“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.” (Dawkins, 2006, p. 360)
This essay will discuss the influences from Humanistic psychology that have influenced the person centred approach. Firstly it will look briefly at the origins of both humanistic Psychology and the person centred approach. Secondly this essay will look in closer detail at two areas of humanistic psychology that influenced the development of Carl Rogers person centred approach, the theory of the self and self actualization. Lastly it will look at the applications of this approach in a modern setting.
The humanistic psychology movement was formed in the 1950’s in response to some psychologist’s deep dissatisfaction of the dominant role that behaviourism and psychoanalysis had in psychology. It started as a think tank led by Abraham Maslow where themes such as self actualization, creativity, intrinsic nature, being, meaning and individuality where discussed (Hara, 2012). By 1965 it had over five hundred members. It was an eclectic melting pot of thoughts at the beginning but in time the major ideas and leaders were to emerge. Among them were Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers and Rollo May (DeCarvalho, 1991). Today its concepts are taught in colleges and schools all over the world. The Association for Humanistic Psychology provides a forum for people from every corner of the world to share and discuss their ideas, thoughts and feelings on many humanistic issues. Humanistic psychology focuses on the person as a whole and how the person experiences the world. It rejects the belief that an individual is guided primarily by unconscious motivation as in psychoanalysis or by conditioning forces as in behaviourism. Instead it emphasises the importance of personal choice and responsibility. The belief is that everyone is innately good and has the potential to reach self actualization. Abraham Maslow called it the ‘third force’ in psychology, behaviourism being the first and psychoanalysis being the second (Cherry, 2012). Humanistic psychology can be viewed as more than a discipline within psychology; it can be seen as a perspective on the human condition that lends itself to psychological research and practice (Wikipedia, 2013). Carl Rogers Person Centred Approach is one of these practices.
PERSON CENTRED APPROACH
Carl Rogers started his academic career studying firstly agriculture then history then religion. While studying religion he started to question his religious conviction and after revaluing his career path he started to study psychology. His early years as a therapist where guided by the psychodynamic approach. Following three events in dealing with patients he became disillusioned with the directive approaches to therapy and started to develop his non directive approach. He referred to the people seeking therapy as clients, this demonstrated his feeling that they were both equally partaking in the process. The non-directive approach stated that the client not the therapist knows the objective of therapy best and also the direction to go to achieve the objective (Demorest, 2005). As in humanistic psychology the person centred approach focuses on the person as a whole. Rogers developed his humanistic approach to include three core conditions of empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence. In addition to this Rogers felt that there had to be a deep, real sense of communication and unity between the therapist and client. The therapeutic relationship between client and therapist was paramount to growth. The aim is to give the client the opportunity to develop their sense of self and to enable positive growth that is driven and actualized by them. Although it has been criticised for lacking in structure it...
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