Briefly describe the key concepts.
Explain the strengths and weaknesses of this therapy.
How do you feel about the approach of this therapy?
Psychotherapy Networker conducted a survey in 2006 (as cited in Corey, 2009) identifying Carl Rogers as the single most influential psychotherapist of the past quarter century. Using humanistic psychological concepts, Rogers formulated a person-centered approach to therapy. According to Corey (2009), he believed that people are trustworthy and have the potential to understand themselves and find their own solutions to problems without the therapist's intervention. Rogers was of the belief that the client should be seen as the expert and take ownership of their issues with the therapist merely guiding them in their journey.
Person-centered therapists believe that people’s problems stem from a discrepancy between their self-concept and reality arising out of a need for approval and acceptance from others. This brings about feelings of anxiety, making them try to uphold their self-concept by denying or distorting reality (SparkNotes Editors, 2005). According to Rogers, to create a climate promoting growth and allowing progress and realisation of individuals' maximum potential, the therapist should possess attributes of congruence, unconditional positive regard and accurate empathic understanding (Corey, 2009). In doing so, therapists and their clients are able to build a relationship built upon trust. Congruence is a genuineness or an ability to be real with the client (Corey, 2009). When one is congruent, one's thinking, feeling, and being are all in sync or, as Cornelius-White (2007) states, one portrays “sincerity free from pretense” (p. 232). This shows the counsellor to be as human as the client, thus allowing the client to be real with the therapist and themselves (Corey, 2009). One way of showing this is to express to the client how the therapist is feeling, even if it is negative. They may also choose to disclose certain personal facts to the client provided these facts are appropriate and well-timed.
When a therapist cares for the client deeply and genuinely, he communicates unconditional positive regard (Corey, 2009). This care is nonpossessive and nonjudgemental regardless of clients' feelings, thoughts and behaviour. Corey (2009) states that no terms are laid for therapists' valuing and accepting clients for who they are. Clients are allowed to have feelings and experiences without losing acceptance from their therapists. However, although therapists' recognise that clients have rights to their own beliefs and feelings, this does not mean that all behaviour, such as criminal behaviour, is necessarily condoned.
The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology defines empathy as “the capacity to understand and enter into another person's feelings and emotions or to experience something from the other person's point of view” (Colman, 2009, p. 248). By empathising with clients, therapists find themselves able to feel how clients do by tapping into their own similar feelings. With accurate empathic understanding, therapists feel what their clients feel as if they were their own feelings without losing themselves (Corey, 2009). To achieve this, therapists immerse themselves entirely in their clients' worldviews. This accurate empathy, as Bohart & Greenberg say (as cited in Corey, 2009), is the cornerstone of person-centered therapy and would result in clients' being able to understand themselves better and gain more clarity on their own beliefs and worldviews.
One of the strengths of the person-centered approach is that it is seen as one of the most effective models due to the therapeutic focus being on the client. This view is supported by Hubble, Duncan, & Miller (as cited in Corey, 2009) who state that “what matters, according to outcome data, is the...