By: Shervan K. Shahhian
Dr. Carl Rogers is known as one of the greatest psychologist of the 20th century. Dr. Carl Rogers was a humanist thinker and believed that people are generally good.
Dr. Rogers also said that people are fundamentally good, or a need to fulfill their human potential and become the best that they can be.
Dr. Rogers called his technique non-directive therapy at the beginning. His aim was to be as non-directive as possible, he saw that psycho-therapists guide their clients in some way. He also said that clients mostly look to their therapists for some type of advice or direction.
What is Client-Centered Therapy:
Finally, the Dr. Rogers technique came to be known as Rogerian, client-centered therapy or person-centered therapy.
Dr. Rogers used the term client rather than patient. He thought that the term patient implied that the person is sick and seeking a cure from a therapist.
Dr. Rogers used the term client instead of patient, he emphasized the importance of the person in seeking help, controlling their future, and overcoming their problems. This self-direction is a important part in client-centered therapy.
Like psychoanalyst Dr. Freud , Dr. Rogers thought that the therapeutic interaction could find insights and lasting changes in clients. While Dr. Freud focused on giving interpretations of what he thought were the unconscious problems that led to a patients troubles, Dr. Rogers believed that the therapist should stay non-directive.
This is to say, the psycho-therapist should not direct the client, should not give judgments on the client’s feelings, and should not give suggestions or alternatives. Instead, the client should play an equal part in the therapeutic sessions.
How Does Client-Centered Therapy Works:
Psychology professionals who utilize this technique strive to create a therapeutic environment that is relaxing, empathic, and non-judgmental. 2 of these key elements of client-centered therapy are:
- It’s non-directive. Therapists let clients lead the talk and do not try to direct the client in a certain direction.
- It emphasizes unconditional positive regard. Therapists is completely accepting and supportive of their clients without judgment.
Three Key Qualities of Client-Centered Therapists:
What Is Genuineness?
The therapist needs to speak of his or her feelings honestly. By showing this behavior, the therapist can help show the client and to also help the client develop this important skill.
What Is Unconditional Positive Regard?
The therapist must understand that the client needs to know who they are, show them support and care for them no matter what the client is experiencing in their life. Dr. Rogers believed that humans often develop issues because they are used to only getting conditional help; being accepted only if the person conforms to certain expectations.
By creating an environment of unconditional positive regard, the client is able to speak his or her true feelings without fear of being turned down.
Dr. Rogers also explained: “Unconditional positive regard means that when the therapist is experiencing a positive, acceptant attitude toward whatever the client is at that moment, therapeutic movement or change is more likely. It involves the therapist’s willingness to support the client no matter what feeling is going on at that moment – confusion, resentment, fear, anger, courage, love, or pride…The therapist prizes the client in a total rather than in a conditional way.”
What Is Empathetic Understanding?
The therapist needs to be reflective, meaning: acting as a mirror of the client’s thought and feelings. The goal of this technique is to allow the client to gain an open understanding of their own inner feelings, emotions and perceptions.
By showing these 3 characteristics, therapists can assist clients to grow psychologically, become self-aware, and change his or her behavior by self-direction. In this type of therapeutic relationship, a client feels safe and free from judgment. Dr. Rogers believed that this type of environment allows clients to make a healthier view of the world and a less cloudy view of one self.
What Is Self-Concept:
Self-concept also an important part in person-centered therapy.
Dr. Rogers believed that self-concept as an organized set of beliefs and ideas about the self. The self-concept plays an important role in determining not only how people see themselves, but also how they view and interact with the world around them.
At times self-concept could be similar to reality, which Dr. Rogers referred to as congruence. In some cases, self-perceptions are sometimes not real or not in reality with what exists in the actual world. Dr. Rogers believed that most people distort reality to some amount, but when self-concept is in conflict with reality, incongruence can come true.
As an example, a young lady might perceive herself as a great athlete, despite the truth that her actual performance on the track reveals that she is not skilled and could use extra training.
Through the therapy of person-centered therapy, Dr. Rogers believed that people can learn to change their self-concept to achieve congruence and a true view of themselves and the world. For example, imagine a young man who views himself as not interesting and a poor conversationalist despite the fact that others find him fascinating and quite interesting.
Because his self-perceptions are not real and not congruent with reality, he might experience poor self-esteem and self confidence as a result. The client-centered process focuses on providing unconditional positive regard, empathy, and genuine support in order to help the client in therapy to reach a more congruent view of himself
Client-Centered Therapy Role in the TV Culture:
Actor Bob Newhart portrayed a psycho-therapist who used client-centered therapy on “The Bob Newhart Show” which aired from 1972 to 1978, which was popular.
The Effectiveness of Client-Centered Therapy:
Many major research studies have shown that the 3 qualities that Dr. Rogers emphasized, genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathetic understanding, are all helpful. However, some negative based studies have showed that these 3 factors alone are not necessarily enough to promote long lasting change in clients.
One study that checked the effectiveness of person-centered therapy concluded that Dr. Rogers approach is effective for persons suffering from the common mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and could even be helpful for those persons experiencing more moderate to serious symptoms.
By: Shervan K. Shahhian