Hello everyone! I hope that you have all been staying warm and enjoying the start of winter.
Along with the start of winter, some might find it difficult to maintain a positive mindset amidst the gloomy and cold temperatures. Additionally, winter can be a difficult time for some individuals in terms of mental health and general well-being.
In view of this, today I wanted to dedicate a blog post to one of my favourite psychologists who developed a very interesting therapy style that has served benefits to myriad populations (Yao and Kabir, 2023).
Carl R. Rogers is seen as a founder of the humanistic psychology movement (American Psychological Association, 2021). He was born in 1902 and died in 1987. After receiving a PhD from Colombia University in 1931, Rogers worked at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. He developed the person-centered/client-centered approach to psychotherapy, as well as the concept of unconditional positive regard. He is viewed as a pioneer within the field of clinical psychological research and was the first to receive the Distinguished Professional Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association.
Person-centered therapy is based on the notion that individuals are intrinsically motivated to attain positive psychological function (Yao and Kabir, 2023). In contrast to other forms of therapy which emphasize the counsellor’s role, person-centered therapy allows the client to adopt the role of the “expert” and guide of the therapeutic process. Meanwhile, the therapist serves to create a space that enables the client’s self-exploration and psychological growth. While few therapists today solely dedicate themselves to this method, the concepts and techniques that underlie person-centered therapy have been incorporated into myriad therapy practices.
Rogers delineated six key conditions as necessary and sufficient for therapeutic change (Yao and Kabir, 2023). Firstly, the therapist and client need to establish psychological contact. Second, the client must be experiencing a state of incongruence, referring to a discrepancy between their self-image and reality. In turn, this discrepancy provokes anxious and vulnerable sentiments in the client. Third, therapist congruence must prevail; the therapist must be genuine (or congruent) in the therapist-client relationship. Fourth, the therapist must show unconditional positive regard for the patient by creating a warm environment for the client without showing any judgment, approval, or disapproval of the client’s views. Fifth, the therapist ought to display empathic understanding toward the client’s perspectives. Sixth, the client must perceive the therapist’s unconditional positive regard and empathic understanding.
Person-centered therapy is beneficial in terms of its flexibility. More specifically, it can be applied to various therapeutic settings (i.e. individual, group, family therapy, play therapy) (Yao and Kabir, 2023). Moreover, it lacks set guidelines for its length or frequency and may be used for both short-term or long-term treatment. Thus, in comparison to other forms of psychotherapy, person-centered therapy provides advantages in terms of its availability and implementation. In developing this model, Rogers asserted that the qualities of the therapist and their experiential training are considered key rather than their intellectual training.
In terms of its efficacy, research indicates that client-centered therapy has served benefits to populations struggling with depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and PTSD (Yao and Kabir, 2023).
Carl Roger’s client-centered therapy stuck with me after learning about this method in one of my psychology classes. I think that the flexibility and applicability of this approach make it very useful, because individuals may struggle to align themselves with more rigid therapy styles. I also find this approach unique in that the client takes the lead role. Intuitively, I feel as if this might give a client confidence over time as they may be able to acquire a sense of control and capability over their personal psychological growth.
I hope that anyone reading this has enjoyed learning about this unique therapeutic approach. In addition, if you are someone who has struggled to find a therapy style that suits you, this might constitute an interesting path to explore or try out.
Regardless, I hope everyone has a great week and stays warm throughout the Canadian winter!
American Psychological Association. (2021, June). Carl Rogers, PhD.
Yao, L., & Kabir, R. (2023). Person-Centered Therapy (Rogerian Therapy). In StatPearls.
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Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.