Person Centered-Counseling Handout

Quick Reference Guide for Person-Centered Counseling (From Corey text- Chap 7)

Carl Rogers (1902-1987) developed the person-centered approach based on concepts from humanistic psychology.  The core theme in his theory is the necessity for nonjudgmental listening and acceptance if clients are to change (Heppner, Rogers, & Lee, 1984). 

Four Periods of Development of the Approach

  1. Nondirective counseling – developed by Carl Rogers in 1940’s, which provided a powerful and revolutionary alternative to the directive and interpretive approaches to therapy being practiced.
  2. Client-centered therapy – developed by Carl Rogers in 1950’s, reflects its emphasis on the client rather than on nondirective methods.
  3. Period from late 1950’s to 1970’s where Carl Rogers addressed the necessary and sufficient conditions of therapy.
  4. Person-centered therapy – developed by Carl Rogers during 1980’s and 1990’s, where his approach was broadened to education, industry, groups, conflict resolution and the search for world peace. 

Existentialism vs. Humanism – both share a respect for the client’s subjective experience, the uniqueness and individuality of each client, and a trust in the capacity of the client to make positive and constructive conscious choices. However, Existentialism takes the position that we are faced with the anxiety of choosing to create an identity in a world that lacks intrinsic meaning. Humanists take the position that each of us has a natural potential that we can actualize and through which we can find meaning.

View of Human Nature – Rogers firmly maintained that people are trustworthy, resourceful, capable of self-understanding and self-direction, able to make constructive changes, and able to live effective and productive lives.

The Therapeutic Process – Goals are to aim toward the client achieving a greater degree of independence and integration. Role of person-centered therapist is rooted in their ways of being and attitudes, not in techniques designed to get the client to “do something.”

Application: Therapeutic Techniques and Procedures – There is an early emphasis on reflection of feelings. The person-centered approach has been applied to working with individuals, groups and families.  This approach is also, applicable in crisis intervention and group counseling.

Person-Centered Expressive Arts Therapy – developed by Natalie Rogers (1993), theory of creativity using the expressive arts to enhance personal growth for individuals and groups.

Person-Centered Therapy from a Multicultural Perspective – Strengths is the impact on the field of human relations with diverse cultural groups. Carl Rogers’ work has reached more than 30 countries, and his writings have been translated into 12 languages. Shortcomings are that many clients who come to community mental health clinics or who are involved in outpatient treatment want more structure than this approach provides.



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