Person Centred Therapy has been described as one nation, many tribes by Pete Sanders. In many parts of the world Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) is seen as a family of therapies, including Experiential Psychotherapy and Focusing. Closely associated with PCT are Existential Therapy and various integrative approaches. Since Carl Rogers’ death, there has been much debate regarding what can and cannot rightly claim to be called ‘Person-Centred Therapy. ’Proponents of the differing Tribes argue for their schools of thought. (Warner 2006). At the heart of all the differing thoughts and modes of delivery, are the six conditions for therapeutic change which Rogers described as being needed before a client could move towards the change that they wanted to make in their lives.
Carl Ransom Rogers was an influential American psychologist, who, along with Abraham Maslow, was the founder of the humanist approach to clinical psychology. Maslow was known as the ‘Third Force in Psychology’ but is mainly known for his thoughts on Self actualization. Prior to Maslow it was thought that human behaviour was just a set of behaviours to satiate the drive for deficits. For example lack of nutrients-feel hungry-seek food- and eat model. Maslow proposed a wide range of human needs in a dynamic and changing system, where needs at higher levels would only be addressed when needs at lower levels had been satisfied. See Fig 1.
Rogers' person-centred theory emphasized the concept of "self-actualization." which implies that there is an internal, biological force to develop one's capacities and talents to the fullest. The human organism’s central motivation is to learn and to grow. Growth occurs when individuals confront problems, strive to master them and through experience endeavour to develop new aspects of their skills, capacities, and views about life, and move forward toward the goal of self actualisation. By way of example, Rogers (1980) often illustrated the concept with reference to organisms in the natural world. He wrote about a potato in the root cellar of his boyhood home: The actualizing tendency can, of course, be thwarted or warped, but it cannot be destroyed without destroying the organism. I remember that in my boyhood, the bin in which we stored our winter’s supply of potatoes was in the basement, several feet below a small window. The conditions were unfavourable, but the potatoes would begin to sprout pale white sprouts, so unlike the healthy green shoots they sent up when planted in the soil in the spring. But these sad, spindly sprouts would grow 2 or 3 feet in length as they reached toward the distant light of the window. The sprouts were in their bizarre, futile growth, a sort of desperate expression of the directional tendency I have been describing. They would never become plants, never mature, never fulfil their real potential. But under the most adverse circumstances, they were striving to become. Life would not give up, even if it could not flourish . . . . So we see that Rogers was saying that this effective and strong constructive tendency is the underlying basis of the person-centred approach.
Rogers' groundbreaking understanding was that for a person to be truly helped, the important healing factor is the relationship itself. His view of human behaviour is that it is "exquisitely rational" Rogers. (1961 a). Furthermore, in his opinion: "the core of man's nature is essentially positive" Rogers (1961 b) and he is a "trustworthy organism" Rogers (1977). Rogers focused on ways in which the helper could promote certain core conditions between him or herself and the client. Central to his theory was the actualizing tendency which was a natural process, yet in order for each human organism to do so it required the nurturing of a caregiver. Rogers...