Wednesday, March 21, 2012


NAME OF THEORY:  Person Centered (Client Centered) Theory

BASIC PREMISES AND PHILOSOPHY:  Create a warm, caring, and nurturing environment for clients to facilitate trust and openness to structure a climate for clients to learn. Core conditions for change to take place are:  contact, genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Focus should remain on the human experience, not on the problem (person centered vs. problem centered). 

FOUNDERS OR IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTORS:  Leslie Greenberg and colleagues, Robert Carkhuff and colleagues, Carl and Natalie Rogers, Theodore Reik, Otto Rank

COUNSELING GOALS:  To make clients feel valued, understood and empowered. Offer a sense of hope and potential for clients to move past their dilemmas.

ROLE OF COUNSELOR:  Provide warmth and human contact. Be fully and completely attentive. Have and demonstrate openness and unconditional POSITIVE regard for clients. Provide support, trust, and caring through authenticity, warmth, and genuineness. Immediacy—pointing out ways behavior is unfolding in the moment. Demonstrate empathy and congruence. Focus on affect and feelings. Use active/reflective listening.

ROLE OF CLIENT:  Be willing to discuss feelings and develop trust and good repoire with counselor. Be prepared to discuss abstract concepts and explore ambiguity. Be self-directed and motivated.

USEFUL WITH WHAT POPULATIONS AND TYPES OF PROBLEMS:  Best with clients who are willing to take time for therapy and are not as interested in quick fixes or especially goal focused. Also effective for clients who are willing to be self-directed and motivated. Good for a large variety of populations and agencies or environments. Generally serves as an effective basis for communicating with others and problem solving by establishing positive relationships.

EXAMPLES OF TECHNIQUES:  Reflective listening; building relationship with trust and authenticity; immediacy intervention (pointing out issues as they arise and are unfolding); focus on affect and feelings. Provide full and complete presence as therapist to the client. Show full acceptance of clients, not necessarily their behaviors; verbally and non-verbally communicate respect and caring.

TERMS:  reflective listening, immediacy, authenticity, empathy, acceptance, unconditional positive regard, person-centered vs. problem centered

Thursday, March 8, 2012


Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you've got it made.
~ George Burns


BASIC PREMISES AND PHILOSOPHY:  Philosophy is concerned with the meaning of life.  Nothing would exist if people were not here to see it, i.e. the self cannot exist without a world and the world cannot exist without a person to perceive it.  Ethical, spiritual and moral matters are considered as essential aspects of being human, rather than as by-products of biological forces.

FOUNDERS OR IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTORS:  Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Carl Rogers, Victor Frankl, Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm

COUNSELING GOALS:  Clients view the world as valid through their own perspective, in relation to others and the world, and embrace free will, recognizing their natural desire to improve and rise above difficulties. 

ROLE OF COUNSELOR:  Approach clients with empathy, understanding and unconditional positive regard encouraging self-disclosure and trust.  Encourages self-knowledge through experience, addressing ethics, morals, and value of clients.  Encourages realization of goals through reflections of others and promotes devotion and service to combat loneliness and anxiety.

ROLE OF CLIENT:  Learn to relate and trust therapist, opening up their minds to the notion of free will, the essential goodness of humans, and the necessity of struggle for self-development.  Ability to deal with ambiguity and discuss abstract concepts at length.  Willingness to be self directed.  Learn to trust and value self.

USEFUL WITH WHAT POPULATIONS AND TYPES OF PROBLEMS?  Best used with clients who are verbally proficient, educated and literate.  Clients must have desire and ability to discuss philosophical ideas and rise above black and white thinking.  Limited use with some adolescents and younger population.  It helps if clients are able to deal with ambiguity and are not just focused on goals and techniques to get there.  Especially effective with creative personalities.  Clients with acute trauma or little interest in insight are not good candidates.

EXAMPLES OF TECHNIQUES:  Rogerian Therapy, Logotherapy, Client Centered Techniques, Phenomenological/Non-deterministic approaches, Observation, Art/Dance/LiteratureTherapy, Self-Exploration.  

Mahrer’s approach:

1) Being in the moment; 
2) Integrating the felt experience into primary relationships; 
3) Making connections to the past; 
4) Integrating what was learned.

TERMS:  non-determinism, phenomenological, free-will, humanism, angst and dread, human potential movement, hierarchy of needs, deficiency of needs, dialectical tension, dialectical humanism, I-thou vs. I-it, peak experiences, organismic