Client-centered therapy, developed within the 1940s by the Carl Rogers , is based on the idea that every individual is that the best expert on himself or herself and people are capable of devising solutions to their own problems.
What to expect?
The therapist facilitates the client’s progress toward self-insight by restating what the client says about his or her needs and emotions. Rogers believed that the foremost important qualities for a therapist are empathy, warmth, and genuineness.
How it works?
The process of constructive personality change are often placed on a continuum from
most defensive to most integrated. Rogers (1961) arbitrarily divided this continuum
into seven stages.
Stage 1 is characterized by an unwillingness to speak anything about oneself.
In Stage 2, clients become slightly less rigid. They discuss external events and people , but they still disown or fail to acknowledge their own feelings.
As clients enter into Stage 3, they more freely mention self, although still. They are not ready to simply accept their emotions, keep personal feelings at a distance from the here-and-now situation, only vaguely perceive that they will make personal choices, and deny individual responsibility for most of their decisions.
Clients in Stage 4 begin to speak of deep feelings but not ones presently felt. They begin to question some values that are introjected from others, and that they start to ascertain the incongruence between their perceived self and their organismic experience. They accept more freedom and responsibility and begin to tentatively allow themselves to become involved in a relationship with the therapist.
By the time clients reach Stage 5, they need begun to undergo significant change and growth. They experience a greater differentiation of feelings as well and develop more appreciation for nuances among them. In addition, they start to form their own decisions and to simply accept responsibility for his or her choices.
People at Stage 6 experience dramatic growth and an irreversible movement toward becoming fully functioning individual or self-actualizing. They freely allow into awareness those experiences that that they had previously denied or distorted. An interesting concomitant to the present stage may be a physiological loosening. These people experience their whole organismic self, as their muscles relax, tears flow, circulation improves, and physical symptoms disappear.
Stage 7 can occur outside the therapeutic encounter, because growth at Stage 6 seems to be irreversible. Clients who reach Stage 7 successfully, become fully functioning “persons of tomorrow”. People at Stage 7 receive pleasure in knowing that these evaluations are fluid which change and growth will continue. Besides it, they become congruent, possess unconditional positive self-regard, and are able to be loving and empathic toward others.
When it is used?
For people who do not voluntarily seek help or are seriously disturbed and unable to discuss their feelings, more directive methods are usually necessary. In addition, by
using the client’s self-reports as the only measure of psychotherapeutic effectiveness, the client-centered therapist ignores behavior outside the therapy session. Individuals
who feel insecure and ineffective in their interpersonal relationships require more structured help.
Role of a Client centred therapist:
The task of the therapist is to facilitate this process – not to ask probing questions, make interpretations, or suggest courses of action. In fact, Rogers preferred the term facilitator to therapist, and he called the people he worked with clients instead of patients because he didn't view emotional difficulties as indications of an illness to be cured.
Feist, J., Fiest, G., & Roberts, T.-A. (2008). Theories of Personality. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.