For this essay I have been asked to Evaluate the claim that Person-Centred therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients. In order to do this, I plan to firstly look at the theory of person-centred therapy, examining its roots and fundamental principles. Secondly, I will look at key criticisms of the model and evaluate the “weight” of such criticisms. Underlying Theory of Person-Centred Counselling
The Person-Centred approach to counselling was pioneered by Carl Rogers in the 1940’s and 50’s. Rogers worked as a psychotherapist for most of his life and through years of working with clients developed the belief that people continually strive “to become a person”, and that this activity never ceases. His methods aimed to help his clients to regain their ability to be aware of what they are feeling and to then discard any negative aspects of those feelings. He believed that a strict upbringing resulted in the repression of emotions so accordingly, he developed a warm and caring regard for every client, regardless of their problem or condition. He saw the role of the therapist as offering warmth and empathy and accepting what the client says, without judgement. The therapist should encourage the client to become fully aware of their feelings, without advising or making suggestions. The Rogerian, or Person-Centred approach to counselling views the client as their own best authority on their own experience, and it views the client as being fully capable of fulfilling their own potential for growth. It recognizes, however, that achieving potential requires favourable conditions and that under adverse conditions, individuals may well not grow and develop in the ways that they otherwise could. In particular, when individuals are denied acceptance and positive regard from others, or when that positive regard is made conditional upon the individual behaving in particular ways. Over time a person may begin to lose touch with what their own experience actually means for them, and the natural response to grow in a direction consistent with that meaning may be lost or hindered. One reason this may occur is that individuals often cope with the conditional acceptance offered to them by others by gradually incorporating these conditions into their own views about themselves. They may form a self-concept which includes views of themselves like, “I am the sort of person who must never be late”, or “I am the sort of person who always respects others”, or “I am the sort of person who always keeps the house clean”. Because of a fundamental need for positive regard from others, it is easier to ‘be’ this sort of person and to receive positive regard from others as a result, than it is to ‘be’ anything else and risk losing that positive regard. Over time, their intrinsic sense of their own identity and their own evaluations of experience and attributions of value may be replaced by creations partly or even entirely due to the pressures felt from other people. This has the potential to bring about emotional upset and psychological disturbance. Psychological disturbance occurs when the individual’s ‘self-concept’ begins to clash with immediate personal experience. (Mulhauser, 2011) In other words, when a person is not being themselves and is struggling to be something they are not. Unfortunately, psychological disturbance will undoubtedly continue as long as that individual depends on the conditionally positive judgements of others for their sense of self-worth, and as long as the individual relies on a self-concept designed to earn those positive judgements. Rogers believed in “owning” your own behaviour. He believed the key to emotional wellbeing lies in authenticity, honesty about ourselves and our problems and personal responsibility.
The person-centred approach to counselling follows the principles laid down by Rogers who believed that three core conditions can bring about personal...
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