Evaluate the Claim That Person Centered Therapy Offers Tthe Therapist All That He/She Need to Treat Clients

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Student Name | Claire Battle |
Course | Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling Year Two - Module one | Tutor | Jackie Smith |
Essay Title / Work | “Evaluate the claim that Person-Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients” | Word Count | 2723 |


My aim is to explore Carl Roger's theory that Person Centred Therapy was a complete system for therapists to offer help in a counselling way to clients presenting with a full variety of issues. I will do this by establishing my understanding of the basic theory, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of Rogers theory and consider other opinions / arguments, and conclude with my thoughts on how this theory may be beneficial in treating specific psychological disorders.


Carl Rogers was born in 1902 in Illinois USA to a farming family. He was university educated, but opted to join a Christian missionary in New York, rather than farm himself, after he married his “childhood sweetheart” He went on to study psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University after becoming disillusioned with the rigidity of the church. He worked with children and families in New York for 12 years and in this time began to develop his ideas and theories on an individuals capacity for self help (“First Steps in Counselling” P Saunders. 2002 p.36)

Carl Rogers began to write about his theories in 1940 calling it “non directive therapy” he continued to work with young people, and went on to develop his theories throughout the 1950's, publishing his studies in 1951 in “Client Centred Therapy” He continued to work, study, develop his theories and publish work over the next 3 decades, contributing much research in psychotherapy until his death in 1987. At the time he was considered to have seriously challenged mainstream psychology, but now his views are considered by many to have been adopted into main stream culture, with his “6 core conditions” as being part of our basic humanity.

Other American psychologists working on similar theories and principles at the time were Maslow and May – collectively with Rogers) their work was known as “Humanist Psychology” Their theories seem to agree that people strive to expand our horizons and to realise as much of thier individual potential as possible continually- to constantly strive, to move forward and grow. Maslow saw this as a need to achieve “self actualisation” at the top of a pyramid of needs that had to be met in order, before you could proceed onto the next level. i.e. toward gaining self actualisation. These needs would continually be changing and our position on his pyramid would descend and ascend according to which of these needs were most relevant to our survival and then comfort at the time.

The pyramid was as follows:

At the top - Self Actualisation – the fulfilling of an individuals full potential

Esteem Needs – emotional independence, recognition, status, and respect from peers

Love / Social Needs – relationships, affection and a sense of belonging

Safety Needs – security, order, predictability, freedom from threat

Physiological Needs – food, warmth, shelter, sex

For example, a middle aged housewife who has no career but is married to a successful business man with a house and family may be at the level where her needs for food and shelter are met, along with her love and social needs met, she may even consider that her esteem needs are met - however should her husband abandon her and the children she may find that she falls back down to being on a level where even her safety needs are not met.

Maslow tells us that achieving a state of Self Actualisation is the fulfilment of our highest personal potential – this obviously is very complex as this will mean different things to different people, so it would be very difficult to assess when and who reaches and sustains this state, it is...
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