Major Contributors To Person-Centered Therapy Essay

In this essay I will be discussing the pros and cons of Person-Centred Therapy as an exclusive method of therapy for clients. I will also give asn understanding of exacntly what ‘PCT’ Person based therpay is. Itis important to describe first what we mean when discussing PCT. Person-Centred Therapy, also known as client-centred, Rogerian therapy or non-directive, is an approach to counselling and psychotherapy that has much of the responsibility for the treatment process on the client, with the therapist taking a non-directive role. Person centred therpay emphasises person to person relationship between the therapist and client and focuses on the client??s point of view; through active listening which the therapist tries to understand the clients present issues and emotions. In PCT the client determines the direction, course, speed and length of the treatment and the therapist helps increase the clients insight and self-understanding. Carl Ransom Rogers was an influential American psychologist, who, along side Abraham Maslow, was the founder of the humanist approach to clinical psychology. Therefore I will start with an introduction to Carl Rogers, his background and influences and his relevence to the essay title. Also In this essay I will explore the the main theory and the three core conditons. Following on from this I will look at the pros of this approach and consider its success in treating psychological disorders. It is without a doubt that Carl Rogers inspired many people, but he was not without his Critics, which is always likely when someone is bringing something new to the table. So I will include the difficulties and doubts expressed by other Practitioners in order to get an opposing viewpoint, which will include the cons of this approach. I will end my essay with my conclusion of the person centred therapy and the reasons why I have arrived at my conclusion.
Carl Rogers is known for inventing his own way of offering therapy which is called ‘person based therapy’ which I will go into more detail shortly. Carl Rogers was born in Illinois, Chicago, in 1902. His parents were middle-class, respectable hard-working people. His Father was a Civil Engineer and his Mother a stay-at-home housewife. Carl was the fourth child in a family of six children. Carl Rogers’ early days were heavily influenced by his Mother’s strict attitude towards Christian principles. She was a committed member of the local Pentecostal Church. He received a Classical education and came into contact with the works of Thomas Aquinas, Plato and Socrates. It was These Philosophers which generated an interest in Carl, in the workings of the human mind and its influence on the life of the individual. ‘Carl Rogers claimed to be grateful that he never had one particular mentor, but was open to the influence of widely differing view points as well as his own experience and that of his colleagues and clients (Thorne, 1984). However reviewing his life and times it seems clear that a number of key people and circumstances influenced his thinking. The experience of living on a farm as a child taught Rogers about natures inevitability and its strength and growth. Intellectually he was immersed in liberal Protestant beliefs of Paul Tillich (1886-1965).
He was also strongly influenced by John Deweys emphasis on experience as a basis for learning (Zimring 1994). He was directly exposed to Dewey’s philosophy of no nonsense vigorous self- reliance , thoughtful exposure to experience and concern for others, when he attended a course given by William H Kilpatricka student of Dewey while at Teachers college in Columbia (Thorne, 1984) His strong religious background led him to want to become a minister, however a trip to China in the 1920s caused him to question his beliefs This experience forced him to broaden his mind, and come to the conclusion, “that sincere and honest people could believe in very divergent religious doctrines.” It caused him to question his parent’s strict religious world view and realized he could not agree with them. Rogers recalled that this was personally liberating and moved him to develop his own philosophy of life. It also influenced him to choose a different career’ reference
Carl Rogers also embraced the ideas of Abrham Muslow a humanism, and he also believed that personal growth was dependent upon environment. This belief became the basis for his development of client-centered therapy, later renamed person-centered therapy. Carl rogers embraced the person based theropy in the 1940’s. So this is why Carl rogers has such relevance to the essay on ‘person centreed therapy’ as he was the man who invented person centred therapy. This type of therapy came from the traditional model of the therapist as expert and moved instead toward a nondirective, empathic approach that empowers and motivates the client in the therapeutic process. The therapy is based on Rogers’s belief that every human being strives for positive and good in there lives and has also the capacity to fulfill his or her own potential.
In ways of therapy the person centreed approach does not have ‘techniques’ as such but by just offering what he named ‘the core conditions’ This involves the development and knowledge and reasearch of expressing the core conditions, the three core conditions which the therapist must endure to dliever the client based therpary appropriately include the following.

1) Empathy ‘ feeling ro atempting to feel what the client is expressing
2) Congruence- To be honest with the client at all times
3) Giving warmth without being non judgemental, positivity at all times- Always valueing the client regardless of how they have behaved

The therapist puts into practise this empathy by active listening that shows careful and perceptive attention to what the client is saying. In addition to standard techniques, such as eye contact, that are common to any good listener, person-centred therapists employ a special method called reflection, which consists of paraphrasing and/or summarizing what a client has just said. This technique shows that the therapist is listening carefully and accurately, and gives the clients an added opportunity to examine their own thoughts and feelings as they hear them repeated by another person. Generally, clients respond well to this technique and they go further on the thoughts they have just expressed. According to Rogers, when these three attitudes (congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathy) are practised by a therapist, clients can freely express themselves without having to worry about what the therapist thinks of them. The therapist does not attempt to change the clients thinking and mood in any way. Even negative expressions are accepted as appropriate experiences. Because of this non-directive approach, clients can find out which problems are important to them and explore these issues and not those ones considered important by the therapist, giving the client control ober there own throughts, feelings and judgement. Based on the principle of self-actualization, this undirected, uncensored self-exploration allows clients to recognize alternative ways of thinking that will promote personal growth. The therapist merely facilitates self-actualization by providing a climate in which clients can freely engage in focused, in-depth self-exploration. Which I think is a great idea and defently a pro working in carl rogers favour as being a positive part of the therapy.
Can the therapist activley put into practice congruence at all times? There is no right or wrong answer but dealing with a client who has come for help for something you dont agree with such as a ‘murderer’ or a ‘Phedophile’ is it possible to remain genuinene and speak the truth at all times! Carl rogers himself would remain genuine at all times and speak the truth as he felt the therapy would not work unless he stuck with his three core conditions. So in Carl rogers eyes the ways to be a good therpaist is to be honest with the clients. Congruence is about being genuine ‘ being yourself in your relationships with other people, without any pretence or fa??ade. When we are congruent, how we act and what we say is consistent with how we are feeling and what we are thinking. This is not always easy to do ‘ our own fears and anxieties can get in the way ‘ but with practice it can be developed. Unconditional positive regard is the therapist giving a non-judgemental value for the

Carl Rogers described six therapeutic conditions: Therapist-Client Psychological Contact: a relationship between client and therapist must exist, and it must be a relationship in which each persons perception of the other is important and must exist in order for the client to achieve positive personal change through therpay
1. Client Incongruence or Vulnerability: A discrepancy between the client’s self-image and actual experience leaves him or her vulnerable to fears and anxieties. The client is often unaware of the incongruence.
2. Therapist Congruence or Genuineness: The therapist should be self-aware, genuine, and congruent. This does not imply that the therapist be a picture of perfection, but that he or she be true to him- or herself within the therapeutic relationship.
3. Therapist Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR): The clients’ experiences, positive or negative, should be accepted by the therapist without any conditions or judgment. In this way, the client can share experiences without fear of being judged.
4. Therapist Empathy: The therapist demonstrates empathic understanding of the clients’ experiences and recognizes emotional experiences without getting emotionally involved.
5. Client Perception: To some degree, the client perceives the therapist’s unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding. This is communicated through the words and behaviors of the therapist. -Reference-

Carl Roger’s person-centered approach to therapy widespread acceptance and is applied in areas of education, cultural relations, nursing, interpersonal relations, and other service and aid-oriented professions and arenas. Rogers’s psychological theories have influenced modern psychotherapy and have directly impacted the field of mental health. So again Carl Rogers centre based theropy is seen as a positve advantage in the therapy world.
Also While person-centred therapy is considered one of the major therapeutic approaches, along with psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavioural therapy, Carl Rogers influence is felt in schools of therapy other than his own. The concepts and methods he developed are used by many different types of counsellors and therapists. Alotugh a lot of therapists regard carl rogers therapy as great and postive there have been others which have critisied him and his therpay. Not everyone would agree that the person centred approach has great effects I will out outlay some negative effects this kind of therapy can have on the client and the therapy as a whole.

Although this theory has become increasingly mainstream ans accepted over time, a major weakness is that it does not sufficiently acknoledge stages of development Due to his emphasis on a conscious experience. But this criticism is not on a whole, justified. He directly acknowledges the unconscious in later writings, seeing it as “positive”. Furthermore, the whole idea of congruence/incongruence and wisdom involves the idea of an unconscious and he clearly posits an organism that has many experiences of which the person is not aware. While Carl Rogers contribution in the area of psychotherapy is incredibally substantial, clinical applicability of his therapy may be limited to those people of the world whose intellectual and cultural backgrounds are compatible with this therapy.
This theory’s development from therapeutic practice may be both a blessing a curse. It keeps it practical and bases it in human experience, yet leads to the extension of concepts that while appropriate to therapy may not be specific enough to apply to abolutely everyone. So that is a Con and goes against the person centred therapy as not everyone can benefit from having this therapy.
Some human conditions, such as psychopathy, do not make much sense according to this theory. If we look at the psychopath, apparently they feel no guilt, discomfort or remorse for her/his actions. There is no anxiety, Incongruence is not apparent, although the theory suggests it would be substantial. I also wonder about those human beings that have limited potentialities in the first place. Is someone “fully functioning” if they have fulfilled all potential, even though there is an extremely limited amount in the first place? The capacity for creativity and free expression might not exist in such a case. Despite my questions and criticism, this theory’s value is substantial and should not be minimized. It offers a reasonable alternative to alternative theories that would have us controling human beings. It also recognizes people as the most important focus in the study of personality.
So my overall conclusion is that Person-Centred Therapy gives the therapist many great tools to work with and treat the client successfully in a positive way, but at the same time I think that this approach on its own will not be to all clients tastes, but will work very well in combination with other types of therapy. Clients who have a strong sence in the direction of exploring themselves and their feelings and who value personal responsibility who also like the feel of remaining in control of themselves may be particularly attracted to the person-centred approach. Those who would like a counsellor to offer them more in depth advice, to diagnose their problems, or to analyse them will probably find the person-centred approach less helpful and a negative experience. Clients who would like to address specific psychological habits or patterns of thinking may find some kind of advantage in the helpfulness of the person-centred approach, as the individual therapeutic styles of person-centred counsellors vary widely, and some will feel more able than others to engage directly with these types of concerns. So it really depends on the type of person you have as a client for the person centred approach to have a helpful effect on as every client who walks in the door is completely different to the next. In my own personal opinion im am more in favour of the therpy as I feel we have everything in our minds to overcome obtacles we face in our lives.

The History Of The Person-Centered Approach1

by Howard Kirschenbaum

1Portions of this article are adapted from Kirschenbaum (2003, 2004)

Table of Contents

  1. The History Of The Person-Centered Approach
  2. The Non-Directive Method
  3. Client-Centered Therapy
  4. Widening Applications
  5. The Person Centered Approach
  6. After Rogers
  7. References

The History Of The Person-Centered Approach

The “person-centered approach” began in the United States in the 1940s with the work of a former ministry-student-turned-psychologist named Carl R. Rogers (1902-1987). He was trained in clinical psychology at Columbia University in the 1920s when the field was in its infancy. Psychiatry at that time was enamored with Freudian psychoanalysis, and the child guidance movement employed many directive techniques for working with children and school students. Psychologists and clinical social workers were hungry for practical methods for helping children and adults with psychological, emotional and “social adjustment” problems (Kirschenbaum, 2009).

Rogers’ training was eclectic, with exposure to psychoanalysis, testing and measurement, and the techniques of child guidance. At Columbia, he was particularly influenced by the progressive education movement with its emphasis on helping students to become self-directed learners and work cooperatively in groups.

From 1928-40, Rogers worked as director of the Child Study Department of the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and then director of the new Rochester Guidance Center. These years in Rochester provided a laboratory in which he worked with thousands of troubled children and adults and gradually developed his own ideas about counseling and psychotherapy. At the same time, others were developing their own methods for working in clinical settings with children and adults. Rogers was particularly influenced by students of Otto Rank, especially Jessie Taft (1933) whose “relationship therapy” shifted emphasis from past content to a focus on the patient’s self-insight and self-acceptance within the therapeutic relationship.

The Non-Directive Method

When Rogers became a professor of psychology at the University of Ohio in 1940, his students challenged him to articulate his own views on effective psychotherapy. He did this in 1942 in his groundbreaking book Counseling and Psychotherapy. Here Rogers popularized the term “client” for the recipient of counseling and psychotherapy, a first step in moving away from a medical model of mental illness. In this book, Rogers also introduced his “non-directive” method. He credited others with working in a similar “newer direction” (Watson, 1940), but his own description of effective counseling and psychotherapy was more clearly articulated and more extreme than other models, and the so-called newer direction in therapy became identified with Rogers. His method was based on a core hypothesis about human growth and personality change, which he summarized a few years later (Rogers, 1950):

This hypothesis is that the client has within himself the capacity, latent if not evident, to understand those aspects of his life and of himself which are causing him pain, and the capacity and the tendency to reorganize himself and his relationship to life in the direction of self-actualization and maturity in such a way as to bring a greater degree of internal comfort. The function of the therapist is to create such a psychological atmosphere as will permit this capacity and this strength to become effective rather than latent or potential” (p. 443).

While other therapies might profess a similar belief, Rogers’ method of creating the therapeutic psychological atmosphere was radically different from other approaches commonly employed. Rogers’ initial non-directive method totally avoided questions, interpretation, suggestions, advice, or other directive techniques. Rather it relied exclusively on a process of carefully listening to the client, accepting the client for who he or she is—no matter how confused or anti-social that might be at the moment—and skillfully reflecting back the client’s feelings. Accepting the client would not extend to violating boundaries or destructive behavior in the counseling session.) Reflecting back the client’s feelings with full acceptance would create a level of safety for deeper exploration and a mirror in which the client could further understand and reflect upon his or her own experience, which would lead the client to further insight and positive action.

At Ohio State, Rogers and his graduate student Bernard Covner began recording counseling interviews, and Counseling and Psychotherapy included the first published, verbatim transcript of a full psychotherapy case. In subsequent years at Ohio State and then at the University of Chicago from 1945-57, where Rogers established a world-renowned counseling center, he and his students recorded and transcribed thousands of hours of therapy sessions. This enabled them to study the process of counseling and psychotherapy in meticulous detail.

Client-Centered Therapy

Gradually Rogers came to understand that the counselor’s attitudes were as important as his particular techniques. The techniques or methods were the way to implement the facilitative attitudes of accepting and understanding. Moreover, if these attitudes of the counselor were not genuine, all the reflecting of feelings in the world would not be of much help to the client. But when the counselor was able to genuinely accept the client in the moment, and to enter into the client’s frame of reference and convey an empathic understanding to the client in an accepting manner, therapy became increasingly powerful and effective. Because of this intense focus on the client’s inner experience, Rogers began to use the term “client-centered” to describe his approach to counseling and psychotherapy. His and his colleagues’ book Client-Centered Therapy (1951) exerted a major influence on the helping professions.

Still later Rogers clarified that it was the therapeutic relationship, which the attitudes helped create, that was most growth-producing, and he continued to refine the three “core conditions” in the client-centered relationship that brought about positive change in clients. First is to accept the client as he or she is, as a person of inherent worth possessing both positive and negative feelings and impulses. Rogers adopted a term from his student Standal (1954) and called this acceptance and prizing of the person “unconditional positive regard.” Second is empathy —“the therapist’s willingness and sensitive ability to understand the client’s thoughts, feelings and struggles from the client’s point of adopt his frame of reference” (Rogers, 1949, p. 84.). Third is congruence—to be genuine, real, authentic, or congruent in the relationship. Rogers (1956) wrote, “It is only as [the therapist] is, in that relationship, a unified person, with his experienced feeling, his awareness of his feelings, and his expression of those feelings all congruent or similar, that he is most able to facilitate therapy” (pp. 199-206).

In one of his most important essays (1957a), Rogers wrote that when a counselor communicates this congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding so that the client perceives them at least to a minimal degree, then the “necessary and sufficient conditions for therapeutic personality change” are present. Rogers argued and demonstrated that the client has within himself the ability and tendency to understand his needs and problems, to gain insight, to reorganize his personality, and to take constructive action. What clients need, said Rogers, is not the judgment, interpretation, advice or direction of experts, but supportive counselors and therapists to help them rediscover and trust their own inner experience, achieve their own insights, and set their own direction.

Rogers and his colleagues asserted these principles of effective therapy not only in their writings and teaching and in Rogers’ many recorded and widely available, audio and video counseling sessions with clients, but through empirical research. Over two decades, from the early forties, Rogers and his colleagues at the University of Chicago and then at University of Wisconsin conducted more research on psychotherapy process and outcomes than had ever been undertaken before (e.g., Rogers & Dymond, 1954; Rogers, Gendlin, Kiesler & Truax, 1967). Rogers and his team devised and used numerous instruments for measuring the variables of client-centered therapy and its outcomes, including measuring the therapist’s acceptance, empathy and congruence; the client’s expression of feelings, insight, self-concept, self-acceptance, and self ideal; the clients’ positive actions, emotional maturity, social adjustment, and numerous other variables. In 1956 the American Psychological Association (1957) awarded Rogers its first “Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award”

for developing an original method to objectify the description and analysis of the psychotherapeutic process, for formulating a testable theory of psychotherapy and its effects on personality and behavior, and for extensive systematic research to exhibit the value of the method and explore and test the implications of the theory. His imagination, persistence, and flexible adaptation of scientific method … have moved this area of psychological interest within the boundaries of scientific psychology” (p. 128).

As the award citation suggests, Rogers was interested in psychological theory and in the effects of therapy on personality as well as behavior. Building upon the Gestalt and phenomenological movements in psychology, and work of his students Victor Raimy (1943, 1948) and Donald Snygg and Arthur Combs (1949), he developed a “self-theory” of personality that is still included in many psychology textbooks. The theory describes how an individual’s concept of self emerges, how the process of socialization causes individuals to distrust their feelings and sense of self, how experiences which are inconsistent with the concept of self become denied and distorted causing personal distress and psychological problems, and how the therapeutic relationship can help the individual restructure the sense of self, allowing previously denied and distorted experience into awareness, leading to reduction in stress and openness to new experience and change (Rogers, 1951, 1959).

Thus the client-centered approach distinguished itself by having both theoretical and research support for its description of effective counseling and psychotherapy. Later, Rogers and his colleagues continued to extend the theory, including: a theory of experiencing and the process of therapeutic change (Gendlin, 1958; Rogers, 1958; Rogers, et al, 1967); a description of the “fully functioning person”, including openness to experience, trust in one’s organism, an internal locus of evaluation, dropping of facades, genuineness in communication, creativity and openness to change (Rogers, 1961); and finally, speculatively, how the actualizing tendency in individuals mirrors a “formative tendency” in the universe (Rogers, 1980).

Widening Applications

After leaving academia in 1963, Rogers moved to California and joined the staff of the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute and then co-created the Center for Studies of the Person. For the next quarter-century, Rogers and his colleagues continued to develop the applications of the client-centered approach to diverse fields—education, group work, business, leadership, creativity, personal relationships, cross-cultural communication, intergroup conflict resolution, even international peacekeeping. In each case Rogers demonstrated how the facilitative conditions of positive regard, empathy, and congruence could unleash growth, creativity, learning, and healing in children, students, group members, patients and others.

Applied to education, his work on “student-centered learning” illustrated how a teacher or, as he preferred, a “facilitator of learning” could provide the trust, understanding and realness to free her students to pursue significant learning. His work coincided with and contributed to the “open education” movement in the United States, Great Britain and elsewhere. His book Freedom to Learn (Rogers, 1969) went through two new editions over the next 25 years (including posthumously Rogers & Freiberg, 1994).

His book on marriage (Rogers, 1972) used case studies of couples to explore new forms of relationships that young people were implementing in the 70s and argued for the importance of openness, communication and role flexibility in couple relationships.

But most of all, during the late 60s and the 70s, Rogers and his colleagues explored the applications of client-centered thinking to groups and group leadership. In the 1940s and 50s he, Thomas Gordon (1951) and colleagues at the University of Chicago had experimented with “group-centered leadership,” whereby the leader’s acceptance, understanding, genuineness, and willingness to let the group set its own directions stimulated great energy, creativity and productivity among group members. In the late 1950s and 60s, Gordon, Richard Farson, Rogers and associates extended this approach to what Rogers (1970) called the “basic encounter group”, an unstructured group experience in which so-called “normal” group members came to greater self-understanding, spontaneity, improved communication, and genuineness in relationships. Rogers led scores of encounter groups in professional, business, religious, medical, academic, personal growth, and organizational settings. Later Rogers and his colleagues used the same approach to facilitating larger “communities”, including audiences and workshops comprised of hundreds of participants.

The Person Centered Approach

Recognizing the ever-widening applicability of the client-centered, student-centered, group-centered approach, Rogers and his colleagues at Center for Studies of the Person increasingly used a broader term—person-centered—to describe their work. Others felt that “person-centered” was a better term than “client-centered” to describe the therapeutic relationship, which, after all, is not just centered on the client but is a relationship between two persons. (In the counseling literature, “person-centered” and “client-centered” are often used interchangeably today.)

As Rogers explored the applications of the person-centered approach to all human relationships, he increasingly recognized its political implications—political not in the sense of partisan politics, but in how power and influence are distributed in all human relationships. In addition to exploring these implications in Carl Rogers on Personal Power (1977), in the 1970s and 80s Rogers utilized the person-centered approach to resolving intergroup and international conflict. Through workshops and filmed encounter groups with multi-cultural populations, such as Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland and blacks and whites in South Africa, Rogers demonstrated how positive regard, empathy, and congruence—the same growth-promoting conditions useful in all helping relationships—can enhance communication and understanding among antagonistic groups. He and his colleagues led person-centered workshops for groups of 100 to 800 participants around the world, including Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Hungary, Soviet Union (Rogers, 1987), and other newly emerging democracies (Kirschenbaum, 2009). They organized a gathering of international leaders in Rust, Austria, about resolving tensions in Central America—an experience that vividly demonstrated the potential of the person-centered approach for resolving international conflict (Rogers, 1986). In acknowledgement of his efforts to bring about international understanding and conflict resolution, although he was not ultimately selected, Carl Rogers was nominated posthumously in 1987 for the Nobel Prize for Peace.

Testimonials suggested that these efforts in professional development and citizen diplomacy helped foster peace and democratization in several countries. As a Japanese counselor, Minoru Hatase, had explained, in the 1960s Rogers helped “teach me . . . to be democratic and not authoritative” (Kirschenbaum, 2009, p. 500). His life’s work demonstrated how supportive, growth-producing conditions can unleash healing, responsible self-direction, and creativity in individuals and groups in all walks of life. As countries around the world strive to resolve intergroup tensions and practice self-government and self-determination, many have recognized in the person-centered approach not only useful methods for helping professionals, but also a positive, person-centered, empowering, democratic philosophy consistent with their national aspirations.

Arguably the person-centered approach is unique among therapeutic approaches in having clear political implications—reversing traditional, hierarchal professional roles with more egalitarian relationships between helpers and clients, teachers and students, leaders and group members, and empowering counselors and therapists to work for conflict resolution and social change in their own communities and wider world. At Rogers’ memorial service (and earlier, 1975) Richard Farson described Carl Rogers as… “a quiet revolutionary.”

After Rogers

For many practitioners and scholars around the world, the person-centered approach as described by Carl Rogers remains the person-centered approach. In counseling and psychotherapy, this approach may be characterized by:

  • A belief in the client’s “self-actualizing tendency,” that is, an innate motivation to grow and mature and realize its self-interest, especially when provided with a supportive environment.
  • A reliance on the therapeutic relationship, characterized by the core conditions of congruence, empathy and unconditional positive regard, for therapeutic progress
  • A continuing focus on the client’s inner experience, hence…
  • An absence of directive techniques or perspectives introduced by the therapist, such as questions, interpretation, advice, coaching, and the like (except for relatively rare expressions of counselor congruence)
  • An avoidance of diagnosis, treatment plans and other therapist-centered methods that reflect the medical model of mental illness
  • A view of the client as a whole person in process of “becoming,” that is, becoming a more fully-functioning person; therefore, counseling focuses not simply on a presenting problem but on more holistic change, so the client can continue to grow and exercise self-direction beyond the therapeutic relationship.

One might say these characteristics describe “traditional”, “classical”, or “orthodox” client-centered or person-centered counseling and psychotherapy. For many other practitioners, researchers and scholars influenced by these ideas, the term person-centered has been expanded or even abandoned. Many believe it is possible to introduce certain techniques to further client self-exploration while still being largely described by the term person-centered. Thus, for example, Natalie Rogers (1993), Carl Rogers’ daughter, developed “person-centered expressive therapy” which engages clients and group members in the creative arts and employs empathic listening to help them explore the meaning of their creative expression and its implication for their lives. Eugene Gendlin (1978, 1993) developed “focusing” and “focusing-oriented, experiential psychotherapy" as a method for helping clients tune in to their “inner experiencing” in greater depth, while continuing empathic listening as a primary method for furthering that exploration. Leslie Greenberg, Robert Elliott and others developed “process-experiential”, then “emotion-focused therapy” (Greenberg, Rice & Elliott, 1993; Elliott & Greenberg, 2001), which combined Gestalt and other techniques to guide the therapeutic process while still valuing the primacy of the facilitative relationship. Other examples of person-centered offshoots would include child-centered play therapy (e.g., Landreth, 1991) and "pre-therapy" developed by Gary Prouty (1999). All these approaches have identified themselves as being closely related to the classic conceptions of the person-centered approach and have significant followings around the world.

Thus there is some controversy in the person-centered world today as to whether “person-centered” should be used exclusively to describe Rogers’ traditional or classic approach to counseling and psychotherapy, or whether there is room for “many tribes” in the person-centered nation (Warner, 2000).

After Rogers’ death in 1987, the person-centered movement continued to spread around the world. In some countries, particularly in Europe, the person-centered approach has become one of the leading approaches to counseling and psychotherapy—with universities and training institutes turning out person-centered practitioners, robust research programs, government recognition for licensure, and reimbursement by insurance companies. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, classic person-centered counseling has been the predominant mode; in others, like Germany, sub-orientations of the person-centered movement have commanded greater allegiance. There are scores of person-centered, professional organizations around the world, numbering in the hundreds to the thousands. One study (Kirschenbaum and Jourdan, 2005) showed that in the 15 years after Rogers’ death, there were more publications on Rogers and the person-centered approach than in the 40 years before. This trend has continued.

In the United States, the person-centered approach is taught as a foundational tool for all counseling and therapy, but is sometimes viewed as passé or insufficient for the real work of therapy. The centennial of Rogers’ birth in 2002 and the growing number of books and DVD’s on the person-centered approach have served to reawaken interest in the approach in the U.S. and beyond. The Association for the Development of the Person-Centered Approach is working to revive interest in the person-centered approach among a new generation of scholars, students and practitioners.


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