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Person-Centered Therapy is a therapeutic approach to counseling that was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940ís. Within this approach, Rogers emphasized that it was the attitudes as well as the personal characteristics of the relationship between the therapist and the client that was of the utmost importance in the outcome of the therapeutic process. The therapeutic goals of the Person-Centered approach being, to allow the therapist to assist the clients to be true to themselves and eventually reach their full potential, or self-actualization. This paper will discuss the principles of Person-Centered therapy as well as address the founder of this approach Carl Rogers. This paper will also discuss how this approach has grown since its conception, its strengths and weaknesses as a therapy, and the types of problems that this approach seems to work best on.
History of Person-Centered Theory:
Person-Centered Therapy is just one approach out of many therapeutic approaches of Psychotherapy. Person-Centered Therapy shares many of its key principles with the existential perspective in that both concepts put emphasis on the importance of the client-therapist relationship being at the core of the therapy.
This approach was founded my Carl Rogers in the 1940ís. According to Theory and Practice of Counseling, Rogerís was a therapist known for his contributions and support of humanistic psychology. He was a pioneer in the development of the concepts that emphasized the importance of the relationship between client and therapist. (Corey, 2013)
Carl Rogers considered himself to be a part of the humanist approach, he believed that people were ultimately trustworthy and good. This belief was another one of the key principles that he incorporated into the ideals of his new theory. Rogers stated within his approach, that the clients also had the potential to understand what was going on within themselves and could also potentially resolve their own issues, with minimal assistance from the therapist.
Throughout the development of this approach Carl Rogers maintained his belief that it is ultimately up to the client, and not just the therapist, to grow and become the person that they needed to be for the type of self-change that was needed. This is one of the main reasons that Carl Rogers put so much focus on the concept that the clientís ability to change lies in the relationship found between the client and the counselor. The counselorís main goal was to encourage the client in their growth.
In the article by Fred Zimring and Nathaniel Raskin the authors explain how Rogers came to the final concepts behind his Person-Centered theory approach. Rogers put an increased emphasis on the importance of the clientís world as the client sees it. He encouraged the counselors that would practice his approach to live within the context of the clientís world. That this would be how you would connect with them.
The authors go on to explain how Rogers gradually established his theory with the combination of what he called propositions. The first of Rogers proposition was that individuals exists in a world of experiences that is continually changing, one that they are the center of, the next proposition was that each person reacts to his or her field as they experience it, and as it is perceived by each person. Rogers, then stated that it was this world to which the therapist is to attend to with his client. He maintained that it was not the true reality which is important, but rather the world as the client sees it.
Rogers believed that the best vantage point for understanding the behaviors of ones clients was to do so from the internal frame of reference of the individual. (Zimring et al., 1992)
Types of Problems Person-Centered Theory is Most Useful For:
The Person-Centered approach has proven to be useful in a wide array of circumstances. With the main concept of this theory putting the importance on the client and on the relationship of the client with the therapist, it makes this style particularly easy to apply to a variety of circumstances.
Person-centered therapy has been used to enhance oneís personal growth with the goal of reaching self-actualization, as well as promotes healthy relationships. In order to do this the therapists had to be able put forth a positive attitude toward his client, and believe
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Psychotherapy, Clinical psychology, Mental health, Social work, Person-centered therapy, Humanistic psychology, Carl Rogers, Art therapy, Play therapy, Reality therapy
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