Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Theories and Methods - Person-centered (Rogerian) therapy

Person-centered therapy assumes that every person is motivated towards self-actualization and positive healthy growth. For Rogers, growth occurs when the self remains unified, whole and organized. Maladaptive behavior surfaces when there is incongruence between the self and one’s experiences. Incongruence is a sense that challenges one’s feelings of worth. It is the feeling that one gets when one believes they are accepted unconditionally, but finds out that people place conditions upon their acceptance. Incongruence produces anxiety which operates defenses and halts self-actualization. The goal of Rogerian therapy is to re-institute congruence between the self and experience.
To this end, there are three important Rogerian techniques. Unconditional positive regard is the genuine care that a therapist offers to a client. Accurate empathic understanding involves the therapist seeing the world through the client’s eyes and sharing that view with the client. Genuineness includes the therapist’s ability to disclose honestly his or her feelings at the appropriate time. Rogerian therapy is non-directive and lacks techniques such as interpretation or assessment. Furthermore, the client is assumed to be the expert on him or herself and the therapist is the witness to the client’s capacity for insight and decision-making.

For further review: The Carl Rogers Reader, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy

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