Counseling Theories Paper

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RUNNING HEAD: PERSON-CENTERED AND EXISTENTIAL THERAPY

Comparing and Contrasting Person-Centered and Existential Therapy Taji L. Mitchiner
North Carolina Central University
Theories and Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy
Spring 2011

Introduction
This research paper will examine the similarities and differences between Person-Centered therapy and Existential therapy. Person Centered therapy and Existential therapy are both non-directive from the humanistic approach. Both of these approaches allow clients to be authors of their own life, and express their problems freely. It is understood that both approaches are interested in allowing clients to explore and solve their own problems. The core assumptions of person-centered therapy is to assist clients with is to provide respect to human beings congruence, promote growth, and provide empathetic and active listening, and unconditional positive regard. Alternatively, Existential therapy’s core assumptions are to define self-awareness, freedom and responsibility, striving for identity and relationship with others, and the search for meaning of life. For instance, the belief that human nature will assist clients with understanding themselves through life struggles. The goals of person-centered therapy is to assist clients with achieving a greater degree of independence and integration. The goal of existential therapy is similar to the goal of person centered therapy. Existentialism’s goal is to increase self-awareness, authentic living, taking responsibility, encouraged to find meaning and truth, and coping with anxiety. Overall, these two approaches are viewed more as an attitude, as well as a creative way to assist clients with self-expression. The Person-centered and Existential approach both strive to ensure that the therapeutic relationship with clients are authentic, comfortable and useful to the client. Person-centered therapy and Existential therapy have both been found to assist clients with overcoming grief and loss. This research paper will further examine the similarities and differences of the art therapy approaches of person-centered and existential therapy.

Literature Review
Person Centered theory has been found to be helpful within the healing process of clients. According to Kim (2010), Carl Roger’s Person Centered therapy has assisted clients with utilizing specific interventions with assisting to clients with solving their own problems. With congruence of Carl Roger’s person centered theory and his daughter Natalie Roger’s expressive art therapy has been found to allow clients to explore their hidden feelings expressed (Kim, 2010). Researchers found that clients who benefit the most from person centered expressive art therapy are the individuals who chose not to share their personal thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Kim (2010) found that this approach assisted counselor’s with better understanding their client’s problems dealing with various issues related to despair and fear from a deeper prospective. Kim (2010) assessed the effectiveness of utilizing person-centered expressive art therapy with clients who are coping with grief and loss. Spillers (2007) research regarding Existential therapy and how to understand the counseling needs of clients directly relates to the study conducted by Kim (2010). Spillers (2007) purpose for conducting research was to gain insight of how existentialism can assist clients with grieving as a way to identify their own emotions and spiritual insight. This supports the notion that both person-centered and existential therapy are both utilized to assist the client’s with grieving. Kim (2010) found that Person centered therapy was also utilized to assist clients with promoting personal growth and acceptance. The researcher provided a case example within the study to demonstrate the effectiveness of utilizing person centered expressive arts therapy with a client who experienced serious...
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