Carl Rogers And Client-Centered Therapy

In this brief blog, we will learn in detail what Non-directive therapy is. We will understand the history, the positive outcomes and the criticisms of non-directive counselling. 

Non-directive therapy is a method of psychotherapy and counselling in which the therapist or counsellor, rather than guiding the process, creates a positive environment and clarifies the client’s thoughts. 

By expressing his or her own feelings, articulating his or her own difficulties, and interpreting his or her own conduct, the client takes the lead. Client-centered therapy relies heavily on this technique. [as proposed by Carl Rogers at the time]

Carl Rogers And Client-Centered Therapy

Humanistic psychology underpins client-centered therapy. In the 1940s, Carl Rogers created the non-directive counselling style, which he continued to refine into the 1980s. In the 1940s, Carl Rogers’ treatment was promoted as a more humanitarian solution to mental health issues than psychoanalysis or behavioural approaches. 

Rogers recommended the following during this time:

  • Therapists should be permissive and nondirective.
  • Advice, persuasion, instruction, suggestion, interpretation, and other therapeutic techniques were not always effective.
  • Diagnoses are frequently incorrect and misunderstood.
  • Therapists should make an effort to comprehend the client’s emotions.

Rogers changed the name of nondirective therapy to client-centered therapy in the 1950s. Rogers realised that clients preferred at least some mild advice, so he gave it this moniker. His approach to therapy began to shift. 

In 1961, he published the groundbreaking book “On Becoming a Person.” He now claims that, rather than focusing on the client’s sentiments, the therapist should concentrate on their immediate experiences and consciousness. 

In addition, the therapist must be aware of the client’s frame of reference. People are motivated by their desire to achieve self-actualization.

Rogers was continuously fine-tuning his method throughout the 1970s. During this time, he concentrated on the function of the therapist. 

Then, in the 1980s, Rogers’ therapy, now known as person-centered therapy, was applied or broadened for industry, dispute resolution, family, health care, and cross-cultural applications for the first time.

Rogers originally used the term “client” instead of “patient” since the term “patient” implied that treatment was only for sick individuals. He considered his customers as people who needed his assistance in resolving their issues on their own. 

Despite his preference for the word client over patient, he eventually settled on the new moniker of person-centered therapy because of his focus on the client as a human.

“Client” vs. “Patient” : the debate

Roger stressed how important it is for people to control their destiny by making decisions based on their own judgements. He felt that the word ‘patient’ implied someone who was sick or needy of assistance, whereas he wanted to change the way they saw the world by using the term ‘client’ instead.

Therapist’s assumptions

The following are the most significant assumptions that the therapist brings to therapy in client-centered therapy are:

  • Humans are, at their core, good.
  • People genuinely want to be healed and change for the better.
  • People already have everything they need to modify their self-perception, habits, and attitudes.
  • People have a strong desire to achieve self-actualization. That is, they have a strong inherent desire to achieve their full potential as well as the ability to do so.

What Does It Take to Have a Positive Outcome with Client-Centered Therapy?

According to Rogers, client-centered treatment, also known as Rogerian therapy, requires six elements to be successful. 

The first three are the previously indicated needed therapist attributes of empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive respect for the client. 

The other three are as follows:

  • A therapeutic relationship between the client and the therapist.
  • A client who is emotionally distressed or in a condition of inconsistency in the outset.
  • The client can tell that the counsellor has their best interests at heart and understands their current difficulties.

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Goals of therapy

These broad objectives are as follows (Buhler, 1971):

  • Facilitate personal development and growth.
  • Reduce or eliminate distressing feelings.
  • Increase your self-esteem and willingness to try new things.
  • Increase the client’s awareness of himself or herself.

These goals currently cover a wide range of sub-goals or aims, but it is also typical for the client to develop his or her own therapeutic goals.

Client-centered treatment asserts that the therapist, due to a lack of understanding about the client, is unable to develop successful goals for the client. 

Only the client has adequate understanding of themselves to develop therapeutic goals that are both successful and appealing.

Other frequently obtained advantages include: 

  • greater agreement between the client’s concept and their actual selves.
  • Improved comprehension and awareness.
  • Defensiveness, insecurity, and guilt are all reduced.
  • Better relationships as a result of increased self-confidence.
  • Self-expression has improved, and general mental health has improved. (2018, Noel)

Client’s objectives

  • You must be willing to communicate your internal experiences with your therapist without their direct instruction or counsel for client-centered therapy to be effective. 
  • During treatment, you will be treated as an equal partner, with you often setting the path of your sessions (though your therapist may also ask questions or seek clarification).
  • While client-centered treatment can help you achieve the self-efficacy you need to feel confident in leading the conversation, it isn’t the best strategy for everyone. Some people may find that they prefer more directive therapists.
  • This type of therapy also emphasises the development of a relationship between you and your therapist. It will be more difficult to make progress if you do not feel understood by your therapist or if you do not feel safe and supported enough to discuss your views openly.

This method encourages mental health providers to create the conditions for their clients to change. 

This needs a therapeutic setting that is adaptable, nonjudgmental, and empathic. To do so, they employ the following strategies:

  • Congruence

In this style, therapists must be sincere and authentic, with facial expressions and body language that complement their statements.

  • Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR)

As previously stated in this article, unconditional positive regard (UPR) is demonstrated by accepting, respecting, and caring for one’s clients; the therapist should assume that clients are doing the best they can in their circumstances and with the skills and knowledge at their disposal.

  • Empathy

It is critical for the therapist to demonstrate to clients that he or she understands rather than just sympathises with their feelings.

  • Nondirectiveness is a cornerstone of client-centered therapy

It refers to the practise of letting the client drive the therapy session; therapists should refrain from giving advice or organising activities for their sessions.

  • Reflection of Feelings

Repeating what the client has said about his or her feelings; this shows the client that the therapist is paying attention and comprehending what the client is saying, as well as allowing them to explore their feelings further.

  • Open Questions 

“How does it make you feel?” is the quintessential “therapist” inquiry, and this method alludes to it. Of course, that isn’t the only open topic that can be asked in client-centered therapy, but it is an excellent one for getting clients to open up and communicate.

  • Paraphrasing

Therapists can show their clients that they understand what they’ve said by repeating it back to them in their own words; this can also assist the client clarify their feelings or the nature of their difficulties.

  • Encouragers

Encouraging words or phrases like “uh-huh,” “go on,” and “what else?” can help a client who is shy, introverted, or frightened of opening up and being vulnerable continue; they can be especially effective for a client who is timid, introverted, or fearful of being vulnerable (J & S Garrett, 2013).

By using these techniques, therapists can help clients become more self-aware of their perspective and how it affects them both internally and socially. 

Clients feel safe on this therapeutic journey because they are given the time to explain themselves without judgement. 

It has been known that clients learn the necessary skills to overcome certain obstacles in their lives that may be affecting many areas of their lives negatively because choices are no longer made impulsively once the client learns some important lessons while undergoing treatment under a therapist’s guidance.

Benefits of client centered therapy

Self-concept and reality are sometimes in sync. In other circumstances, self-perceptions are unrealistic or out of touch with reality. While most people distort reality to some degree, incongruence can occur when one’s self-concept clashes with reality.

Consider a young woman who considers herself uninteresting and a bad speaker, despite the fact that others find her fascinating and engaging. She may have low self-esteem as a result of her self-perceptions not matching reality.

You can learn to alter your self-concept in order to achieve congruence through the client-centered therapy approach. The client-centered approach’s strategies are all aimed at assisting you in developing a more realistic picture of yourself and the environment.

Criticism of roger’s client centered therapy

  • Critics of non-directive counselling and client centred therapy include the likes of R.D. Laing who felt that clearly defining the difference between counselling and psychotherapy is essential in doing justice to the individual’s needs in both these situations, thereby endeavouring to reduce or avoid confusion. 
  • He further added that setting limits between counselling and psychotherapy would avoid any overlap in situations where interactions are indiscriminately classified as either which could prove detrimental for patients who are truly in need of real, legitimate psychotherapy sessions especially if their physical well being is at stake. 
  • Rogers reacted calmly to these criticisms by claiming that conditions exist where “counselling may be therapeutic”- serving to help reestablish damaged relationships through strengthening one’s ability to engage in intimate life with others.

Rogers(1975) proposed the idea that the client has a natural tendency to look for guidance from someone who genuinely understands them and is able to relate on a personal level. 

Through his research we now understand that if only there was someone who was prepared to share their own experiences, if they were available at a client’s time of need, then it would help them find new productive solutions to their problems. 

We believe only after the client is completely comfortable with this person-level connection can we begin to help guide them towards making more productive decisions regarding achieving both clarity and relief.

He stated that usually it was very short verbal responses of a non-objective nature fulfilling merely a void or even worse sort of of a ‘non objective’ emotion that were responsible for any change to the better and the psychoanalysis emphasis on interpreting and classifying was sometimes on too much of a ‘high level’.

What we recommend for Counselling

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression or any other mental disorders then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

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