Person-Centered Therapy: The Only Tool for Therapists?

Pages: 10 (2378 words) Published: February 7, 2015
Chrysalis; diploma in Psychotherapeutic counselling; Year 2 Essay 1 2,406 words P.Reeve; City College, Norwich 08/06/2014

“Evaluate the claim that Person-Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients”.

For the purpose of this essay, I will attempt to evaluate the theory that Person-Centred Therapy offers the therapist all they need to treat clients. Therapists will have many different approaches and theories for their interventions, but will arguably all share a common interest, the desire for positive change and outcome for the client. I would argue that all people are individuals, who will potentially respond differently to various theories and approaches. I would argue that it would be difficult to achieve consistent positive outcomes for every client by using one theory and one approach. I will be demonstrating an understanding of Person-Centred Therapy, based on my current knowledge, supported by Chrysalis information/hand-outs, year 2 booklist and information gained from the internet.

Humanistic therapies, Person-Centred or Client Centred approaches evolved in the USA in the 1950’s. Carl Rogers, an American psychologist (1902-1987) was among the pioneers of this new ground breaking approach, “The Rogerian approach”. Carl Rogers proposed that therapy could be simpler, warmer and more optimistic than that carried out by behavioural or psychodynamic psychologists (McLeod, S.A. (2008). Person Centred Therapy. The Rogerian approach held the strong belief that for a client’s condition to improve therapist should be warm, genuine and understanding, in other words is congruent with the client. Rogers stated “It is that the individual has within himself or herself vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his or her self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behaviour – and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided.” (McLeod, S.A. (2008). Rogers believed that we are in fact “experts on ourselves”, and therefore ultimately possess the answers to our issues and conditions. Rogers maintained that we behave as we do because of the way we perceive our situation. For example, if a person’s very first experiences were negative ones, it would be highly likely that they would have a low or poor self-concept as an adult, potentially leading to emotional issues throughout their life.

At the centre of Rogers theory was that of “the self” or core-self (self-actualization) which relates to a set of one’s own beliefs and perceptions about oneself, and how each person will perceive there self in a unique and different way. For instance, a person may perceive themselves a certain way, either strong or weak. The person will then behave as they perceive a strong or a weak person would or should behave. Also if a person’s very first experiences were negative ones, it would be highly likely that they would have a low or poor self-concept as an adult, potentially leading to emotional issues throughout their life. There is however a major flaw with this concept, as the person may not be seen by others as they see themselves.

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) also had a strong belief in self-actualisation and also used a humanistic approach within his therapy. Maslow developed a system called the “Hierarchy of Needs” which is represented in a triangle form, showing the levels of needs. There are five levels starting at the bottom of the triangle with;

P. Reeve; City College, Norwich

Physiological needs = Food, warmth, shelter, sex etc.
Safety needs = Security, order, predictability, freedom from threat. Love/social needs = Relationships, affection, belonging.
Esteem needs = Independence, recognition, status, respect from others. Self-actualisation = Fulfilment of personal potential.

Maslow stated that “a person is constantly motivated to satisfy these...

Bibliography: Course hand-outs/notes
Chrysalis Psychotherapeutic Counselling- Year 2-Module 1. 2-1 07/2014 SC Page 4
Chrysalis Psychotherapeutic Counselling- Year 2-Module 1. 2-1 07/2014 SC Page 8
Chrysalis Psychotherapeutic Counselling- Year 2-Module 1. 2-1 07/2014 SC Page 11
Chrysalis Psychotherapeutic Counselling- Year 2-Module 1. 2-1 07/2014 SC Page 1
Chrysalis Psychotherapeutic Counselling- Year 2-Module 1. 2-1 07/2014 SC Page 13
Simply Psychology-Person Centred Therapy-Core Conditions; www.simplypsychology.org/client-centred-therapy.html
The British Association for the Person-Centred-Approach; Wikipedia; Carl Rogers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Rogers).
Counselling Resource; Mental Health Library; Therapy. http://counselling resource.com/lib/therapytypes/person-centred/
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