Origin of Person-Centered therapy Person centered approach belongs to the humanistic approach. There are ewe famous American psychologists which developed humanistic approach and Carl Rogers is one of them (others are Abraham Moscow and Roll May). He developed theory of distress and therapeutic methods which affected strongly in psychology. His approach was called first client-centered then person-centered and it was widely different from his times thoughts and teachings. Carl Rogers was a shy and quiet child.
He appeared to be smart and for example learned to read before kindergarten age. When he started his university studies, he studied first agriculture, then joined Christian ministry. After that he started to study psychology. Sanders 201 1). It seems when considering about his life and actions that he had independently his own opinions and was ready and brave to challenge teachings and theories of his own times. He started to develop his theory about individual’s capacity as self-healer and the role of counselor.
Opposite from his times views he saw client as the expert about his own distress and counselor as a co-worker rather that expert or professional (Sanders 2011). Think it has been interesting to know about what kind of child he was as it can give an idea why he was keen about human as a self-healer and expert bout their own distress. I can think that his characters (shy and quiet) was not respected in America (as they respect small talk and outgoing people). So maybe through his own life he knew the power of organism own. External world does not know accurately what is going inside other human.
Actualization tendency People have naturally need for fulfillment to reach out for the better situation, to enhance and develop itself and their lives. Roger called this the actualization tendency and he meant by this about the tendency how the organism express itself and how the organism become itself and it is the indecency that moves organism toward enhancement and development. Roger also believed that if the right conditions are provided healing will happen. (Sanders 2006). In the therapeutic he introduced 6 condition which need to be present that positive change will happen.
During the infancy and childhood colonization shapes personality and organism’s actualization. It means experiences and conditions provided for individual. When something is not quite ideal or is harmful it will cause distress and anxiety (Sanders 2006). Personally agree with it as it is easy and simply to understand that if psychological and physical environment are not opportune and ideal for example as Rogers describes free from judgment, full of unconditional love and safety it will certainly affect to individual’s psychological wellbeing and development.
I am sure about it as I know it from my own experience. Have grown up without unconditional love with judgmental single parent and it made me very withdrawn as a child. I was afraid to actuality myself when was child and teenager. I was however lucky that had capacity to think and evaluate my own situation even if I was distressed and soon I realized that have not done anything wrong and have tots of strengths and resources (and I realized that by myself without therapy! So Rogers is right about self-healing).
Another American psychologist, Abraham Moscow introduced hierarchy of needs which would lead to fulfillment of unique potential what he called self- actualization needs. He proposed that every level of hierarchy needs to happen that next level is possible. Levels are from the bottom to the top: Physiological needs (food, drink, rest, sex), safety needs (free from danger, feel secure), social needs (friendship, love and acceptance by other people), Psychological deeds (esteem, to achieve to be competent, gain approval) and finally self- actualization needs (fulfillment of unique potential). Sanders 2011). They are all important needs and sure, missing of those will cause distress and effect on individual’s ability to cope, but personally don t agree with his theory that previous level must be fulfilled that next level will be possible. For example I think that human can adapt on different situation and actuality themselves even if the situation is not the best possible or ideal. Sure some basic things like food and safety need to be present. But things are not, from my opinion, o “black and white” as I found Mason’s hierarchy of needs proposed.
I can give example from my own life where I have sometimes really lived on property eating only bread with butter. It was not ideal and far from what enjoyed and needed for decent food, but was able to cope and accept it as I had other things in my life like friends (and also knew that my poverty was only temporary) from my family. So some of bottom level needs was not fulfilled but I was still able to actuality myself and be positive for my future, From the importance of ideal conditions leads easily to Rorer’s 6 conditions of therapy.
As Rogers put client the center of healing propose and positive change, Rogers proposed 6 important conditions which from his opinion must occur in therapeutic relationship that therapeutic change will happen. Conditions 1 Psychological contact Roger consider that people much be in psychological contact with each other that they can communicate with each other and therapeutic relationship will occur. (Sanders 2006, Sanders, Franklin &Wilkins 2009) It is quite hard to describe what psychological contact really is.
There is different type of contact, but simply to say psychological contact occur when woo people share the same moment, same reality and are aware about each other’s presence (Sanders 2006). Rogers thought that psychological contact is all or nothing, on-off situation. (Sanders 2006). Personally don’t agree with that. Because there is different kind of psychological contact, they can also from my opinion occur in different kind of level, be stronger or milder. Condition 2 Client incongruence Therapeutic relationship includes a client who has come to seek help.
The client has some kind of distress and he needs to be aware about his situation and problems, about his incongruence. In some situations if client doesn’t come from his own will, for example if he is “forced” to have therapy by his partner for sake of relationship problem. In that situation the client may night honestly believe on his incongruence (he is just going to therapy because somebody else wants it) and in that case changes might not happen because the client doesn’t fully recognize his problems and changes should always come from client itself.
Client as a self- healer is the key point in person centered therapy and person centered approach is keen to hear how the client feels their distressed. Person centered therapy recognize that client is incongruence they know what is wrong. They are professionals about their distress. Person centered approach does not fit with medical model where mental health professional classifies and diagnoses mental illnesses according the type of symptoms. Sanders 2006, Sanders, Franklin &Wilkins 2009). It is very conflicting when it comes to medical model and its acceptance.
There is many opinion about it. It is true that it is very difficult to diagnose mental problems and there is benefit and disinfect about diagnose. In my opinion Sometimes client can have life when they have reason so called diagnose about their distress, but sometimes when they have diagnose (and if diagnose is wrong) it can lead them toward serious issues or mislead them other ways and prevent normal healing. I could give example about my daughter. My 16 year old daughter has fear and strong anxiety in the public places and especially in the public transport.
She could never travel alone and even when was taking her to school I needed to do hard work and encouragement that she were able to comply with traveling and sometimes she despite of my support just needed to get out of buss/train. Psychiatry gave her diagnose for agoraphobia. When I had a search about what agoraphobia means I did not fully agreed with it for my daughter, but my daughter was happy with diagnose. She felt herself anxious and vulnerable and was somehow relaxed when there Was some name for his behavior and anxious.
I sometimes noticed that she did not tried very hard to face the situations which were difficult for her. She might say, that she has agoraphobia, she can’t do certain things. Her situations became worse and she became more isolated. Then we have also another psychiatry coming for mom visits as my daughter refused to go appointments out of house. After some visits my daughter became angry and did not want to meet psychiatry anymore. She explained for me very anxiously that new psychiatry said that she has not agoraphobia and it made my daughter anxious.
My daughter understood so that the psychiatry thinks that she has not mental problems at all and when my daughter really feels distress and cannot cope easily, she was more anxious when diagnose what withdrawn. I talked with psychiatry about it and psychiatry said that she did not meant that my daughter does to have any problem so only she did not quite agree with agoraphobia. My daughter was relaxed when he heard that. This example describes how diagnose can affect to patient. It is also important how the doctor tells about his opinion.
There is certainly big conflict whether it is good to give diagnose, but for my opinion for some serious mental illnesses like stentorian it diagnose need to be given. Condition 3 Congruence A counselor needs to be congruence to help a client. It means counselor needs to be ready to help and congruence in that particular moment when he is giving therapy. He also needs to have relevant education and experience and be honest and genuine (Sanders 2006, Sanders, Franklin 2009).
Condition 4 Unconditional Positive Regard The therapist must show unconditional positive regards toward client and it is important that client feels that. It means that the client has worth of how they are and they are accepted as they are. The therapist listens client with non judgmental warmth and acceptance. (Sanders Voss). For some situations this might be hard according our vouch humanity (we are just humans and have feelings and opinions), but therapist should be aware about it and o be honest to himself and not give therapy to the client whom he judges.
For example there is heavy situations how to understand and give acceptance and unconditional positive regard to the person who has done horrible things (murders, racists etc). Some therapist might never be able to execute warmth and acceptance toward that kind of client and thus not be able to give therapy for this kind Of clients. Personally think that UPPER is very healing. Even if you can be non- judgmental and give warmth and acceptance it does not mean that you would think that it is right behavior to do those horrible things.
The reason why personally could be able to give unconditional positive regard is that I think that there must be something behind their horrible behavior. People don’t born to be cruel and if they are in that situation that they are sincerely seeking for help I would not find it difficult to give UPPER for them. This is only my opinion and major of people could think differently. That therapist can give unconditional positive regard he needs empathy which is the next of Rorer’s conditions. Condition 5 Empathy The therapist experiences understanding of client’s internal world.
Rogers gaslight that even if therapist have empathic understanding he cannot fully know what the client feels inside them. The client is expert about their own private world of feelings. For being empathic includes also communication so that client can feel that therapist has emphatic understanding. Roger gives the point that nodding or saying “l see” is not fulfillment of this conditions and is not the communication what is needed for client to reserve therapist’s empathic understanding. Sanders 2006, Sanders, F-rankled 2009) Also from my opinion it is important to be genuine about it. If the clients experience is very far from therapist’s own world it might be hard to honestly understand what client IS going through. I think it is important to make client know about therapist empathic understanding. If therapist just thinks inside himself that he have empathic clue and feeling about clients inner world it does not help client if he does not know that therapist have that empathic understanding.
Also therapist needs to know how client sense therapist’s empathic understanding. Condition 6 client perception Previous condition’s I mentioned importance that client sense therapist’s emphatic understanding. Rorer’s condition 6 put it together all clients perceptions about whole therapeutic relationship: client feels understood and accepted. Sanders 2006, Sanders, Franklin &Wilkins 2009) Even if this is the conclusion, this is somehow the basic thing. Nobody goes or continues the therapy if they are not understood and accepted.
Being non directive Rogers highlighted importance of being non directive. When client can talk the things what they like, it might be so that they talk only things which are easy for them to face. My opinion for to therapeutic change client needs to ace difficult and hard things and some type of people might not voluntary talk about those things or might hide some important information. But sure nobody can not feel better or change their life if they don’t want to, so if people don’t realize that something is wrong and can never change to better.
Benefits and good sides Of person-centered approach think that conditions what Rogers has introduced will give good chance for positive therapeutic change. Person-centered approach really values the client and as therapy is for client, it is important that the client is the center of hereby. Negative about person-centered approach When Roger proposed that when all this conditions happens then therapeutic change will happen, from my opinion all of this conditions are good and important requirements for therapeutic change, but I don’t agree that when all the conditions occur the therapeutic change will automatically happen.
Therapeutic change is hard work and this conditions does not mention about it. Also in some situations structured goal targeted thinking is important. Sometimes client needs to change their ineffectual behavior according to positive change. Person-centered approach does not agree with medical model where mental symptoms are diagnosed according to symptoms. Like gave example earlier there might be point of it, but I think sometimes diagnoses has to be given and it might beneficial also to give right treatment.
But again person-centered approach does not think that they treat, cure people from some illness. So deftly person-centered approach is not suitable for some mental health problems] Person-centered is nondestructive counseling and according to it therapist should not guide client and not chose goals for them. This kind of approach goes not work in the situations when behavior need to be changed for example to quit addiction. Or when therapist can guide client to ignore negative voices inside their head.
From my opinion there is certainly situation when client needs to be helped to see reality and to guide client to challenge things or even teach them to cope in some situations. If the client who is not feeling healthy should be every time right and guide themselves where ever they want, I think that good be some kind of scary. Conclusion can see positive sides of person-centered therapy and although it is good ND largely natural that client is the center of his/her own therapy and therapist is not a master of client’s problem this approach still from my opinion not cover all what is needed for helping the client properly.