Person-centered therapy, also known as person-centered psychotherapy, person-centered counseling, client-centered therapy and Rogerian psychotherapy, is a form of psychotherapy developed by psychologist Carl Rogers beginning in the 1940s and extending into the 1980s. Person-centered therapy seeks to facilitate a client's self-actualizing tendency, "an inbuilt proclivity toward growth and fulfillment", via acceptance (unconditional positive regard), therapist congruence (genuineness), and empathic understanding.
History and influences
Person-centered therapy, now considered a founding work in the humanistic school of psychotherapies, began with Carl Rogers, and is recognized as one of the major psychotherapy 'schools' (theoretical orientations), along with psychodynamic psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, classical Adlerian psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, existential therapy, and others.
Rogers affirmed individual personal experience as the basis and standard for living and therapeutic effect. Rogers identified six conditions which are needed to produce personality changes in clients: relationship, vulnerability to anxiety (on the part of the client), genuineness (the therapist is truly himself or herself and incorporates some self-disclosure), the client's perception of the therapist's genuineness, the therapist's unconditional positive regard for the client, and accurate empathy. This emphasis contrasts with the dispassionate position which may be intended in other therapies, particularly the more extreme behavioral therapies. Living in the present rather than the past or future, with organismic trust, naturalistic faith in your own thoughts and the accuracy in your feelings, and a responsible acknowledgment of your freedom, with a view toward participating fully in our world, contributing to other peoples' lives, are hallmarks of Rogers' person-centered therapy. Rogers also claims that the therapeutic process is essentially the accomplishments made by the client. The client having already progressed further along in their growth and maturation development, only progresses further with the aid of a psychologically favored environment.
Although client-centered therapy has been criticized by behaviorists for lacking structure and by psychoanalysts for actually providing a conditional relationship, it has been shown to be an effective treatment.
The necessary and sufficient conditions
Rogers (1957; 1959) stated that there are six necessary and sufficient conditions required for therapeutic change:
- Therapist–client psychological contact: a relationship between client and therapist must exist, and it must be a relationship in which each person's perception of the other is important.
- Client incongruence: that incongruence exists between the client's experience and awareness.
- Therapist congruence, or genuineness: the therapist is congruent within the therapeutic relationship. The therapist is deeply involved him or herself — they are not "acting"—and they can draw on their own experiences (self-disclosure) to facilitate the relationship.
- Therapist unconditional positive regard (UPR): the therapist accepts the client unconditionally, without judgment, disapproval or approval. This facilitates increased self-regard in the client, as they can begin to become aware of experiences in which their view of self-worth was distorted by others.
- Therapist empathic understanding: the therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client's internal frame of reference. Accurate empathy on the part of the therapist helps the client believe the therapist's unconditional love for them.
- Client perception: that the client perceives, to at least a minimal degree, the therapist's UPR and empathic understanding.
Three of these conditions have become known as the 'Core Conditions' 3, 4 and 5 (above).
Rogers asserted that the most important factor in successful therapy is the relational climate created by the therapist's attitude to their client. He specified three interrelated core conditions:
- Congruence – the willingness to transparently relate to clients without hiding behind a professional or personal facade.
- Unconditional positive regard – the therapist offers an acceptance and prizing for their client for who he or she is without conveying disapproving feelings, actions or characteristics and demonstrating a willingness to attentively listen without interruption, judgement or giving advice.
- Empathy – the therapist communicates their desire to understand and appreciate their client's perspective.
Rogers believed that a therapist who embodies the three critical and reflexive attitudes (the three 'Core Conditions') will help liberate their client to more confidently express their true feelings without fear of judgement. To achieve this, the client-centered therapist carefully avoids directly challenging their client's way of communicating themselves in the session in order to enable a deeper exploration of the issues most intimate to them and free from external referencing. Rogers was not prescriptive in telling his clients what to do, but believed that the answers to the patients' questions were within the patient and not the therapist. Accordingly, the therapists' role was to create a facilitative, empathic environment wherein the patient could discover the answers for him or herself.
- Rogers, Carl R. (1942). Counseling and psychotherapy. Cambridge, MA: Riverside Press. ISBN 978-1406760873.
- Rogers, Carl R.; Sanford, R. C. (1985). "Client-centered psychotherapy". Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry. By I., Kaplan, Harold; J., Sadock, Benjamin. 2. Williams & Wilkins. pp. 1374–1388. ISBN 9780683045116. OCLC 491903721.
- Yalom, Irvin D. (1995). Introduction. A way of being. By Rogers, Carl R. Houghton Mifflin Co. p. xi. ISBN 9780395755303. OCLC 464424214.
- Rogers, Carl R. (1957). "The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change.". Journal of Consulting Psychology. 21 (2): 95–103. doi:10.1037/h0045357.
- Rogers, Carl R. (1966). "Client-centered therapy". In Arieti, S. American handbook of psychiatry. 3. New York City: Basic Books. pp. 183–200.
- Prochaska, p. 138
- Prochaska, p. 3
- Prochaska, pp.142–143
- Rogers, Carl (1951). Client-Centered Therapy. Cambridge Massachusetts: The Riverside Press.
- Cooper, M., Watson, J. C., & Hoeldampf, D. (2010). Person-centered and experiential therapies work: A review of the research on counseling, psychotherapy and related practices. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS Books.
- Ward, E.; King, M.; Lloyd, M.; Bower, P.; Sibbald, B.; Farrelly, S.; Gabbay, M.; Tarrier, N.; Addington-Hall, J. (2000). "Randomised controlled trial of non-directive counselling, cognitive-behaviour therapy, and usual general practitioner care for patients with depression. I: Clinical effectiveness". BMJ. 321 (7273): 1383. PMID 11099284. doi:10.1136/bmj.321.7273.1383.
- Bower, P.; Byford, S.; Sibbald, B.; Ward, E.; King, M.; Lloyd, M.; Gabbay, M. (2000). "Randomised controlled trial of non-directive counselling, cognitive-behaviour therapy, and usual general practitioner care for patients with depression. II: Cost effectiveness". BMJ. 321 (7273): 1389. PMID 11099285. doi:10.1136/bmj.321.7273.1389.
- Shechtman, Zipora; Pastor, Ronit (2005). "Cognitive-Behavioral and Humanistic Group Treatment for Children with Learning Disabilities: A Comparison of Outcomes and Process". Journal of Counseling Psychology. 52 (3): 322. doi:10.1037/0022-022.214.171.1242.
- "Person-centered therapy" on the Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders website
- Rogers, Carl Ransom; Lyon, Harold C.; Tausch, Reinhard (2013). On Becoming an Effective Teacher: Person-centred Teaching, Psychology, Philosophy, and Dialogues with Carl R. Rogers. Routledge. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-415-81698-4.
- Prochaska, James O.; Norcross, John C. (2007). Systems of Psychotherapy: A Transtheoretical Analysis. Thomson/Brooks/Cole. ISBN 978-0-495-00777-7.
- Arnold, Kyle. (2014). Behind the Mirror: Reflective Listening and its Tain in the Work of Carl Rogers. The Humanistic Psychologist, 42:4 354–369.
- Bruno, Frank J. (1977). Client-Centered Counseling: Becoming a Person. In Human Adjustment and Personal Growth: Seven Pathways, pp. 362–370. John Wiley & Sons.
- Cooper, M., O'Hara, M, Schmid, P., and Wyatt, G. (2007). The Handbook of person-centered psychotherapy and counseling. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
- Rogers, Carl (1961). On Becoming a Person ISBN 0-395-75531-X
- Rogers, C. (1957) ‘The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change’, Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21 (2): 95–103
- Rogers, Carl. (1959). A Theory of Therapy, Personality and Interpersonal Relationships as Developed in the Client-centered Framework. In (ed.) S. Koch, Psychology: A Study of a Science. Vol. 3: Formulations of the Person and the Social Context. New York: McGraw Hill.
- Rogers, Carl (1980). A Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
- Poyrazli, S. (2003, March). Validity of Rogerian Therapy in Turkish Culture: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development, 42(1), 107–115. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from PsycINFO database.
- Rogers, Carl (1951). "Client-Centered Therapy" Cambridge Massachusetts: The Riverside Press.
- Rogers, Carl, Lyon, HC, Tausch, R. (2013). On Becoming an Effective Teacher – Person-centered teaching, Psychology, Philosophy, and Dialogues with Carl R. Rogers and Harold Lyon. London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-81698-4: http://www.routledge.com/9780415816984/
|Library resources about
- World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling
- The Person-Centered Website
- An Introduction to Person-Centred Counselling at CounsellingResource.com
- The Carl Rogers Bibliography Online
- Person-Centered Bibliography
- Person-Centered Bibliography in French
- Association for Person Centered Therapy Scotland
- The Association for the Development of the Person Centered Approach
- Network of the European Associations for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling
- The British Association for the Person Centered Approach