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June 2010 Essay

June 2010 Essay

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Person Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients.

In the field of Counselling and Psychotherapy there are many differing theories which are used to help those who seek counselling including Person Centred Therapy.

Person Centred Therapy has been described as one nation, many tribes by Pete Sanders. In many parts of the world Person-


Person Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients.

In the field of Counselling and Psychotherapy there are many differing theories which are used to help those who seek counselling including Person Centred Therapy.

Person Centred Therapy has been described as one nation, many tribes by Pete Sanders. In many parts of the world Person-

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Susan Appleby Course Number Leeds 2S Submitted June 12th 2010 Number of words: 2725

Essay module 1

Evaluate the claim that Person Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients.

For example lack of nutrients-feel hungry-seek food. Closely associated with PCT are Existential Therapy and various integrative approaches. At the heart of all the differing thoughts and modes of delivery. including Experiential Psychotherapy and Focusing. Person Centred Therapy has been described as one nation. are the six conditions for therapeutic change which Rogers described as being needed before a client could move towards the change that they wanted to make in their lives. ’Proponents of the differing Tribes argue for their schools of thought. (Warner 2006). Maslow was known as the ‘Third Force in Psychology’ but is mainly known for his thoughts on Self actualization. along with Abraham Maslow. there has been much debate regarding what can and cannot rightly claim to be called ‘Person-Centred Therapy. who. Maslow proposed a wide range of human needs in a 2 .In the field of Counselling and Psychotherapy there are many differing theories which are used to help those who seek counselling including Person Centred Therapy. was the founder of the humanist approach to clinical psychology. Since Carl Rogers’ death. many tribes by Pete Sanders. Prior to Maslow it was thought that human behaviour was just a set of behaviours to satiate the drive for deficits. In many parts of the world Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) is seen as a family of therapies. Carl Ransom Rogers was an influential American psychologist.and eat model.

several feet below a small window. I remember that in my boyhood. they were striving to become. Rogers' person-centred theory emphasized the concept of "self-actualization. a sort of desperate expression of the directional tendency I have been describing. . By way of example. the important healing factor is the relationship itself. The sprouts were in their bizarre. Rogers (1980) often illustrated the concept with reference to organisms in the natural world. but it cannot be destroyed without destroying the organism. and views about life. but the potatoes would begin to sprout pale white sprouts. But under the most adverse circumstances. . The conditions were unfavourable. spindly sprouts would grow 2 or 3 feet in length as they reached toward the distant light of the window. The human organism’s central motivation is to learn and to grow.dynamic and changing system. Rogers' groundbreaking understanding was that for a person to be truly helped. Life would not give up. be thwarted or warped. Growth occurs when individuals confront problems. . So we see that Rogers was saying that this effective and strong constructive tendency is the underlying basis of the person-centred approach. capacities. and move forward toward the goal of self actualisation. See Fig 1. futile growth. the bin in which we stored our winter’s supply of potatoes was in the basement. He wrote about a potato in the root cellar of his boyhood home: The actualizing tendency can. so unlike the healthy green shoots they sent up when planted in the soil in the spring. never fulfil their real potential. of course. They would never become plants. never mature." which implies that there is an internal. biological force to develop one's capacities and talents to the fullest. even if it could not flourish . strive to master them and through experience endeavour to develop new aspects of their skills. But these sad. His view of human behaviour is that it is 3 . where needs at higher levels would only be addressed when needs at lower levels had been satisfied.

and only if. and even cultures that have no concept of self. Bohart states that Roger’s concept of self as culture-specific is compatible with cultures which view the self in relational rather than individualistic terms. Roger’s recognized that environmental and social factors (introjected conditions of worth) could inhibit or distort the process of actualization so that a negative rather than positive outcome may occur. 4 . and that we are fundamentally dependent on others for our being. Rogers understood that inherently people need people. autonomous individualistic self. Central to his theory was the actualizing tendency which was a natural process. Many critics of the theory have misunderstood Roger’s concepts and commented that this is outmoded today. but also that the fully functioning person is ‘soundly and realistically social’ (Rogers 1961 c) Rogers postulated that therapeutic movement will only occur if."exquisitely rational" Rogers. but critics state that it may lead to self centred narcissistic behaviour (Bozarth and Brodley. Furthermore. Self-actualizations means enhancing or actualizing the self as the self is defined for that person and culture. 6 conditions were in place between the therapist and client. reflecting a Western cultural emphasis on the separate. (1961 a). Roger’s did believe that the tendency of actualization of a person in therapy was to always go in a positive pro social direction. yet in order for each human organism to do so it required the nurturing of a caregiver. However. 1991). in his opinion: "the core of man's nature is essentially positive" Rogers (1961 b) and he is a "trustworthy organism" Rogers (1977). Rogers focused on ways in which the helper could promote certain core conditions between him or herself and the client. Wilkins (2003) argued that Roger’s concept of self-actualization is culturally biased. and according to Bohart (2007) the critics were saying that it “glorifies the individual at the expense of others”.

1953. It can be simply the mere recognition of the other person in the room or a deeply shared experience between the therapist and client. Carlson 1999. and in doing so a unique and ever changing relationship is the result (Sanders 2006 a). Research into contact between animals and people who live in social groups has shown that in order to grow and become confident then it must be in a psychologically interactive way. Client incongruence.The first condition of Person centred therapy is that therapist and client should be in psychological contact. and which he saw as being necessary for therapy to be 5 . They bring themselves into the room. Bowlby. ‘The first condition specifies that a minimum relationship… must exist. but others like Rose Cameron (2003) and Whelton and Greenberg (2002) see psychological contact as a variable and dynamic quality in relationships. (Harlow 1959. I am hypothesizing that significant positive personality change does not occur except in a relationship (Rogers 1957). Roger’s wrote little about the first condition because he believed that it was clear and simple. and Margaret Warner(2002:79) says that the ‘contact can be viewed as a continuum. Rogers thought that psychological contact was an all or nothing one off event. Warner 2002). Despite the differing views of the various “Tribes”. the one overriding view is that psychological contact is essential if the therapeutic process is going to work. The relationship is not seen as a third object in the room with the counsellor and the client but is the client and the counsellor. Those who were deprived of such conditions like the children in the orphanages of Romania and the monkeys in Harlow’s experiments grew up with permanent behavioural and emotional problems. a state of being vulnerable and anxious is presented as the second of the six conditions which Rogers defined as a ‘discrepancy between the actual experience of the organism and the self picture of the individuals experience insofar as it represents that experience’ ( Rogers 1957b).

but be expressed in 6 .successful. I feel that genuiness is another way of describing the quality I would like to have. For example if someone is referred by a doctor. genuine and transparent. All people are incongruent to some degree all of the time (since human beings can never fully symbolize their experience).. Rogers makes it very clear in a video on the internet where he is talking about what it means to be congruent when he says “Can I be real in the relationship. I like the term congruence by which I mean that what I am experiencing inside is present in my awareness and comes out though my communication. Pearson (1974) thought that this condition has created some confusion since the relationship between incongruence and felt anxiety or vulnerability is complex. Rogers concept of incongruence was simply saying that clients sense that they have underlying issues that have distorted their sense of equilibrium and therefore are motivated to seek counselling. This second condition affects how clients will respond to counselling because the change that needs to happen has to come from within the client and cannot happen against their will. and some sorts of incongruence may actually lower anxiety. As early as 1946 he wrote about the fact that the therapist should have a ‘genuine interest in the client’. without which there is no therapeutic relationship. the therapist. I would be quite willing for my client to see all the way through me and that there would be nothing hidden. There is another word that describes it for me. By congruent Rogers understood it to be real. I feel that in the relationship I would like to have a transparency. In a sense when I have this quality I am all in one piece in the relationship. this has come to have an increasing amount of importance to me over the years. The third core condition is that the second person. And when I’m real in this fashion that I’m trying to describe I know that my own feelings will often bubble up into awareness and will be expressed. or made to attend counselling with a spouse or parent then the client will not be in a state of incongruence and the first condition will not take place. or school. is congruent in the relationship.

1963) In contrast Cooper (2008 a ) has suggested that this may be because it is a ‘high frequency’ event in therapy and therefore the correlation between genuiness and outcome are not truly recognised. Without an empathetic response from the therapist I believe that the client would not feel valued or understood and the therapeutic relationship would break down. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard.ways that but won’t impose themselves on my client. (Cooper 2008) 7 ." . is necessary for self-actualization. Burckell and Goldried 2006. Rogers felt. when acceptance is dependent on the positive or negative evaluation of a person's actions. Orlinsky et al 2004. ( Rogers 1957:98) Conversely. In the development of self concept Rogers also stated that the fourth condition "unconditional positive regard. self-actualisation is thwarted by conditional positive regard. clients are said to feel valued and are so accept and take responsibility for themselves. that is the complete acceptance and support for a person no matter what they say or do. Feifel and Eells. Despite Rogers insistence that being congruent with clients is of paramount importance a number of studies over the years have shown that there no significant relationship exists between levels of congruence and outcomes in the therapeutic relationship (Klein et al 2002. (You Tube 2010). only feel worthy if they match conditions laid down by others . in turn."conditions of worth. can lead to shaping themselves determined not by their organismic valuing or actualizing tendency. but by a society that may or may not truly have their best interests at heart. Numerous studies have looked at how unconditional positive regard relates to therapeutic outcome and these are summed up by the Division 29 Task Force ( Steering Committee 2002) concluding that it was ‘a promising and probably effective’ element of the therapeutic relationship.which. By showing unconditional positive regard or prizing.

(Steering Committee. perspectives and meanings as far as possible (Sanders 2006 b). Holding an external frame of reference might convey to the client that the therapist has their own agenda or criticising the client. 8 . at least to a minimal degree. that would be an external frame of reference.The fifth core concept states that the counsellor should experience an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference. and is complimentary to the idea that the first condition “psychological contact” is continued. Our understanding of the world is shaped through our experiences and each time these are interpreted on the basis of our personal value system. Rogers (1959:213) wrote ‘That the client perceives. When the therapist remains within the client's frame of reference which is his own understanding of the world. condition 4 and 5. If the therapist attempts to understand the client on the basis of his own personal experiences. Each of us perceives and responds to our environments as a unified and organised whole. Empathy is not just listening but trying to feel the experiences and feelings that the other person has at that moment in time. it enhances empathy and promotes unconditional positive regard. the unconditional positive regard of the therapist for him and the empathetic understanding of the therapist’. To some degree client perception has been ignored over the years. and each from our unique frame of reference. 2002) The final condition “Client perception” is as important as all the others. values. In order for a therapist to understand a client's behaviour then it should be from the internal frame of reference of the client. It involves stepping into their shoes and laying aside ones own perceptions. The question is would the therapeutic process take place if the counsellor did not enter the client’s world so personally? From the large number of studies that have been carried out in an attempt to measure client’s reaction to the therapist empathy the evidence shows it to be a ‘demonstrably effective element of the therapeutic relationship’.

Does Person Centred Therapy offer the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients? There is virtually no research on the question as to whether the non-directive stance relates to therapeutic outcomes because it is an attitude or an ethic and has yet to be subjected to direct empirical evaluation.Tudor in 2000 referred to it as the lost condition. 2004) Person Centred Therapy has at it’s centre the client’s best interests. and insists on allowing the client to work out their perceived deficits in a warm and accepting atmosphere. no matter what ‘Tribe’. obsessive-compulsive disorder or even severe depression (currently effectively treated with drugs and cognitive therapy). It is similar to other orientations such as CBT and psychodynamic therapy. A large number of 9 . In contrast.. 1988). (Cooper 2008 b). Sanders( 2004 c) states that ‘Carl Rogers made it clear that the client was the centre of the therapeutic process and furthermore it was the client who had the final say as to whether the ‘therapist-provided conditions’ were actually provided (as opposed to being assumed by the therapist)’ Dagmar Pescitelli(1996) argues that the theory of person-centred therapy may not be effective for severe psychopathologies such as schizophrenia (deemed to have strong biological component) or other disorders such as phobias. Greenberg et al. Pescitelli (1996) cites one meta-analysis of psychotherapy effectiveness that looked at 400 studies. with evidence indicating that all schools may be efficacious for clients with depressive. schizophrenic and health related problems. traumatic. but there is less evidence on the impact of anxiety disorders (Elliott. and person-centred therapy was found least effective. Meta-analyses of Person Centred Therapy as a whole supports the theory that it is an efficacious and effective form of therapy. In fact. cited in Krebs & Blackman. it was no more effective than the placebo condition (Glass 1983.

but only when the therapist practiced in ways that would be typically associated with psychodynamic therapy. He becomes more like the person he wishes to be. . He values himself more highly. 1993). more effective . 1961 d). This is what is meant by Becoming a Person.studies have been carried out looking at directive ways of working and have found that some like Cognitive Behavioural therapy to be to effective. 10 . (Jones & Pulos. . Rogers posited that the client becomes more “integrated. and that the therapist has experienced an empathic understanding of their internal frame of reference and has tried to communicate this experience to the client. . The client needs to feel that they have been understood. such as interpreting unconscious wishes and emphasising the client’s feelings. I would contend that whatever mode of counselling is used to help a person find their way to better mental health that the 6 core conditions need to be in place. He changes his perception of himself. He is more self-confident and self-directing” (Rogers. becoming more realistic in his views of self.

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