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Throughout the last hundred years there
have been several forms of different therapies that have been developed which
aim to archive different results at different time lines. Psychologists with in
the last hundred years have changed the way they practice psychology and have
started branching off and developing new forms of therapy, Carl Rodgers being
one of those individuals and his Person centered approach also known as person
centered therapy (PCT). Within this essay, the fundamental principles, techniques
of person centered therapy will be examined and evaluated, as well as the
history of Carl Rodgers the founder, and what led up to him becoming a founding
father in modern day psychology. The essay will break down and examine the
history of PCT, look into core conditions, the ideas of self-concept, self actualization
and condition of worth as well as a break down of the processes of the therapy as
well as the goals and benefits.     


Rodgers was an American psychologist who was one of the founding fathers of
what is known as the humanistic approach, who developed the idea of person
centered therapy. He was born in January of 1902 and passed away in February of
1987, who grew up in the mid-west of America with his strict protestant parents
(McLeod, J. 2013). At 14 he was very interned in agriculture and did a lot of experimentation
with crops. However, 6 years later whilst at a conference in Chine he became interested
in sciences and broke away from the religious path his parents had set for him.

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This in turn led to him attending Colombia university, where it is said is
where he began his work on person centered theory (McLeod, S. 1970).


Before Carl
Rodgers began studying psychology he was very religious, this was due to his
parents who brought him up in a very strict Protestant house hold. However,
although Carl Rodgers was not as religious he still brought some of his
religious teachings and practices into the counseling setting (McLeod, S. 1970).

He was able to maintain being kind and thoughtful with clients and supporting them,
creating a relationship where they would trust him. This was seen when he was
helping disturbed children in children’s homes for children who had been abused.

It was here where the he began to develop the idea of person centered therapy,
focusing on individuals and trying to connect with them over periods of time to
maintain meaningful connections which would build trust which would help later
on in counseling settings (McLeod, S. 1970).  


Person centered
therapy looks at the development change of an individual over time, as well as
building and developing a connection between the client and councilor. The goal
is to make a positive relationship between client and councilor based on trust
and equality, where by the councilor is not a professional but uses the skills
and techniques to help the individual identify events and themes in their life,
and help them find solutions to get to their goal (McLeod, J. 2013).  The idea is to create an environment where the
client can be open and express their inner feelings and emotions, such as being
comfortable to cry or disclose sensitive information. Person centered therapy
is a therapy that helps the client acquire adequate skills to help them in
their everyday life, which will eventually lead to their goal they are hoping
to achieve. This is done by the councilor behaving and expressing themselves in
specific ways.


There are three
core conditions which are part of the fundamentals of person centered therapy,
empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard. The empathy aspect is
the capability of the councilor being able to put their beliefs, opinions and
their perception of reality aside, and look at the situation from the eyes of
the client “being in someone else’s shoes”. The idea is to be able to imagine
how it feels for the client and what it must feel like for them to say certain
words as if it was the counselor who was saying them (McLeod, J. 2013). Examining
this concept, it, it can be seen as a way to build an intermit relationship
between the councilor and client, making the councilor feel as if it were their
problem, and for them to have to see how the experience would have such an
effect on the client. This leads to the next core condition which is congruence,
which is the ability for the councilor to be able to act as their normal self,
and express the same thoughts they are having through their physical responses,
leaving a sense of authenticity from the councilor which is important because
the whole idea of the therapy is to build an intimate relationship between
client and councilor on trust despite the topic (McLeod, J. 2013). This links
to the third condition which is unconditional positive regard, this is the
ability for the councilor to be supportive and accepting of the client without
conditions (McLeod, J. 2013). It is vital that the councilor is supportive and
accepting, because there are situations where the client discloses information that
most people would judge them or ridicule them for, and it is important the
councilor maintains unconditional positive regard to help the client achieve
the goal they hope to achieve.  


All though it is
the councilors job is to help the client, the councilor is there as an equal
not an authority figure, this helps because it gives the client a positive self-concept.

Self-concept is the way an individual perceives themselves, and it is one of
the main principles of person centered therapy (McLeod, J. 2013). The client’s behavior
usually mirrors how they see themselves and they will act accordingly to how
they feel in their living environment. There is positive self-concept which is
when an individual looks at themselves in a positive way, this is due to the
client being in a positive environment. There is a negative self-concept where
they look at themselves negatively, this is usually due to the environment the
client is in and the interaction with other individuals and how they make them
feel (McLeod, J. 2013). Usually clients come in with a negative self-concept,
and the councilor is there to help the client identify where the negativity is
coming from their environment and help them find answers to dealing with it.


Condition of
worth is the client’s perception of their worth in regards to others accepting
them. This concept is the councilors should build a strong relationship with
trust, because if the client is constantly worrying about what the councilor is
thinking, it may make them become nervous and find it hard to express certain
feelings or talk about certain topics. 


Within the person
centered approach the client is seen wanting to self-actualize which is a
primary need the client is trying to fulfil. Self-actualization is “The organism has one basic tendency and
striving – to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism” (Rogers,
1951). The significance of this is, is the client wants to develop and feel better
about themselves and try resolve a situation, by going to a counselor. And it
is important that the councilor pays attention to the client’s self-concept,
because they may have been looked down on by superiors for not being able to
please them, this is why it is essential to have the councilor come off as an
equal, to be able to provide optimal counseling conditions.


Goals of person center
therapy, are for the counselor to be a trustworthy associate of the client
while maintaining a therapeutic yet intimate relationship. This goal is
achieved by the councilor the being congruent, empathetic and having an
unconditional positive regard (McLeod, J. 2013). However as well as the
councilor showing engagement, letting the client know they are paying attention,
and expressing an empathetic understanding of the situation, this is done by
leaning in slightly, and responding with words like “ummhhm” to show acknowledgment
of what was said. This is effective because it provides an environment in which
the client will be able to feel safe in, and knows they are being hears which
allows them to be open (Cooper
M. 2007).


In person
centered therapy there are therapeutic style’s that are used to help with the progression
of the client. PCT is a non-directive, non-judgmental type of talk therapy that
focuses on the events that are happening in the present, and allows the
councilor to look at how the client perceives life. The idea is not for the
councilor to provide an answer, but to help the client find their own ways in
which they can deal with situations. Before the councilor can start helping the
client they need to go through a few stages to help build the relationship
which is a main building block of the therapy (McLeod, J. 2013). At the begging,
the councilor needs to be able to allow the client to feel accepted without any
feelings of being judged, this is important if the client is to disclose
information that has a significant effect on them. The next stage would to
develop a sense of intimacy allowing the client to feel they have worth, which
the counselor would show but engaging and showing an interest in what has to be
said and showing genuine interest (McLeod, J. 2013). The final step would be mutuality
where by the client sees them self as an equal, this is done by the councilor
not coming of as an authority figure. The purpose of this is so the client can
work alongside the counselor to dig deeper and find answers from their past, or
whilst in situations. Ever since Carl Rodgers first started on PCT, it has been
developed over the years, and the idea of it, is to hope that the clients will
become more congruent, effective at problem solving, perceive others more realistically
and have a positive self-concept as well as become more accepted by others (McLeod,
J. 2013).


There are
several positive results from individuals taking part in person centered
therapy, however there are a few aspects that may make it seem less desirable
to some individuals. There are several positive aspects of the person-centered approach
that benefit the client, some being that the therapy helps the client gain a
positive self-concept (McLeod, J. 2013). Over time the councilor creates a
trusted bond between the client and them self, which in turn provides ideal
conditions for the client to come forward with sensitive material. However,
whilst forming a trust bond the councilor is also helping develop the client’s
self-worth and help with skills that clients can implement into their daily
lives, such as looking at themselves as equals. This type of therapy takes a
little bit longer, it is considered to be very effective and had a vast impact
on the psychotherapy and counseling especially in the United States, the United
Kingdom and several European countries. As well as the core conditions being
able to be used in other therapy such as CBT, psychodynamics and Self
Psychology Cooper M. (2007).

However effective it is, a negative aspect is, that it is thought to be too simplistic
and lacking any theory to back it up, as well as clients becoming obsessive of


In total person centered therapy is seen to be
an effective type of talk therapy, creating an strong trusting relationship
between councilor and client. By having a strong relationship, the client is
able to feel in a safe environment allowing them to express feelings openly.

Taking a little longer than some therapies, person centered therapy focuses on maintaining
a mutual intermit relationship, where councilors look at the situation as if it
were their own to get a better understanding of how the client could be feeling

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