the principles of this theory, the client controls the vast part of the procedure, making it less hectic to the therapist. Ultimately, person- centered therapy shades off a lot of pressure off the shoulders of the therapist (Bryant-Jefferies 2006, 103). In behavioral theory for instance, failure or success are solely attributed to the therapist. Attributing the success of the therapy to the client encourages the client to develop the capability of the client to deal with the possibilities of future occurrences of the same as they feel content that they can deal with their own problems.
Person- centered is the only psychotherapy theoretical framework which avails future expectations to the client. The behavioral or psychodynamic theory is critical in presenting the present and building a dim future on the past. Person- centered however builds the future on the present. The future of a client, if built through person- centered therapy is clear- they yearn for the ultimate self- actualization status.
Person- centered therapy critically deviates from the traditional approaches from the traditional approaches, which is very crucial to therapy today. Psychodynamic theory is said to put focus on the dynamism of psychology. Bryant-Jefferies (2006, p. 76) asserts that psychodynamic theory is not flexible enough to put into focus the vast pieces of information that the world is exposed to today. Person- centered is applicable in the world today based on the flexibility that it avails to the clients. The patients as well as the therapists today are more informed on the kinds of issues that they face today than before. It is just empirical; that these informed patients should be given the opportunity to use the pieces of information that they harbor in coming up with amicable solutions.
Accuracy is a critical aspect of person- centered therapy. In most occasions, treating psychological conditions take a lot of time based on guessing the exact cure of the condition that faces the client. Psychological conditions are characteristically developmental. Bryant-Jefferies (2006, p. 28) asserts that overreliance on the past to come up with a solution can be detrimental in such conditions that mutate within some periodic lapses.
By giving the client the opportunity to express how they feel such clients are put at liberty of enhancing the accuracy of such therapies in many ways. First, the information from the client is up to date. This information tells what they really feel at that particular time (Weiner 2003, p. 111). Secondly, giving the clients an expression window helps the concerned therapists with consistent records that can easily be referred to in arriving at the solutions. Finally, accuracy is increased when the time is reduced. If compared to other therapies, person- centered therapy is timely. The efforts emanates from all the stakeholders thereby instigating time efficiencies between the efforts.
The person- centered therapy platform is holistic characteristically. Not only does this platform incorporate the inputs of the client, it incorporates expertise. The therapists, just like in the traditional platforms are very skilled (Weiner 2003, p. 111). In a case where the client does not provide the necessary information about their conditions, the therapists may use their expertise to aid in reaching the solution. Critically therefore, person- centered therapy aims at exploring all the available avenues in arriving at the solution (Bryant-Jefferies 2006, p. 76). If compared to the psychodynamic or the behavioral theory that solely employ the skills of the therapist that solely rely on the skills of the therapist, itâ€™s to the advantage of anybody to employ person- centered therapy.
The person- centered therapy platform as well has some weaknesses to their ranks. Naturally, over- reliance on the client could be disastrous. Therapists who rely on the client to provide all the necessary information could be at a risk of getting information that is not adequate or at worst unreliable. At the initial stages of the therapy, the client may find it difficult to openly express their conditions to the therapists. It therefore is not advisable for any therapist to solely rely on the information from the client. In some occasions, the therapist may employ their personal skills to extract information from the client; it can be time wasting to some extent though.
Person- centered therapy is time wasting. Primarily, the client is left to cure themselves out of their conditions. According to Bryant-Jefferies (2005, p. 112), if not so much dedication is employed by both stakeholders at the start of the therapy, it is probable that it can take a lot of time before the therapist and the client start working towards the same objectives. Even though time management is not solely reliant on the behaviors of the stakeholders at the original stages of their encounter, it is a crucial part of this exercise.
The Rogerian theory is evidently a life- changing theory in psychotherapy today. The success of this theory is evident on the massive number of people who have adopted this theory into practice. Apparently, it is the only psychotherapy theory today that views the whole concept of psychotherapy holistically; and with a lot of flexibility. It is to the advantage of the therapists and the clients that person- centered therapy platform keep developing only for the best with its characteristic flexibility in place.
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