Critique of the Humanistic Approach

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A Critique of the Person-Centred Therapy


In this essay I intend to give an insight primarily to who “Carl Rogers” was and what he stood for. I intend to explore the principles of Person-Centred Therapy and demonstrate various concepts within this approach. I shall touch on the seven stages one goes through whilst attending therapy and how this may benefit both the Client and the Therapist, followed by the three primary core conditions plus Spirituality- the fourth condition of which Roger was in the process of developing before his death. I shall also be looking at some developments by other Therapist and finally both the strengths and limitations to this approach.

In my opinion Carl Rogers sums it up well in the following quote of how he strived to achieve the development of this approach. Rogers (1967,186/187):
“The good life is a process, not a start of being. It is a direction, not a destination. The direction which constitutes the good life is that which is selected by the total organism when there is psychological freedom to move in any direction”.

Carl Rogers

Carl Ransom Rogers was born on the 8th of January 1902 in Oak Ridge-Chicago and died on February 4th 1987. Rogers had a very strict Christian upbringing. He describes himself as a very lonely child, being teased a lot. His Father moved the family to a farm in west Chicago when he was twelve wanting to protect his growing children from temptations of city life. It was whilst living on the farm that he developed an obsession with the night-flying moths, breathing them from cocoons. It was also during this time that he first experienced the Joys and Frustrations of the Scientist (2004, pg6). Rogers developed his interest in agriculture whilst living on the farm and in 1919 went onto study the subject at Wisconsin University. However! that was short lived and he moved two years later to study history as he now showed an interest in becoming a Christian Minister. Rogers was chosen to go to a student Christian Federation Conference in Peking. This experience inspired him spiritually and intellectually. It was at this time that Rogers became an Independent organism, changing his outlook on religious beliefs, causing ill feelings amongst his Parents and himself. Upon his return Rogers married his childhood sweetheart and moved to New York City. Rogers later changed his direction in life and enrolled in the Union Theological Seminary, there he was free to explore his doubts and beliefs- thus developing his own philosophy of life. In 1931 he receives a doctorate from Columbia University for Clinical Educational Psychology. In 1939 he published his first book-(The Clinical Treatment Of The Problem Child) whilst still at Rochester-(Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to children); he goes onto write another 16 books plus many transcripts. In 1945/57 Rogers was part of a team that set up a therapeutic counselling centre within the University of Chicago. Towards the end of his life, he focused his theories upon world-wide political oppression and social conflicts. Rogers’s last trip outside the States was at the age of eighty-five to Russia where he lectured and facilitated workshops regarding communication and creativity. During his period in Russia, Rogers was quite astonished at how many Russians knew about his work, unfortunately his Nobel Peace Prize arrived just days after his death.

Principles/Key Concepts/Core Conditions

According to Rogers just like plants have an innate tendency to grow from a seed and blossom to their full potential if nurtured so too can Humans, he labelled this the Actualising Tendency.

Ref: Dryden/Mytton (1999, Pg 57)
“He believed that we all have the inner resources to grow and mature into physically and psychologically healthy Human beings. We know better than anyone else what is best for our development”

Rogers believed that the client knows the best direction to proceed in...
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