Issues and Ethics Assessment

Pages: 4 (1439 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Psychology

Person-centered therapy brings a highly non-directive approach to the therapeutic relationship. In an outcomes-based approach, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, the therapist sets goals with the patient for the various sessions, often gives the patient behavioral 'homework' to do between the sessions, and sets a defined goal for the therapeutic process itself. The person-centered or Rogerian therapist instead offers unconditional positive regard for the patient. According to Kirschenbaum and Jourdan (2005) "therapists or counselors who are accurately empathic, nonpossessively warm in attitude, and genuine, are indeed effective" according to a number of empirical studies with a variety of patients. Yet the person-centered approach has fallen out of favor in recent decades.

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There are a number of reasons, despite the undeniable influence of Rogers, that person-centered approaches have been criticized. Person-centered approaches tend to be longer in duration than more directive forms of therapy. There is often insufficient regard given to the impact that biology can have upon shaping the client's psyche. "Newer research has gradually come to recognize or acknowledge, first, that the success of psychotherapy is only partly determined by the psychotherapy itself, that is, by the therapist's approach, skill, attitudes, and relationship with the client" (Kirschenbaum and Jourdan 2005). And the harshest criticisms of person-centered approaches would hold that Rogerian therapy has fueled the negative aspects of the self-esteem movement, bolstering self-regard and setting unrealistic expectations without encouraging the individual to take proactive actions to change his or her life.

Assessment on Issues and Ethics Assignment

Rogerian therapy can be useful for its self-empowering aspects. It does encourage the individual to become "more aware of aspects of themselves that they have been denying…to free clients of the sense that they are under the influence of forces beyond their control" and encourages the client to feel a sense of control over an apparently uncontrollable world (Client-centered therapy under the microscope, 2005, Medical News Today). But in the wrong hands, its lack of direction can become unfocused and allow self-defeating behaviors to fester.

References

Kirschenbaum, Howard, & April. Jourdan. (2005). The current status of Carl Rogers and the person-centered approach. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training,

42(1): 37-51

Client-centered therapy under the microscope. (2005). Medical News Today.

Retrieved October 28, 2010 at http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/35545.php

According to the person-centered approach, low self-esteem is the crux of all negative human behaviors. Carl Rogers believed that it was the therapist's job not to judge, but to provide unconditional self-acceptance for the client within the context of the therapeutic relationship. Low self-esteem, according to Rogers, is caused because of the fact that most individuals feel that they are only conditionally regarded and loved as worthy human beings. For example, a father may feel that he is only loved by his family if he can materially provide for his wife and children, thus if he loses his job he does not feel like a good person. By giving unconditional regard to the client, and helping him understand how negative thought patterns arise, the therapist helps the client realize that he or she is an unconditionally worthy person. No extra contingencies should be placed upon the client's self-worth by others (Kirschenbaum and Jourdan 2005). Being a worthy person is not based upon fulfilling expectations set by others, according Rogerian therapists.

Overcoming low self-esteem requires the client to talk through negative feelings and unfounded assumptions and for the therapist to challenge them (Client-centered therapy under the microscope, 2005, Medical News Today). Rather than probing questioning and confrontation, as is the case in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), the Rogerian therapist encourages the client to engage in intense self-examination, and merely prompts the client to do so, rather than forces the client to do so before he or she is ready. Rogerian therapy is intended to be self-empowering because the client directs the process, rather than the therapist. How can a client regain his or her sense of self-esteem and sense of his or her ability to positively affect the world, a Rogerian therapist might ask, if it is the therapist who is in control of the direction of the therapy, rather than the client? The Rogerian therapist is a guide rather than an architect of the session.

References

Kirschenbaum, Howard, & April. Jourdan. (2005). The current status of Carl Rogers and the person-centered approach. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training,

42(1): 37-51

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