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Evaluate the Claim That Person-Centred Therapy offers the Therapist All That He/she Will Need to Treat Clients

Essay by   •  December 11, 2011  •  Case Study  •  2,626 Words (11 Pages)  •  3,072 Views

Essay Preview: Evaluate the Claim That Person-Centred Therapy offers the Therapist All That He/she Will Need to Treat Clients

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"Evaluate the claim that Person-Centred Therapy offers the

therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients".

The claim that Person-Centred Therapy offers the therapist all that he/she will need to treat clients, is a bold view that I plan to address during the course of this essay.

I will firstly look at the core conditions that Rogers quoted as being essential for Person-Centred Therapy and explain the use of these in achieving his approach.

I will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach and will look at differing opinions from other sources to provide an overview. I will then derive my own opinion from these and detail my own concerns or praise for the model.

I will look at the different constructs such as Maslow's self actualisation, self concept and conditions of worth when evaluating the Person-Centred Therapy approach.

I will conclude by rounding up my findings and giving my overall opinion in response to the question.

Person-Centred Therapy

In order to be able to assess the claim in the title of this essay, it is important to be aware of the model we are talking about and the fundamental aspects that form this therapeutic approach.

The Person-Centred Therapy approach is based upon humanistic principles and is made up of six necessary elements.

Rogers(1957) describes these, as stated below, the "necessary and sufficient conditions for the initiation of a process of constructive personality change."

Rogers(1957) states that " if these six conditions exist, and continue over a period of time, this is sufficient."

I feel that these factors are important however, like many other therapists, I can see the potential barriers that may make this approach difficult.

In person centred therapy the role of the therapist is vital to the success. This is because the client's perception of the therapist and their ability to reflect the client's situations allows the client to view the situation differently, as explained by Rogers (1951) below.

"Thus it is that the client, experiencing in another an acceptance of

both these aspects of himself, can take toward himself the same attitude. He finds that he too can accept himself even with the additions and alterations that are necessitated by these new perceptions of himself as hostile. He can experience himself as a person having hostile as well as other types of feelings, and can experience himself in this way without guilt. He has been enabled to do this because another person has been able to adopt his frame of reference, to perceive with him, yet to perceive with acceptance and respect."

As shown above this will allow the client to perceive their indifferences from a different perspective, therefore allowing the client to accept himself. Over a prolonged period of time the client will therefore achieve congruence and his conditions of worth will change.

The Effects of Person Centred Therapy

I have already started to touch on what the client achieves through person centred therapy, but felt it was important to explore these further.

When a client enters therapy they may be in a state of incongruence, where they are unable to differentiate between their organismic self and their self concept. The organismic self is the client's inner core, which is made up of his own feelings, instincts and emotions. By denying the organismic self it stops the client being true to themselves and living authentically.

Person Centred Therapy assists this by allowing the client to speak openly and honestly to a therapist who offers congruence, empathy and unconditional positive regard. This relationship then allows the client to feel the real emotions of situations that may have been distorted in the past, causing a clash between the individuals perception of them self and the reality.

These clashes appear due to the client trying to be what he believes he should be and the organismic self. This is normally due to the client's conditions of worth. These are messages that we receive from internal and external forces that we may or may not choose to experience, which may increase or decrease our organismic self. Generally these conditions of worth become distorted because of the parental relationship and the conditional regard given to the person. This is illustrated well by Rogers(1959) cited in Sanders, Frankland and Wilkins(2009).

"A condition of worth arises when the positive regard of a significant other is conditional, when the individual feels that in some respects he is prized and in others not. Gradually this same attitude is assimilated into his own self regard complex, and he values an experience positively or negatively solely because of these conditions of worth which he has taken over from others, not because the experience enhances or fails to enhance his organism."

The relationship between the client and therapist allows for the conditions of worth to be altered due to the client feeling unconditional positive regard, regardless of the situation that they are experiencing.

As expressed below by Rogers(1951) a client who experiences this unconditional relationship will be able to alter his feelings of self worth and will be able to view himself fully without guilt.

"In this safe relationship he can perceive for the first time the hostile meaning and purpose of certain aspects of his behaviour, and can understand why he has felt guilty about it, and why it has been necessary to deny to awareness the meaning of this behaviour."

With clients being able to experience these situations without guilt they are able to bring their organismic self and self concept in line with each other. This results in the clash between both parts being resolved, allowing the client to move towards fulfilling their potential or reaching self actualisation.

Self actualisation is a theory created by Abraham Maslow, where he believed that in order for a person to reach their full potential they need to be able to satisfy their basic needs. I have included a diagram of Maslow's hierarchy of needs which details the different levels required to achieve self actualisation. It is important to point out that you don't have to work through every level to achieve self actualisation and that you can move up and down the scale at varying points in your life.

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