IntroductionAn enormous varietyof counselling approaches have been developed since the popularisation of’talking therapies’ by Freudian psychoanalysts in the late 19 and early 20century.
The 1940’s and 1950’s marked animportant expansion in the field of counselling and psychology in the UnitedStates. Cognitive Behavioural and Humanistic psychology emergedas a full blown professional movement in the 1960s. The California centredcountercultural “happening,” which protested society’s suppressions, issimilarly named and is sometimes conflated with a reflectively planned movementwithin psychology. The happening, in which assorted citizens, professionals,and many psychologists participated, also stressed the importance of aspects oflife neglected by education and the social sciences.At the time two paradigmsin psychology was implemented such as Person Centred Counselling (PCC), developedby Carl Rogers from the 1940s and Choice Theory (CT), created by William Glasserin the 1950’s and elaborated by Robert Wubbolding. Both therapies have beenapplied across diverse contexts, from individual counselling to groupwork and educational environments, and together serve to illustrate twoexamples of the alternative constructions of the individual at the time, thecauses and treatment of mental disorder that have developed throughpsychotherapeutic practice.
This essay will introduce some of the history andconcepts at work in CT and in PCC, and analyse these methodologies. Theessay will go on to compare and contrast CT and PCC, and assess the strengths,weaknesses and multicultural applications of each model. Carl Rogers Carl Roger’s career spanned much of the twentieth century, and its impacton counselling, group therapy and conflict resolution was considerable. Rogerswas one of the most influential humanistic psychologists, saw people as rational,whole beings who know about their feelings and reactions. He was born in the 8 of Januaryof 1902, in a small suburb of Oak Park, Illinois right outside Chicago.Roger was raised by strict, conservative Christiansin the American Midwest.
The family were so emotionally repressive andcontrolling that Rogers and two of his siblings developed ulcers inadolescence. Academically gifted though socially isolated, his childhoodinterest in entomology developed into a fascination with scientific agriculturewhich informed his later psychological research. Rogers studied agriculture, history,Christian ministry and finally psychology. Student experiences with groupdiscussion and travel to China broadened his appreciation for diverse viewpoints.Rogers developed a popular personality test for children, and went on towork in child counselling and research. At the Rochester Society for thePrevention of Cruelty to Children, Rogers developed his client driven approach,and emphasis on the non-judgemental therapeutic relationship. As a professor atOhio State University he critiqued more directive therapies, and emphasised theimportance of emotion and growth in the therapeutic encounter,reconceptualising the patient as a ‘client’.
Rogers also originated the termcounselling in order to avoid conflicts with the American psychiatricestablishment over the treatment of psychological distress by unlicensedpractitioners. He established a democratically organised counselling centre atthe University of Chicago, publishing books that crystallised Person Centred Counsellingand carrying out research in to the efficacy of psychotherapy. In 1961 with thepublication of On Becoming a Person, Rogers’ theories gained public influence,which he used to promote ‘encounter groups’, alternative educationalapproaches, and later to broaden the application of his ideas to politics andsociety. Along with his book he was well known for being the first torecord his therapy sessions, thus demonstrating his theories and beliefs. Alsowith audio recordings he had training videos made available for otherpsychotherapists.
For his work with client-centred therapy he wasawarded by the American Psychological Although Rogers has been criticised for a variety of aspects of hispersonal and professional life, including his involvement in covert CIAresearch in the late 50’s and his alcoholism and infidelity to his invalidedwife in the 70s. Towards the end of his life Rogers gained a renewed interestin spirituality and travelled globally to facilitate and teach conflictresolution. Rogers finishedout his days in his home in La Jolla. In 1987, he died fromcomplications ensuing from a fall and hip injury that had happened earlier inthat year. Person Centred Therapy or Client Centred Therapy Person Centred Counselling is a humanist perspective that presents anessentially positive view of human nature. Carl Rogers proposed that therapy could besimpler, warmer and more optimistic than that carried out by behaviouralor psychodynamic psychologists.
His viewdiffers sharply from the psychodynamic and behavioural approaches in that hesuggested that clients would be better helped if they were encouraged to focuson their current subjective understanding rather than on some unconsciousmotive or someone else’s interpretation of the situation.Rogersstrongly believed that in order for a client’s condition to improve therapistsshould be warm, genuine and understanding. Forthe person centred counsellor the counselling process relies on the internalresources of the client self actualising ‘constructive forces’ that incline theindividual towards personal development. PCC takes its concept of the ‘selfconstruct’ from Fritz Perls’ Gestalt approach. Unlikeother therapies the client is responsible for improving his or her life, notthe therapist. This is a deliberate change from both psychoanalysis andbehavioural therapies where the patient is diagnosed and treated by adoctor. There is an almost total absence of techniques in Rogerianpsychotherapy due to the unique character of each counsellingrelationship. Of utmost importance, however, is the quality of the relationshipbetween client and therapist.
The therapist is more of a friend or counsellorwho listens and encourages on an equal level. Thisform of therapy is certainly a positive approach to managing crisis in aclient’s lives. The unconditional positive regard that a therapist shows for aclient may be above and beyond the kindness shown in any of their otherrelationships. In this environment a client should feel completely free toexpress, recognize, understand and work towards resolving the blockages intheir life.
For Rogers the self is a fluid reflexive response to the person’senvironment and relationships. Psychological defences are activated by adissonance between the perceived and desired self; and the client’s quest inthe therapeutic process is for authenticity and self knowledge. Roger’sbelieved that parent conditions on the positive regard they provided totheir developing children lead to conflicts between a child’s actualisingmotivational system and their need for positive regard. This created anexternal locus of evaluation that damaged self worth and led topsychological problems. To Rogers therapy was a learning process.
One in whichthe client moved toward an internal locus of control and moremature behaviours that accorded with the reality principle, responsibilityand openness to experience. Rogers regarded everyone as a “potentially competent individual” whocould benefit greatly from his form of therapy. The purpose of Roger’shumanistic therapy is to increase a person’s feelings of self-worth, reduce thelevel of incongruence between the ideal and actual self, and help a personbecome more of a fully functioning person. Rogers identified six key factorsthat stimulate growth within an individual. He suggested that when theseconditions are met, the person will gravitate toward a constructive fulfilmentof potential. According to Rogerian theory, the six factors necessary forgrowth are:Therapist-ClientPsychological Contact: This first condition simply states that a relationship betweentherapist and client must exist in order for the client to achieve positivepersonal change. The following five factors are characteristics of thetherapist-client relationship, and they may vary by degree.ClientIncongruence or Vulnerability: A discrepancy between the client’s self-image andactual experience leaves him or her vulnerable to fears and anxieties.
Theclient is often unaware of the incongruence.TherapistCongruence or Genuineness: The therapist should be self-aware, genuine, andcongruent. This does not imply that the therapist be a picture of perfection,but that he or she be true to him- or herself within the therapeuticrelationship.TherapistUnconditional Positive Regard (UPR): The clients’ experiences, positive or negative,should be accepted by the therapist without any conditions or judgment. In thisway, the client can share experiences without fear of being judged.TherapistEmpathy: Thetherapist demonstrates empathic understanding of the clients’ experiences andrecognizes emotional experiences without getting emotionally involved.ClientPerception: To somedegree, the client perceives the therapist’s unconditional positive regard andempathic understanding. This is communicated through the words and behavioursof the therapist.
Carl Roger believed that when core conditions successfully facilitated ahelping relationship, the client proceeded from catharsis to insight and finallyto positive choices and actions. One reason why Rogers rejected interpretation wasthat he believed that, although symptoms did arise from past experience, it wasmore useful for the client to focus on the present and future than on thepast. Rather than just liberating clients from their past, aspsychodynamic therapists aim to do, Rogerians hope to help their clients toachieve personal growth and eventually to self-actualize. Theeffectiveness of the PCC approach is that, the counselling is a personalcommunication between the client and the therapist. It aids in helping theclient’s problems by increasing the client’s sense of well being. This therapymakes the client to explore their true self by being honest and empowers themto be able to solve their own problems. It gives the client a chance to haveself direction by allowing them to plan their own session and be in control ofthe therapy.
Therapists give the client’s upper hand and not take them asexperts but rather a comforting hand to the client. It gives them anopportunity to show their caring nature, being non-judgmental and empathisewith the client regardless of their abnormal behaviour or rigid patterns ofthinking. The self actualisation in this approach helps the client to fullyconcentrate on themselves and guide in decision making for growth and developinto an honest, selfless and independent person. In return it makes the clientto have autonomy and not depend on others all the time.
It gives the clientself growth, confidence and better understanding of oneself. Client behaviouris expected to change and the way they view life, giving more appreciation andbetter relationships. Self actualisation also makes the client to have selfacceptance and being able to accept others.Anotherstronghold of the person centred approach is that it makes the therapist acceptthe client the way they are without judging them or pressuring them to changebut rather showing empathy.
In return it gives the client a platform to exploretheir true feelings and make them better people in a society. It also gives theclient a chance to reflect on their previous behaviour and identify areas thatthey need to develop on.However,on the negative side the client is not challenged by anyone or able to engagein a contest in order to find or show their ability.
It deprives theopportunity to give opinion or suggestions that might be useful. The therapistcannot question anything even if they are concerned and it is too plain and notcomplicated. The therapy does not offer a proper structure to the client eventhough the therapist subscribe to the ethical principles of their professionwhich gives them guidelines about their boundaries and this can be difficultfor the client to progress and have answers. The approach has developed sincethe 60’s and it does not have much research and modern theory on it. Also thereare no techniques in this approach such as questioning or clarifying.Anotherdrawback of this approach is that there is no intervention.
The intervention isan act to achieve effects and produce results. There is no involvement orinterference from the therapist who might offer sound advice. Crisis interventionallows the practitioner to help an individual out of stress and change theirbehaviour by assessing the situation and making a plan to give support as wellas advocating. Some crisis intervention makes an individual in crisis strongerand able to deal with threats and help them with personal growth.
Because PCCplaces so much emphasis on genuineness and on being led by the client, they donot place the same emphasis on boundaries of time and technique as would a psychodynamictherapist. If they judged it appropriate, a person-centred counsellormight diverge considerably from orthodox counselling techniques. The PCC has avery positive and optimistic view of human nature.
The philosophy that peopleare essentially good, and that ultimately the individual knows what is rightfor them, is the essential ingredient of a successful person centred therapy as”all about loving”.