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Counsellor: So the feeling of depression is impacting on your everyday life. Encouragers Client: It makes me feel like crying, I don’t know what to do. Counsellor: Uh-huh APPLICATIONS The person-centred approach can be applied to working with individuals, groups and families (Corey, 2005). The person-centred approach has been successful in treating problems including anxiety disorders, alcoholism, psychosomatic problems, agoraphobia, interpersonal difficulties, depression, and personality disorders (Bozrath, Zimring & Tausch, as cited in Corey, 2005). It could also be used in counselling people with unwanted pregnancy, illness or
Page 8 of 9 loss of a loved one. When compared with other therapies such as goal-focused therapies, person-centred therapy has been shown to be as effective as them (Corey, 2005). STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES Table 1 – Strengths and Weaknesses STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES Offers a perspective that is up-to-date and optimistic (Seligman, 2006) The approach may lead therapists to just be supportive of clients without challenging them (Corey, 2005). Many aspects are relevant to a multicultural perspective (Seligman, 2006). Difficulty in therapists allowing clients to find their own way (Corey, 2005). Has provided a basis for many other therapies such as the emphasis on the client-therapist relationship (Seligman, 2006). Could be an ineffective way to facilitate therapy if the therapist is non-directive and passive (Corey, 2005). Research has substantiated the importance of the client-therapist relationship (Seligman, 2006). Simplistic and unrealistically optimistic (Seligman, 2006). Clients have a positive experience in therapy when the focus is on them and their problems Person-centred therapy does not draw on developmental, psychodynamic or behavioural therapy thus limiting the overall understanding of clients (Seligman, 2006). Clients feel they can express themselves more fully when they are being listened to and not judged. Listening and caring may not be enough (Seligman, 2006). Not appropriate for those who are not motivated to change. May not be useful with significant psychopathology (Seligman, 2006). Fails to prepare clients for the real world due to the unconditional positive regard of the therapist (Seligman, 2006). Clients feel empowered from person-centred therapy as the responsibility is on them to make decisions. Lacks techniques to help clients solve problems (Seligman, 2006).
Page 9 of 9 CONCLUSION The person-centred approach has been developed by Carl Rogers who took a humanistic approach to therapy. Humanistic psychology “views people as capable and autonomous, with the ability to resolve their difficulties, realize their potential, and change their lives in positive ways” (Seligman, 2006). Overall, person-centred therapy is a non-directive, optimistic therapy that focuses on the client’s ability to make changes in his or her life and that clients strive for self-actualisation. REFERENCES Corey, C. (2005). Theory and practice of counseling & psychotherapy. (7thed.).Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning. Corsini, R.J., & Wedding, D. (2000). Current Psychotherapies. (6thed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Learning, Inc. George, R.L., & Cristiani, S. (1995). Counseling, theory and practice. Boston: Allyn and Bacon Publishers. Rogers, C. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist's view of psychotherapy. London: Constable. Seligman, L. (2006). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy: Systems, strategies, and skills. (2nded.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Ltd.