I shall also be looking at some developments by other Therapist and finally both the strengths and limitations to this approach. In my opinion Carl Rogers sums it up well in the following quote of how he strived to achieve the development of this approach. Rogers (1967,186/187): “The good life is a process, not a start of being. It is a direction, not a destination. The direction which constitutes the good life is that which is selected by the total organism when there is psychological freedom to move in any direction”. Carl Rogers
Carl Ransom Rogers was born on the 8th of January 1902 in Oak Ridge-Chicago and died on February 4th 1987. Rogers had a very strict Christian upbringing. He describes himself as a very lonely child, being teased a lot. His Father moved the family to a farm in west Chicago when he was twelve wanting to protect his growing children from temptations of city life. It was whilst living on the farm that he developed an obsession with the night-flying moths, breathing them from cocoons. It was also during this time that he first experienced the Joys and Frustrations of the Scientist (2004, pg6).
Rogers developed his interest in agriculture whilst living on the farm and in 1919 went onto study the subject at Wisconsin University. However! that was short lived and he moved two years later to study history as he now showed an interest in becoming a Christian Minister. Rogers was chosen to go to a student Christian Federation Conference in Peking. This experience inspired him spiritually and intellectually. It was at this time that Rogers became an Independent organism, changing his outlook on religious beliefs, causing ill feelings amongst his Parents and himself.
Upon his return Rogers married his childhood sweetheart and moved to New York City. Rogers later changed his direction in life and enrolled in the Union Theological Seminary, there he was free to explore his doubts and beliefs- thus developing his own philosophy of life. In 1931 he receives a doctorate from Columbia University for Clinical Educational Psychology. In 1939 he published his first book-(The Clinical Treatment Of The Problem Child) whilst still at Rochester-(Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to children); he goes onto write another 16 books plus many transcripts.
In 1945/57 Rogers was part of a team that set up a therapeutic counselling centre within the University of Chicago. Towards the end of his life, he focused his theories upon world-wide political oppression and social conflicts. Rogers’s last trip outside the States was at the age of eighty-five to Russia where he lectured and facilitated workshops regarding communication and creativity. During his period in Russia, Rogers was quite astonished at how many Russians knew about his work, unfortunately his Nobel Peace Prize arrived just days after his death. Principles/Key Concepts/Core Conditions
According to Rogers just like plants have an innate tendency to grow from a seed and blossom to their full potential if nurtured so too can Humans, he labelled this the Actualising Tendency. Ref: Dryden/Mytton (1999, Pg 57) “He believed that we all have the inner resources to grow and mature into physically and psychologically healthy Human beings. We know better than anyone else what is best for our development” Rogers believed that the client knows the best direction to proceed in healing themselves. The Therapist is merely and aid for the client in helping them explore and discover their inner resources.
He goes onto describe a client as unique and speaks of the “Good Life” whereby the individual begins to listen to themselves, living life subjectively and in full awareness. Rogers would go onto say that the three core conditions were necessary for the therapeutic session to be successful. He believed Congruence to be the most important whereby the counsellor is genuine and real within himself showing no facades, being transparent and in doing so; this would put the Client at ease towards the Therapist and thus reciprocate and change in a constructive direction.
The other factors being Unconditional Positive Regard, accepting the client unconditionally and non-judgementally regardless of their feelings, behaviours or taught at that given moment and finally Empathy, here the therapist places and understands the client from their point of view, feeling the clients experience – (as though almost living within their skin) and in doing so can clarify feelings of which the client is aware and also some of which they may not be aware. Rogers believed that active listening-(Empathy) plays a huge place in promoting change.
Before his death Roger’s was in the process of adding another condition-(Spirituality). The connection of spirituality within counselling is of relevance as it would relate primarily to the deep relationship and understanding one has with one self not to mention the relationship with their therapist. When spirituality is experienced within a session it can prove very affective. Spirituality touches upon the core of ones being and it is where the utmost truth of self is to be found.
Thorne later writes of “magic moments” should it be present within the session of how deep, intense and powerful it can be for both the Therapist and Client. The Therapeutic Process According to Rogers for the therapeutic process to take place, it was necessary for the core conditions to be present also for the therapists relationship towards their client be a positive one. Rogers believed if the client experiences these core conditions they have within themselves the potential to grow and develop within life in general. Rogers also spoke of he seven stages the client goes through during the therapeutic sessions. Stage one: the client solely speaks of external things and not themselves-he labelled this the Superficial stage, they then progress to speak of others experiences, the past, here and now and owning some of those feelings and gradually at stage five leading to the client expressing overall feelings. During the final two stages the client freely expresses their feelings and experiences a growth within oneself. The counsellor finds these stage of extreme importance as the client can jump between all during a single therapeutic session.
It also helps the counsellor to know where the client is at any given time- furthermore if these needs are met a dynamic interaction takes place. Bisket supports Rogers’s core conditions- looking at it from a Clients perspective, analysing that the helping relationship and the client experiencing the core conditions encouraged their development to self-worth and growth so they may meet their needs. Developments David Mearns spoke of the necessity of rational depth within the Person Centred Therapy.
He states: “Knocking on the door” being present with the client on a deeper level. He goes onto speak about the counsellor being more present and actively accepting of themselves and the clients, he labelled tis “Receptivity”. Mearns furthermore goes onto express that the counsellor be more open towards their client labelling this “Expressivity”. Prior to his death Rogers briefly spoke of a fourth condition, this is the Spiritual Dimension. Brian Thorne would later state for the fourth condition to be present the three primary conditions would need to be in place.
There is a connection between spirituality and counselling in so far as it relates to the relationship between the Client and the Therapist, not forgetting to mention oneself. To experience Spirituality is to dig deep and find one’s inner self worth. Brian Thorne (2002, pg37) “Without the prior establishment of the core conditions, such a quality of presence could not emerge in a sense, then, it was the outcome of the experience by both client and therapist of the core conditions in their most intensive form which could lead to a break through however brief or emporary, into a transcendental or mystical state of consciousness where healing agents of great potency were released. ” Eugene Grendlin believed that his technique known as “Focussing” was an improvement upon Rogers approach. He defines focussing as a way of helping the client dig deeper and being more in tune with themselves at the same time being attentive to innate senses and internal awareness. Strengths
Thornes (2002,pg12/13) Carl Ransom Rogers founder of the Humanistic Approach over sixty years ago, considered the birth of the Client Centred Approach during his lecture entitled “Newer concepts in Psychotherapy” at the University of Minnesota on the eleventh of December 1940. The Humanistic Approach has a major place amongst all therapeutic techniques to date. Rogers viewed the client as unique-(single organism) and believed that each individual has it within themselves to develop. According to Rogers if there is genuineness within the relationship and a good environment then things will progress leading to self-exploration.
Once the core conditions are in place not only will the client grow but so too will the counsellor within the Relationship resulting in self development and growth. During the later years of his life-Rogers enjoyed some of the teachings of Buddhism, Zen and especially Lao-tse who lived some twenty five centuries ago. Rogers quotes the following by Lao-tse to which he held great regard: (1995, pg41) “It is as though he listened and such listening as his enfolds us in a silence in which at last we begin to hear what we are meant to be”.
Freedom to learn, Rogers’s book regarding approaches to education was revised twice. The Learner Centered Model is quite similar to that of Personal Centered Approach. Rogers work with Multi-Cultural Relations which earned him a Nobel Pease Prize involved workshops in South Africa, Ireland and Central America. Limitations Due to the nature of the Humanistic Approach and the supportive regard it has for the client without been challenging, it can result in a very slow process, whereby prolonged therapeutic movement takes place. It has also been stated that there is no scientific backup to support Rogers approach.
Also! At times, especially at present not forgetting people’s perceptions it could prove quite challenging to present the core conditions. Corey (2005,pg185) “It is easy to give lip service to the concept of Clients finding their own way, but it takes in the therapists part to encourage clients to listen to themselves and follow their own direction, particularly when they make choices that are not what the therapist hopes for” Unlike R. E. B. T and C. B. T the personal centred approach didn’t have specific techniques to help people with specific problems ie. Depression, Anxiety, Bereavement.
The majority of criticisms were Freudian. A concurrent criticism of Rogers approach was his optimistic view of Humans. It has been said that Rogers failed to pay attention to the darker side of one’s personality. In 1995 an unpublished paper appeared in the Journal of Humanistic Psychology which was written back in the 1960’s where Rogers’s response is portrait. Thornes(2002,pg9) “I do not have a Pollyvanna view of Human nature. I am quite aware that out of defensiveness and inner fear individuals can and do behave in ways which are horribly destructive, immature, regressive, anti-social, and hurtful.
Yet, one of the most refreshing and invigorating parts of my experience is to work with such individuals and to discover the strongly positive directional tendencies which exist in them, as in all of us, at the deepest level”. Rogers believed in feelings and self-expressivity rather than been told what to do. Conclusion Rogers believed just like every individual is unique so too is the Therapeutic Relationship, he goes further to stress the importance for the core conditions to be present at any given time for the Client to experience the Actualising Tendency and become an Organism.
Unlike the Gestalt Therapy which deals with the individuals present feelings by Fritz Perl and of which falls under the Humanistic Umbrella. Upon observing Perl’s interview with Gloria, like Gloria I found myself getting quite agitated and uncomfortable. I didn’t like Perl’s demeanour, he displayed a laid back nature and continuously smoked and interrupted her. I found this quite intrusive and confrontational. Although I only touched on the Gestalt approach, over time and with more knowledge I have no doubt that I shall see its benefits and how it may be incorporated amongst other method within the Therapeutic session.
I also viewed Gloria’s Therapeutic session with Rogers. I immediately could relate to how she felt at ease. I could almost see myself within the session. I felt upon watching the clip that all the core conditions were present and that Rogers was very transparent with her. I also felt that like my own personal experience, there was evidence of self-worth and growth. I felt that this was the better outcome of the two methods, those being Gestalt and Personal Centred.
I have no doubt in my mind that my preferences lay within Rogers Personal Centred Approach. From my own personal experience of personal centred therapy on the whole I would have to say it turned my life around. The amount of awareness and personal growth I experienced was due to the fact that the core condition were present within the relationship. I really found it helpful when the Counsellor reflected back my words and conveyed to me how it felt for her with words such as…I am sensing! Or I am feeling! It helped bring me back into awareness.
These simple yet affect ways of asking me questions not forgetting to mention the environment and the positive relationship I experienced with my Therapist kept me within the present and looking forward rather than continuously focus on negative past events. In all a very positive experience for me. Rogers quotes:(Roger,1967,pg188) “What I will be in the next moment, and what I will do, grows out of that moment, and cannot be predicted in advance either by me nor my others”. To conclude my essay