Formation The formation of person-centered therapy has been identified by four distinct periods in history beginning in the 1940s and continuing thru the 1980s (Corey, 2013). Before Carl Rogers began developing the person-centered approach, psychoanalysis was the most accepted therapeutic technique (Farber, 2007). Psychoanalysis, as Rogers believed, was less concerned with the patient’s growth, but rather with interpretation and diagnosis during the therapeutic process (Farber, 2007; Lee, 2011). The analytical approach placed too much emphasis on the role of the therapist as an expert asking directive questions to produce a specific outcome from the client (Anderson, 2001). Critical of therapies that were “directive,” Rogers sought to develop
PERSON-CENTERED AND CLASSICAL ROGERIAN 4 an environment that did not depend upon the therapist’s advice or interpretations (Lee, 2011). Breaking away from Freudian psychoanalysis, Rogers began forming the humanistic movement which focused on the relationship of the client and counselor to facilitate change (Corey, 2013). According to Quinn (2015) in 1942, Rogers began hypothesizing a therapeutic approach called “nondirective therapy.” The new approach was rooted in humanistic philosophy where the counselor would focus on the client rather than the problem (Elliott & Freire, 2007). Rogers’s departure from traditional psychoanalysis became revolutionary as he moved away from a medical model. The innovative nondirective approach challenged previously accepted ideas and methods such as the theory of the counselor knowing best (Corey, 2013). Nondirective therapy emerged upon Rogers’s hypothesis that the client understood himself and could be his own agent for change with the trust of the counselor (Quinn, 2015). After years of research Rogers wrote Client-Centered Therapy and changed the name of his approach to “client-centered” in order to stress the importance of the client rather than the methods (Corey, 2013). Rogers was growing frustrated with the misinterpretations of “nondirectivity” and decided further research was needed to clarify the theory (Quinn, 2015). In 1957, Rogers published an article on the goals of nondirective counseling such as personality change. Within the article Rogers outlined the core conditions of client- centered/ nondirective therapy, which he defined as (1) congruence, (2) empathetic understanding, and (3) unconditional positive regard (Farber, 2007). Rogers’s paper featured his hypothesis on the conditions for therapeutic change. In any therapeutic situation which empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence were applied Rogers argued personality change would occur (Elliott & Freire, 2007). Client- centered was then applied to education and called student- centered teaching (Corey, 2013).
PERSON-CENTERED AND CLASSICAL ROGERIAN 5 For more than twenty years Rogers’s theory was supported by research. Yet evidence based research ended in the 1970s due to claims of PCA not being effective as a therapeutic treatment (Quinn, 2015). Challengers to Rogers’s hypothesis began research studies indicating that the core conditions were not necessary or sufficient alone to bring about client change.
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