Process Rogers believed that the most important factor in successful therapy was not the therapist's skill

or training, but rather his or her attitude. Three interrelated attitudes on the part of the therapist are central to the success of person-centered therapy: congruence; unconditional positive regard; and empathy. Congruence refers to the therapist's openness and genuineness— the willingness to relate to clients without hiding behind a professional facade. Therapists who function in this way have all their feelings available to them in therapy sessions and may share significant emotional reactions with their clients. Congruence does not mean, however, that therapists disclose their own personal problems to clients in therapy sessions or shift the focus of therapy to themselves in any other way. Unconditional positive regard means that the therapist accepts the client totally for who he or she is without evaluating or censoring, and without disapproving of particular feelings, actions, or characteristics. The therapist communicates this attitude to the client by a willingness to listen without interrupting, judging, or giving advice. This attitude of positive regard creates a nonthreatening context in which the client feels free to explore and share painful, hostile, defensive, or abnormal feelings without worrying about personal rejection by the therapist. The third necessary component of a therapist's attitude is empathy ("accurate empathetic understanding"). The therapist tries to appreciate the client's situation from the client's point of view, showing an emotional understanding of and sensitivity to the client's feelings throughout the therapy session. In other systems of therapy, empathy with the client would be considered a preliminary step to enabling the therapeutic work to proceed; but in person-centered therapy, it actually constitutes a major portion of the therapeutic work itself. A primary way of conveying this empathy is by active listening that shows careful and perceptive attention to what the client is saying. In addition to standard techniques, such as eye contact, that are common to any good listener, person-centered therapists employ a special method called reflection, which consists of paraphrasing and/or summarizing what a client has just said. This technique shows that the therapist is listening carefully and accurately, and gives clients an added opportunity to examine their own thoughts and feelings as they hear them repeated by another person. Generally, clients respond by elaborating further on the thoughts they have just expressed.

scheduling may be adjusted according to the client's expressed needs. alcohol disorders. decreased defensiveness. this undirected. The person-centered approach can be used in individual.According to Rogers. clients can explore the issues that are most important to them—not those considered important by the therapist. and insecurity. The therapist does not attempt to change the client's thinking in any way. an increased capacity to . The therapist merely facilitates self-actualization by providing a climate in which clients can freely engage in focused. Rogers worked extensively with people with schizophrenia later in his career. and personality disorders . in-depth self-exploration. and empathy) are conveyed by a therapist. Based on the principle of self-actualization. or family therapy . cognitive dysfunction. group. Applications Rogers originally developed person-centered therapy in a children's clinic while he was working there. True to the spirit of person-centered therapy. increased ability to learn from (rather than repeating) mistakes. Even negative expressions are validated as legitimate experiences. however. Termination usually occurs when he or she feels able to better cope with life's difficulties. uncensored selfexploration allows clients to eventually recognize alternative ways of thinking that will promote personal growth. unconditional positive regard. others maintain that it can be successfully adapted to any type of person. Generally. His therapy has also been applied to persons suffering from depression. clients can freely express themselves without having to worry about what the therapist thinks of them. Because of this nondirective approach. guilt. more positive and comfortable relationships with others. therapists adhere to a one-hour session once per week. person-centered therapy was not intended for a specific age group or subpopulation but has been used to treat a broad range of people. trust in one's inner feelings and experiences as valuable sources of information for making decisions. Normal results The expected results of person-centered therapy include improved selfesteem. when these three attitudes (congruence. anxiety. Some therapists argue that personcentered therapy is not effective with non-verbal or poorly educated individuals. however. There are no strict guidelines regarding the length or frequency of personcentered therapy. The client also decides when to terminate therapy. With young children. it is frequently employed as play therapy .

A third factor is the client's comfort level with nondirective therapy. and openness to new experiences and new ways of thinking about life. . Client-Centered Therapy. A therapist who continually fails to demonstrate unconditional positive regard. Abnormal results If therapy has been unsuccessful. the client will not move in the direction of self-growth and self-acceptance. Handbook of Experiential Psychotherapy.. clients tend to overlook occasional therapist failures if a satisfactory relationship has been established. Washington. 2001.. eds. Instead. and that the changes are roughly comparable to the changes in clients who have been treated by other types of therapy. Humanistic therapies appear to be particularly effective in clients with depression or relationship issues. that person may not work well together with the therapist. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Person-centered therapy. Leslie S. if he or she was forced to attend therapy). and Germain Lietauer. Humanistic Psychotherapies: Handbook of Research and Practice. frustrated. congruence. appears to be slightly less effective than other forms of humanistic therapy in which therapists offer more advice to clients and suggest topics to explore. If an individual is not interested in therapy (for example. In general. 1951. Several factors may affect the success of person-centered therapy. Carl. that they change substantially compared to untreated persons.experience and express feelings at the moment they occur. 1998. The skill of the therapist may be another factor. Jeanne C. New York: Guilford Press. he or she may continue to display behaviors that reflect self-defeating attitudes or rigid patterns of thinking. Outcome studies of humanistic therapies in general and person-centered therapy in particular indicate that people who have been treated with these approaches maintain stable changes over extended periods of time. David J. or empathy cannot effectively use this type of therapy. Some studies have suggested that certain clients may get bored. Watson. Rogers. Greenberg. Resources BOOKS Cain. DC: American Psychological Association. or annoyed with a Rogerian style of therapeutic interaction. however. ed.

"Practical Applications of the Rogerian Perspective in Postmodern Psychotherapy. I: Clinical Effectiveness. 1980." British Medical Journal 321. Sharon Farrelly. no. Suite 112.> . 7273(2000): 1383-1388. 1961." Journal of Humanistic Psychology 40. Michael T. Ward. 1150 Silverado." Journal of Systemic Therapies 20. Mark Gabbay. Washington. and Julia Addington-Hall. no." Journal of Humanistic Psychology 39. "Randomised Controlled Trial of Non-Directive Counselling. ———. and Usual General Practitioner Care for Patients with Depression. Sharon.———. . Bonnie Sibbald. London. 4 (1999): 94-110. ORGANIZATIONS Association for the Development of the Person-Centered Approach. Walker. DC: American Psychological Association. no. 4 (2000): 345-351. no. 2 (2000): 148-173. Margaret Lloyd. Person-Centered Therapy: A European Perspective. no. Elaine. Michael King. edited by David J. Cain. UK: Sage Publications. On Becoming a Person. Nicholas Tarrier. "Rogerian Theory: A Critique of the Effectiveness of Pure Client-Centred Therapy. A Way of Being. "Empathic Listening: Reports on the Experience of Being Heard. 2001. <http://www. Peter Bower. La Jolla. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Center for Studies of the Person. and Elke Lambers. Thorne. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Denise A. Kensit. 2 (2001): 41-57. eds. Myers. CognitiveBehaviour Therapy. Edwin.adpca. Brian. and Robert Elliott. PERIODICALS Kahn. Rainer." In Humanistic Psychotherapies: Handbook of Research and Practice." Counselling Psychology Quarterly 13. "Process-Outcome Research on Humanistic Therapy Variables. 1999. "A Critique of Nondirectivity in the Person-Centered Approach.

org> .California> . Switzerland. M. c/o SGGT Office. <http://www. <http://pce-world. +41 1 2717170. Josefstrasse 79. Friedrich.A.centerfortheperson. (858) 459-3861. World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling (WAPCEPC). Sandra L. CH-8005 Zürich. .


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