Ways Of Being: The role of the counselor with person centered therapy is to help clients accept who they are with nondirective counseling. Therapy is conducted in the here-and-now by using empathy, active listening, congruence, and unconditional positive regard. Providing a positive environment can promote change for the client.
The role of the client, is the client is the expert and gain self-actualization through the counseling process. The client leads the counseling sessions and are not directed by the counselor.
The role of therapeutic relationship is developed through mutual trust that leads to client's self-actualization, self-worth, and insight on personal potential.
Sommer-Flanagan page 155
Way Of Understanding: The view of human nature in person-centered therapy is positive that people make their own decision and learn from moment-to-moment. Some learning and growth potential and self-worth comes from childhood that is carried through adulthood. People are influenced by social and environmental factors, while striving for growth/self-actualization. Elizabeth Davis inspired Carl Rogers on his understanding of clients, how they connected and the therapeutic relationship, show in the table to the left.
The view of the problem/maladaptive behavior is a combination of incongruences in a person life between organism (world experiences) and self. Some incongruences are low conditions of worth, thoughts of ideal self that are unattainable, and failure to learn from experiences.
The view of healthy/adaptive behavior is the congruence between organism and self. The person has positive self-regard, has reached self-actualization or real self, and learns from experiences.
Goals of person-centered therapy is to provide the client with a positive environment and unconditional caring that promotes change. For the client to reach self-actualization, positive self-regard, and congruence and maintain these aspects within their life.
Key concepts of person-centered therapy are: Theory of personality in four main features; 1. self-theory is the self is the center and the organism is the experiences. If there are incongruences between the self and organism it is maladaptive. If there is congruence between the two, then the person will experience adaptive/healthy life. 2. Phenomenology and the valuing of experience, "Bohart states that "experiencing is the direct, nonverbal sensing of patterns and relationships in the world, between self and world, and within the self. It includes what is often called 'intuitive knowing'" (Sommers-Flanagan, 157). 3. Learning and growth potential is working towards self-actualization. 4. Conditions of worth are learned needs; "need for positive regard and need for self-regard,” the first interaction is during childhood (Sommers-Flanagan, 158). Also, the discrepancies between real self (self-actualization) and ideal self (unattainable views of should haves). The theory of psychopathology is when on hangs onto the past and fails at learning from previous experiences.
The view of therapeutic change takes place by the client feeling accepted and unconditional positive regard. When the client feels safe in the therapeutic environment, then one can gain insight and become to accept their self. The client is the expert and leads the counseling session at their own pace, the counselor has to have trust in the client. Person centered-therapy is based on symptom reduction and self-development.
Ways Of Intervening: Techniques of person-centered therapy are: congruence or transparency this is an open and honest relationship between client and counselor. Unconditional positive regard is accepting the clients for who they are and viewing the maladaptive thoughts and behaviors separate. Accurate empathy demonstrates active listening and can use walking within with the client shifting pronouns during reflection from first-person to second-person statements. Contemporary person-centered approach uses a more active and direct approach through the use of motivational interviewing, emotion-focused therapy, and nondirective play therapy. For motivational interviewing Miller and Rollnick defined it as, "a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence" (Sommers-Flanagan, 172). The four essential principles (as listed below) helps with resistant clients, one on the primary target of motivational interviewing is substance abuse.
Multicultural considerations of person-centered therapy may be poor for clients who are looking for a more direct active therapy, clients that come from collectivist cultures, and clients with cultural backgrounds that avoid expressing emotion. This therapy does not advocate, but may empower client to advocate for themselves.
This therapy is beneficial to many populations, but many individuals to reach congruence and self-actualization. It provides personal insight into one's life and moment-to-moment emotions.
Limitations of person-centered therapy is that it is nondirective and client lead. The client must have the cognitive abilities to provide self-insight and the client must have the willingness to explore emotions and inclination to change.
References: Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2015). Person-Centered Theory and Therapy. In Counseling and Psychotherapy Theories in Context and Practice: Skills, Stra (pp. 153-187). John Wiley & Sons.