“Evaluate the claim that Person-Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients”
Simon Wakefield MANCH2A 12 – Yvonne Hale – Word Count -2339
Carl Rodgers was born in Illinois, Chicago On January 8th 1902. The fourth of six children he was educated in a strict religious environment. His early career choices included agriculture, history and religion, giving serious thought into joining the Ministry until the age of 20 when he began to re-evaluate his life and beliefs and went into teaching. Whilst earning his MA and latterly a PhD he embarked on the field of child study, especially that of cruelty to children and trying to help with prevention of cruelty to children. In later life while a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago he set up a counselling centre in which he carried out research and went onto put into practice and develop some of his theories which led to him publishing ‘Client centred therapy’(1951)
In order to evaluate the claim that Person Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients, I intend to first discuss and explain what PCT (Person-Centred Therapy) means at its most basic level, what the requirements or ‘Core Conditions’ that Carl Rodgers (1902-1987) stated were fundamental to the practice and success of this approach, and to offer a balanced opinion based on my view of both the positives and, importantly, some of the possible negative reactions or outcomes that could be experienced by both therapist and/or client when using PCT as the sole method of therapy.
Rodgers believed that every client who came to him, or in fact all people, had the answers or the solutions to their presenting problem within themselves. He said “the client knows what hurts, what direction to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been buried” (Rodgers 1961) By this he meant that the client has within their own minds all the knowledge that is needed to deal with whatever the presenting issue might be. With this assumption he believed that by providing the client with a safe non-judgemental environment, where he or she felt comfortable enough to reveal their true inner feelings, feelings that have been repressed or hidden for the majority of their lives, that it would enable them to begin to unravel any confliction between who they really are and who they may have tried to be in an effort to discover their true selves which in turn will help towards the client becoming happier about themselves or having a stronger self-image which is necessary when one is working towards self-actualisation (which I shall mention in more detail later in the text). Now that the client has been able to express their true feelings the therapist can help by encouraging positive helpful feelings and reinforcing then. Obviously as well as positive feelings, negativity will become more apparent to the client thereby enabling him or her to work through these problems objectively in a way previously not accessible.
So what does the therapist need to offer the client in order that they can provide them with the best possible environment in which to feel comfortable enough so that they can gain the most benefit from PCT? Rodgers felt that adhering to what he called the core conditions; empathy, congruence and warmth were all that was needed for effective therapy to take place. Now, on the face of it, those three core conditions could seem rather obvious to offer, in fact could maybe considered by some to be the bare minimum a therapist should offer to their clients, but is it that simple?
To look at that question, let us first look at the meaning of each core condition as set out by Rodgers.
Empathy – Could be described as being able to walk in somebody else’s shoes, to feel what they feel, to think what they think, to see things the way they themselves do. Simply by listening and saying ‘I understand’ can make the client feel that they are not...
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