Can a humanistic model of counselling be integrated with a cognitive (or cognitive – behavioural) one? Discuss with reference to Rogers and either Beck or Egan.
In the first part of this essay I will summarise the main features of humanistic counselling and the cognitive approach. Rogers used a humanistic person centred approach to therapy and I will look at his view of people, their potential, what goes wrong and what can help them to change. Egan was a cognitive therapist and I will address the above points in relation to his “Skilled Helper” model. Similarities and key differences in theory, practise and value base between the two approaches will then be discussed.
In the second part of the essay, I will use my own previous experience as a client to show how an experienced counsellor can integrate aspects of these two models effectively. I will then look at potential difficulties in making the humanistic and cognitive approach to therapy fit together successfully. I will give a critical analysis of these models, with particular reference to my own therapy and general diversity of needs within the client group. The concluding paragraph will contain an abridgement of the main points covered within the essay.
Humanistic therapy emphasises the therapeutic relationship advocated by Rogers with the three core conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard. Without these conditions present Rogers asserts that the counselling will be ineffective. Humanistic therapy is non- directive and optimistic. Rogers, (2008 p.137) supports this viewpoint “The person - centred approach, depends on the actualising tendency present in every living organism, the tendency to grow, to develop, to realise its full potential”. A humanistic therapist s uses active listening skills including clarifying, paraphrasing, reflecting and summarising. The therapist being non-judgemental is essential to the success of person centred therapy. The only ‘tool’ required in the counselling Page two
room is ‘the self’; the relationship in and of itself, with the ‘safe space’ for the client to freely express emotions accomplishing the healing.
Egan's cognitive approach is a directive, systematic, cumulative, problem solving three stage model of helping. Stage one considers the client's present scenario; the counsellor encourages the client to tell their story; using core conditions, active listening skills plus a few challenging questions enabling the counsellor to understand the client’s present frame of reference. Stage two considers the preferred scenario; using directive questions prefixed with words like ‘how’ and ‘in what way,’ the client is moved towards a more objective understanding, an alternative way of viewing their world. The client is encouraged to develop Goals and objectives based on opportunities for future action. Stage three A strategic action plan workable within the clients lifestyle moving them towards desired outcomes is formulated, with plans for future evaluation. Egan (1990 p.29) identifies one of the main roles of the counsellor in this process “Counsellors can help their clients empower themselves by helping them identify and develop unused or underused opportunities and potential”. Egan’s model provides principles as guidelines, the correct formula; taking action to valued outcomes is individually tailored to each client, including homework for the client on agreed goals.
Rogers views the person as having an inner core to his personality which he terms the organism. The instinctual, somatic, sensory unselfconscious aspect of a human being, as opposed to the reflective, measured and self-conscious part that he describes as the self. Rogers considers, as stated by Embleton, L. ( 2004 p.32 ) “ that the organism is trustworthy and does not need to be controlled or directed from the outside”. He considers people to be social, self-regulatory and...
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