I. Context: Brief Summation of a Counseling Theory: Person-Centered Theory Person-centered therapy, which is also known as client-centered, non-directive, or Rogerian therapy, is an approach to counseling and psychotherapy that places much of the responsibility for the treatment process on the client, with the therapist taking a nondirective role. Two primary goals of person-centered therapy are increased self-esteem and greater openness to experience. Some of the related changes that this form of therapy seeks to foster in clients include closer agreement between the client's idealized and actual selves; better self-understanding; lower levels of defensiveness, guilt, and insecurity; more positive and comfortable relationships with others; and an increased capacity to experience and express feelings at the moment they occur. Developed in the 1930s by the American psychologist Carl Rogers, client-centered therapy departed from the typically formal, detached role of the therapist emphasized in psychoanalysis and other forms of treatment. Rogers believed that therapy should take place in a supportive environment created by a close personal relationship between client and therapist. Rogers's introduction of the term "client" rather than "patient" expresses his rejection of the traditionally hierarchical relationship between therapist and client and his view of them as equals. In person-centered therapy, the client determines the general direction of therapy, while the therapist seeks to increase the client's insight and self-understanding through informal clarifying questions. Beginning in the 1960s, person-centered therapy became associated with the human potential movement. This movement, dating back to the beginning of the 1900s, reflected an altered perspective of human nature. Previous psychological theories viewed human beings as inherently selfish and corrupt. For example, Freud's theory focused on sexual and aggressive tendencies as the primary forces driving human behavior. The human potential movement, by contrast, defined human nature as inherently good. From its perspective, human behavior is motivated by a drive to achieve one's fullest potential. Self-actualization, a term derived from the human potential movement, is an important concept underlying person-centered therapy. It refers to the tendency of all human beings to move forward, grow, and reach their fullest potential. When humans move toward self-actualization, they are also pro-social; that is, they tend to be concerned for others and behave in honest, dependable, and constructive ways. The concept of self-actualization focuses on human strengths rather than human deficiencies. According to Rogers, self-actualization can be blocked by an unhealthy self-concept (negative or unrealistic attitudes about oneself). Rogers adopted terms such as "person-centered approach" and "way of being" and began to focus on personal growth and self-actualization. He also pioneered the use of encounter groups, adapting the sensitivity training (T-group) methods developed by Kurt Lewin (1890-1947) and other researchers at the National Training Laboratories in the 1950s. More recently, two major variations of person-centered therapy have developed: experiential therapy, developed by Eugene Gendlin in 1979; and process-experiential therapy, developed by Leslie Greenberg and colleagues in 1993. While person-centered therapy is considered one of the major therapeutic approaches, along with psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavioral therapy, Rogers's influence is felt in schools of therapy other than his own. The concepts and methods he developed are used in an eclectic fashion by many different types of counselors and therapists.
A. Brief Introduction
Person-centered therapy is one of the Humanistic approaches. Focusing on the 'here and now' and not on the childhood origins of the client's problems, Rogers’ theory emphasized the counselor’s creation of a...