The person centred approach

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Essay 1 :The person centred approach

The person centred approach has had a major impact in psychology, particularly the counselling field. This approach began formally by Carl Rogers (Hough, 2006).Although this approach is used by other professionals such as social workers, it is particularly important to counsellors as it can be used as a guideline for counsellors as it introduces conditions which are essential in counselling practice. The approach also establishes what is needed in the relationship between client and counsellors to make progress and it helps counsellors to empathize with client to empower the client to want to change for the better and reach their full potential.

PC Personality Theory

The person centred theory stands out to other personality theories by psychologist such as Freud or Erickson because development is not described in stages or phases. Rogers described personality development using the term ‘self concept’, he took into account how a person perceives themselves (Hough, 2006). Individuals ‘self concept’ is said to be affected by their interactions with other people and the environment. Rogers concentrated on the way in which an individual’s perception of self is developed by other people’s appraisal and expectations. For instance from a young age children aim to satisfy their parents/carers. However the actualising tendency has some similarity to the Freudian concept of libido.  Rogers uses the term ‘actulising tendency’ to describe this human attitude towards development. The actulising tendency is responsible for every part of achievement including the serious effort an individual makes to try and accomplish there goal


PC views of Psychological Development

In contrast to the psychoanalytic view which suggests that human beings are driven by antisocial impulses, Rogers had a more positive outlook on humanity. Rogers believed that each person had the desire to grow, to develop and to reach their full potential (Rogers, 1996). The actualizing tendency does not only just describe one factor of a person’s development but it takes into account all dimensions including, the spiritual, emotional, physical and creative dimensions. The concept of actualising tendency therefore highlights the fact that individuals have the resources to deal with their own problems. This concept is vital in the counselling context because if counsellors accept this they will probably value and respect their clients. Rogers believed that given the right psychotherapeutic atmosphere the mental condition of nearly all patients can be improved.  This is relevant in counselling practice as it points out that a counsellor can help development if they just try to ensure the environment is right.

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Core conditions

Carl Rogers introduced the idea that in order for the client to make any progress in counselling there needs to be certain conditions present (Rogers 1951). Rogers identified 3 main core conditions which included empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence or genuiness. In order for a counsellor to truly help a client through difficult problems in their lives they must be able to understand clients deeply. This is why counsellors need to have the ability to empathize, to step into the ‘clients shoes’, and feel what they are feeling.

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