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Person-Centered Therapy by Psychologist Carl Rogers

General Idea

Person-centered therapy was initially developed in the forties by Charles Rogers and represents a constantly developing an approach to human growth and change. Its central hypothesis states that the potential of any individual for growth tends to disclose in relation, in which the one who assists, tests, and expresses authenticity, a reality, care, deep and exact understanding. It is unique is that, while being focused on process, it deduces hypotheses from the direct data of therapeutic experience and from the written down and filmed conversations. It steadily checks all hypotheses in corresponding researches. It is applicable useful in any sphere of application of human efforts where the purpose is the psychological growth of the individual.

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Basic Concepts

The basic concept of person-centered therapy is the possibility to express in the form of a hypothesis "if-then". If at installations of the therapist, there are certain conditions, namely: congruence, the positive relation, and empathic understanding - that the person, named who is a" client", makes changes towards growth. Theoretically, this hypothesis remains true for any relations, in which one person shows congruence, empathy, and a positive relation attitude, and another person receives and perceives them. The hypothesis is based on a deep understanding of human nature. The person-centered theory postulates the tendency of the person to self-actualization, or “the instinct for self-preservation and the organismic striving for self-actualization" (Rogers, 1959b).

In this sense, the tendency to self-actualization is a part organismic in the nature human. Rogers quotes Lancelot Whyte: "Crystals, plants and animals grow without any conscious fuss, and the strangeness of our own history disappears once we assume that the same kind of natural ordering process that guides their growth, also guided the development of man and of his mind and does so still” (Whyte, 1960).

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Forces of self-actualization at the baby and the child encounter conditions which are established in life by significant others. These say name it "value conditions" to it when that it is worthy of love and acceptance when behaves according to the established standards. Of these conditions, The child, eventually, assimilates some in their own self-concept of these conditions. Then, according to Rogers, "it is to experience that I must return again and again, to discover a closer approximation to truth as it is in the process of becoming in me" (1959b).

Despite external restrictions, organismic promptings of the child, all of them are internally endured by it. It leads to incongruence between the forces of an organism to self-actualization and the ability to realize and realize them in operation. The person-centered theory aspires to answer on the following question: How can the individual reestablish the lost communication with impulses of self-actualization and recognize their wisdom? In wide understanding, the psychotherapy is "releasing of an already existing capacity in a potentially competent individual” (Rogers, 1959b).

In the presence of certain conditions, the tendency to search for self-actualization gradually leads the individual to overcome those restrictions which were internalized it as value conditions. Such certain conditions are therapeutic relations, which are perceived by the individual as sincerity or congruence, exact empathic understanding, and the unconditional positive relation is more exact. These three conditions are not separate conditions between which the expert therapist intuitively makes a choice. They are interdependent and logically connected with each other.

First of all, the therapist should reach deep and exact empathy. But However, such deep sensitivity to direct "existence" of another person and, the smallest changes in its condition demands, that the therapist at first has accepted and has somewhat estimated another person. Differently, sufficiently deep enough empathy is not possible, if there is no unconditional positive relation. However, these conditions, apparently, can become significant interpersonal events only when they are real. During a therapeutic session meeting with the therapist should be complete and original. “Therefore it seems to me that authenticity or congruence is the most important of three conditions” (Rogers, 1959a).

Authenticity, or congruence, is a basic ability of the therapist to read their own internal experiences and evidence to show them in therapeutic relations. It does not allow it the experience to play a role or to show a facade. His or her words will be coordinated with experiences. It follows by itself. It follows a varying stream of own feelings and proves. It is transparent. With the client, the therapist to the full tries to be oneself. Concepts of authenticity and exact empathic understanding are closely connected with each other. The therapist tries to plunge into the world of the client’s feelings of the client to experience this world in itself.

His understanding starts with its own internal experience of the client’s feelings of the client and his own internal processes of comprehension. He actively endures the feelings of the client, and also understands his own internal reactions to these feelings. During, this process the quite often special value starts to develop quite often in order to get comprehension by the therapist of the feelings that are not directly put into words, which is on the verge of comprehension of the client. At the heart of empathy to the client, the care dispossessed feeling, or acceptance of his or her individuality, which is called as the unconditional positive relation lies.

Such relation arises, including, from the belief of the therapist in internal wisdom of processes of self-actualization of the client and the belief that the client will find out those resources and directions, which will be accepted accommodated into his or her personal growth. The care of the therapist certainly does not take the form of councils or instructions. The therapist informs emphasizes on the value of individuality of the client sometimes directly, but more often through understanding and the sincere response.

Some researches show that the achievements of the client during therapy are significantly connected with the presence of congruence, exact empathy, and positive relation. Halkides (1958) has found out the positive correlation between the presence of these three qualities and the success rate of clients. (Halkides. G. 1958). Numerous researches of Godfrey and Barrett-Lennard (Godfrey and Barrett-Lennard. 1959, 1962) have checked up this hypothesis and have established that the productivity of therapy depends on perception clients of that, and how much these three qualities are inherent in their therapists.

Later researches included new theoretical parameters of person-centered therapy, namely the remedial concept of change of the client’s personality of the client. The theory asserts that the change occurs in a continuum, which on one end hand is presented rigid, static, again, and again repeating the behavior. On the other hand - there is another behavior, which is modified in the process of change and course of internal experiences. Research on the patients hospitalized with the diagnosis of schizophrenia has established that patients, whose therapists had the highest indicator on a triad of therapeutic conditions, were the most successful.

Thus, patients who could cooperate in therapy at a higher level, showed big results, than compared to those whose behavior was rather static and rigid (Rogers, 1967b). Let's sum up, a positive change of the individual in therapeutic relations increases becomes more visible when the client perceives the authenticity, empathy, and care of the therapist. The direction of personal change is an increasing comprehension of the internal experience, the ability to allow the internal experiences a leak and to vary to the surface, and the behavior, which is congruent to the aforementioned internal experience.

Directive Technicians

Historically, those who are are connected with the person-centered therapy, firmly oppose the belief that therapists were directive with the clients. that is reflected in the initial name of the given direction strategy - "not directive therapy". Directive therapy is any practice, in which the therapist is considered to be the expert, whose proceeding from the knowledge of internal processes of human beings. The therapist also puts establishes diagnoses that areas under-considered consideration and treats those who address it for help. From the very beginning conception of the person-centered point of view, the belief that the individual himself is capable to define a direction of the development was a major idea.

Years of experience with clients and numerous psychology researches works have confirmed this belief. Additionally, the accommodated knowledge and have has developed it to such a degree that today's intrusion of the therapist at a concentration of the client on the internal process of experience is considered any unproductive. A person-centered therapist is necessary for uncovering the inner resources of the client. Any pose or manipulations, for example, use the usage of esoteric language, professional terminology, or diagnostic testing, are excluded.

The aforementioned strategies are considered, to lead to that the situation, when the therapist deprives received and monopolizes of the client of the control over the therapy process, thereby there is a transfer of a locus of a control estimation from the hands of the client into the hands of the therapist. Therefore, and the client is blasting his of its belief faith in his own abilities, which is needed to find a way to grow. Any technics of type of psychodrama, methods of Gestalt therapy and bio-energetics, puts the therapist in the role of the expert and lowers the ability of the client to rely on his own internal processes. "The psychotherapy is not manipulations of the expert over the more or less passive person" (Rogers, 1959b).

Three Forces in Psychology

Rogers identifies itself with the so-called third force in psychology, which is - humanistic psychology, - enough various group of people, united by the general idea. His identification with humanistic psychology is based on upholding of the advantages of this concept and the by it and values of the separate person in search of for growth. There is also a contribution of, and also on Rogers's interest in the psychology of development as sciences which considers the advantage and value of the person primary.

That’s how Rogers summarizes the basic distinction between psychoanalysis and the person-centered theory: “I test not enough liking to rather a widespread sight that the person at the heart of the irrational and that its impulses if them not to supervise, will lead to the destruction of others and itself. The human behavior is absolutely rational, in thin and by definition difficult advancement to the purposes which the organism aspires to reach.” (Rogers, 1961a)

The author considers that protection is included in a way of comprehension of organismic processes, which directs the individual to positive growth. The person, being free from protective distortions, lives in a stream of the internal experience, addressing to nuances of the organismic stream for instructions for the behavior.

Contrary to the psychoanalytic point of view, Rogers considers the natural impulses of the person, proceeding their internal organismic experiences as constructive and conducting effective to health and realization. The psychoanalytic theory asserts that by means of a concentration on the past and its understanding thanks to interpretations of the analyst, the patient finds insight into the present behavior in the present.

The person-centered theory is focused on the current experience of the client, believing that restoration of comprehension and trust in personal abilities to own resources gives resources for change and growth. In psychoanalysis, contrary to the person-centered view, the analyst is aimed at the interpretation of communications between the past and the present of the patient. In person-centered therapy the therapist acts as a facilitator, helping the client to findings as to the client of the senses of current internal experiences.

By means of focusing on insight interpretive activity and encouragement in the development of transference relations between the patient and self the therapist, based on a neurosis of the patient, the psychoanalyst occupies the role of the teacher. In person-centered therapy, the therapist proves communicates as much as possible fairly and openly as much as possible and tries to establish the connection in which he is playing the role of- simply a person, who shows care in relation to other person individuals and listens to ршь or her. Though in person-centered therapy, there are carrying over rudiments, such relations do not reach full blossoming (Rogers, 1951).

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Rogers has expressed the opinion that, most likely, carrying over relations develops in an estimated atmosphere, where the client feels that the therapist knows about it him or her more than he or she knows about itself(himself or herself), resulting owing to what thein client becomes becoming dependent. The person-centered therapist needs to avoid any estimated statements. He does not inform the client of those or other values through interpretations, does not ask questions in an investigating manner, does not calm, does not criticize, does not praise, and does not describe the client. person-centered therapy does not consider transference relation as a necessary part of the client’s change of the client in a growth direction.

Distinctions between the person-centered concept and sights behaviorism can be seen under the relation of both these approaches to a science and behavior change. Science, from the point of view of behaviorism, is supervision, registration, and manipulation with the observable phenomenon. So he the behaviorism scientists try to apply those rules which are accepted in natural sciences to behavior research.

However, the internal experience of the person is not a studying subject as its direct supervision and repetition in controllable conditions is impossible. Thus, there is an exact set of criteria of scientific knowledge, which defines what kind of behavior can be investigated, as to how it can be understood, predicted, and supervised. Rogers asserts that there are certain restrictions in the research of the world of experiences by scientific methods, but completely ignoring internal experience and its influence on behavior would be a tragic mistake (Hart and Tomlinson, 1970).

According to Rogers, the science about the person should try to understand people in all of the displays. According to the ideas of behaviorism, behavior change occurs through the external control of stimulus and compensation. From the point of view of the person-centered theory, behavior change arises from within the individual. The purpose of behavioral therapy is symptom elimination. Relations between the therapist and the client are not especially important as the internal experiences connected with a symptom, and. Thus, a therapist aspires to eliminate as soon as possible symptoms as soon as possible, using theory principles learning. This point of view is completely opposite to person-centered therapy, which believes that "is high-grade the functioning person" it is necessary on internal experiences in the definition of the behavior.

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The Theory of the Person

Working out of the theory of the person never was a priority of the person-centered theorists. "Though the theory of the person has arisen from our experience the client-aligned of therapy, to any who is connected with this direction, quite clearly that it not our main focus. In the center of our interest, - is faster, how there is a change in the human person... To us seem more important and reasonable questions are the faster process of personal change than about the reasons for the presence of personal characteristics of the person.” (Rogers, 1959b)

The person-centered theory of the person has grown from the experience of the client-aligned of therapy, researches, and the theory of change of the person (Holstock and Rogers, 1983). As theoretical concepts, in this case, follow from experience as a process, it is faster than theory weeding than the genetic theory what psychoanalysis is. Significant factors - direct relations, as in the electric field. The person-centered theory is first of all the theory of conditions, thanks to which there are changes.

The Developing Baby

The person-centered theory of person therapy begins with certain postulates, which are concerning a person at birth. The world of the baby is the world of his or her own experiences. They form one’s unique reality. In the world of the organism, the baby has one base motivational force: the tendency to self-actualization. Along with this base motivation, the child possesses knack positively to estimate experience, which he perceives as an organism strengthening it, and negatively to estimate those experiences which are represented contradicting its actualizing tendency. This organismic estimated process "directs its behavior to self-actualization”.

The Self-Concept

As the child grows and develops, he starts to spend different distinctions in experience, recognizing what is a part of its existence and functioning, and carrying other experience to other people and things in the environment. As the comprehension of his own existence and functioning develops, it gets the feeling (sense of self), from which his self-concept develops. Self-concept development in many respects depends on the perception of the individual of the experience in the environment by the individual, which is the child’s requirement for the positive relation influences, - the universal and steady requirement of the human being (Rogers, 1959b).

On the other hand, frustrations are the requirement for a positive estimation of the individual is formed of all complex of experiences of satisfaction its self-esteem (or self-regard), which is the result of the acquired feeling based on the perception of an estimation of others. Self-esteem becomes a deep construct, influencing the behavior of an organism as a whole, and gets certain independence of estimations from the outside and from other people. It occurs because of the introjection of the individual of conditions of value.

Value Conditions

The requirement of the child to keep the love of the parents inevitably conflicts with the requirements of its organism. Values, which he realizes in his own organism, sometimes contradict the values of his parents. His behavior, which is caused by organismic by personal requirements and desires, sometimes contradicts behavior as which his parents consider comprehensible. Under the influence of this experience, a child starts to reconstruct his own system of self-esteem, there is a distinction between experiences of a positive and negative estimation from outside the significant others.

The child starts to avoid or completely to deny organismic experience, which, as though he has acquired, does not cause a positive relationship from outside a significant environment. These introjected interjected value conditions become a part of its system of self-esteem. He tests the positive relation to when its experience corresponds to the experience, which has received a positive estimation from outside of significant others.

His or her self-esteem decreases when the external positive estimation is absent. So his or her self-esteem starts to depend on the conditions of values acquired in interaction with significant others in his or her world. What occurs to the actualization tendency as value conditions become a part of the system of self-esteem? It, nevertheless, remains for the individual base motivation. However, there is a conflict between organismic requirements and requirements for self-esteem, now connected with value conditions. The individual, as a result, should choose between aspirations and actions, according to organismic sensation and their censorship proceeding from the received got conditions of value.

In order to keep self-esteem, and together with it - the feeling of value and self-actualization experience, the child prefers to operate according to value conditions. Differently, his or her requirement for self-esteem gets the best of the requirements of an organism. At the moment of a choice it the child can believe that organismic requirements "are bad" and contradict to be "the good" person and consequently prevent self-actualization. Rogers writes: "Alienation of the person from directing organismic processes is not an indispensable part of human nature. It is acquired through learning that is especially characteristic of western civilization.

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The satisfaction or execution of the actualizing tendency became doubled and has led to the formation of incompatible behavioral systems. “Such dissociation is a basis of a psychological pathology of people." (Rogers, 1963) Fortunately, organismic promptings do not stop the existence when by means of negation they are not supposed related to consciousness. Their persistence becomes a problem for the individual. He or she starts to perceive the experience selectively, according to that, he or she confirms or not his or her self-concept which in essential degree is defined now by value conditions. "Experiences, consistent with value conditions, are perceived and are precisely symbolized in consciousness. The experiences entering into the contradiction with conditions of value, are perceived selectively and distorted, partially or completely averted from consciousness. (Rogers, 1959b)

“Every time when the perception is deformed or denied by the individual’s experience, the discrepancy arises between self-concept and experience, psychological maladjustment and vulnerability" (Rogers, 1959b). Experiences, which are not consistent with the self-concept of the individual, are felt perceived as a threat: if they are correctly symbolized in the consciousness of the individual, they could break the organization of its self-concept as would enter into the contradiction with the incorporated conditions of value.

Therefore, these experiences cause alarm in the mind of a person and include activates protective mechanisms, which deform, or deny it, doing reaching for possible stability of perception by the individual itself. Requiring, thus, protection against the exact perception of the experience contradicting its conditions of value, the individual develops rigidity perceptions in corresponding areas.

Psychotherapy and Personal Change

The therapy process is an intervention in discrepancy, or incongruence, which was generated by the individual between own organism with its experience and the self-concept. In therapeutic relations he or she can risk, having admitted to comprehension before deformed or denied experiences. An atmosphere of understanding, it can allow denied the denial of earlier organismic to aspirations to become a part of its concept. d, In an ideal in the course of therapy the individual changes the conditions of value for trust to the wisdom of the developing organism in all integrity.

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