Carl Rogers discovers conditions that work for counselling
Carl Rogers had a different approach to how we could gain Self Knowledge to both Freud and Jung
and others who had gone before. He made the discovery that the "client"
themself was the person who knew the answers to their own problems.
When he began working, he believed, as was the norm at the time, that
he as the therapist, would be the person who was able to work out the
problems of his clients for them. He would be in charge. He was working
with one particular woman and found that he just was incapable of
helping her. He decided that the best thing to do was just be honest
and tell her.
To his surprise this resulted in the woman bursting into
tears and pouring out all her troubles to him. He realized then that if
he was able to provide certain conditions to the client in a non
judgmental way, creating a relationship that was based on warmth,
(positive regard), genuineness and empathy that those conditions by
themselves were sufficient to allow the client to get in touch with
their own inner resources. He called these 'core conditions'.
marked a departure from the traditional patient/doctor relationship in
therapy where the Doctor knew best and the patient was under his
command. He called the people he worked with clients rather than
patients. He did not assume to have an answer to the client's query. He
expected that to come from the client.
His counselling was originally
called Client Centered Counselling and later became known more as
Person Centered counselling. His work extended to many areas of life
such as education and has been taken up very widely in many areas
offering support. However, if you are looking for a Rogerian
Counsellor, then it would be wise to make absolutely sure that the
person is a Rogerian Counsellor as virtually every form of counselling
has to some extent jumped on this bandwagon and some of them are very
far from the stance made by Rogers. I have even heard that some
psychiatrist was offering his patients "person centered" Electric Shock
Carl Rogers Belief in our Self Actualising Tendency -
To Carl Rogers it was very important to have the relationship
between client and counsellor as equal
as possible. He believed that it was in our nature, and indeed all of
life's nature to grow to fulfill it's potential. He saw life natural course
as being self-actualizing. By this he meant that it was within the
nature of each and every organism to be motivated to be the best it
He did not believe in Original Sin, believing instead
that we were born
with this self actualizing tendency which in our childhood got
blocked from us as we developed a "false self" in order to survive.
Here as with Freud and Jung, Carl Rogers believed we do not grow up to
be who we are. He believed we needed unconditional positive regard and
acceptance in order to develop into our "true Selves". If that happened
then all would be well and we would grow up into the person we were
born to be.
It doesn't need much imagination to see that this would be
virtually impossible in the world as it is now. Even the very best
parents would have days when they were irritable, never mind dealing
with the rules of school and whatever the social expectations are at
Our need for love and acceptance is however strong. When we
realize that we are not accepted as who we are, we may be puzzled and
hurt at first but then we try to change. We want to fit in and be
As a child we absolutely need to fit in and be accepted for
survival. We will do this even if it requires us shutting off from what
is genuine in us - we will, if necessary repress our inner feeling self
and inner resources.
However our inner self does not disappear. It is
still there even though we may repress it so much that we forget it and
believe that we really are the person we are acting as. The result is
that we develop areas of incongruity. Without knowing it we are not
being honest. This can cause us all kinds of problems from anxiety or
depression to nightmares, to finding ourselves being hurtful to people
we wish to love. Rogerian counselling works to reconnect people with
their inner feeling self and their inner resources. It works to help
people to again become genuine. This results in a greatly increased
feeling of aliveness, creativity, intuition and so on.
<<previous  2 next >>
all rights reserved