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An enormous variety
of counselling approaches have been developed since the popularisation of
‘talking therapies’ by Freudian psychoanalysts in the late 19 and early 20
Century. The 1940’s and 1950’s marked an
important expansion in the field of counselling and psychology in the United
States. Cognitive Behavioural and Humanistic psychology emerged
as a full blown professional movement in the 1960s. The California centred
countercultural “happening,” which protested society’s suppressions, is
similarly named and is sometimes conflated with a reflectively planned movement
within psychology. The happening, in which assorted citizens, professionals,
and many psychologists participated, also stressed the importance of aspects of
life neglected by education and the social sciences: joy, creativity, love,
self-affirmation, and spontaneous expression of affect and belief. 

Two paradigms in
psychology was implemented at the time such as Client Centred / Person Centred Counselling
(PCC), developed by Carl Rogers from the 1940s and Choice Theory / Reality
Therapy (CT / RT), created by William Glasser in the 1950’s and elaborated by
Robert Wubbolding. Both therapies have been applied across diverse contexts,
from individual counselling to group work and educational environments,
and together serve to illustrate two examples of the alternative constructions
of the individual at the time, the causes and treatment of mental disorder that
have developed through psychotherapeutic practice. This essay will introduce
some of the history and concepts at work in CT / RT and in PCC, and
analyse these methodologies. The essay will go on to compare and contrast CT /
RT and PCC, and assess the strengths, weaknesses and multicultural applications
of each model.

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Carl Rogers

 

Carl Roger’s career spanned much of the twentieth century, and its impact
on counselling, group therapy and conflict resolution was considerable. Rogers
was one of the most influential humanistic psychologists, saw people as rational,
whole beings who know about their feelings and reactions. He was born in the 8 of January
of 1902, in a small suburb of Oak Park, Illinois right outside Chicago.
Roger was raised by strict, conservative Christians
in the American Midwest. The family were so emotionally repressive and
controlling that Rogers and two of his siblings developed ulcers in
adolescence. Academically gifted though socially isolated, his childhood
interest in entomology developed into a fascination with scientific agriculture
which informed his later psychological research. Rogers studied agriculture, history,
Christian ministry and finally psychology. Student experiences with group
discussion and travel to China broadened his appreciation for diverse viewpoints.
Rogers developed a popular personality test for children, and went on to
work in child counselling and research. At the Rochester Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Rogers developed his client driven approach,
and emphasis on the non-judgemental therapeutic relationship. As a professor at
Ohio State University he critiqued more directive therapies, and emphasised the
importance of emotion and growth in the therapeutic encounter,
reconceptualising the patient as a ‘client’. Rogers also originated the term
counselling in order to avoid conflicts with the American psychiatric
establishment over the treatment of psychological distress by unlicensed
practitioners. He established a democratically organised counselling centre at
the University of Chicago, publishing books that crystallised Person Centred Counselling
and carrying out research in to the efficacy of psychotherapy. In 1961 with the
publication of On Becoming a Person, Rogers’ theories gained public influence,
which he used to promote ‘encounter groups’, alternative educational
approaches, and later to broaden the application of his ideas to politics and
society. Along with his book he was well known for being the first to
record his therapy sessions, thus demonstrating his theories and beliefs.  Also
with audio recordings he had training videos made available for other
psychotherapists.  For his work with client-centred therapy he was
awarded by the American Psychological

 

Although Rogers has been criticised for a variety of aspects of his
personal and professional life, including his involvement in covert CIA
research in the late 50’s and his alcoholism and infidelity to his invalided
wife in the 70s. Towards the end of his life Rogers gained a renewed interest
in spirituality and travelled globally to facilitate and teach conflict
resolution. Rogers finished
out his days in his home in La Jolla.  In 1987, he died from
complications ensuing from a fall and hip injury that had happened earlier in
that year.

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