Carl Rogers placed the client at center stage in humanistic therapy. Accompanying the client is the approach that with highly-developed listening, empathy, and interpersonal skills, this type of client-centered therapy can be just as helpful to clients as any other therapies (Rogers, 1980). And for the first time, feelings matter as they are-symbolic expressions of meaning for the value of self (Whelton, 2007).
Largely created in the 1950s, theorists most conducive to this approach include the groundwork of Abraham Maslow and the true father of humanistic therapy- Rogers. Central to client centered therapy approaches are certain virtues. They include that an emphasis will remain on the individual as capable through self-awareness and consciousness of their experiences, that a therapist will provide unconditional, positive regaard, and that the focus will be on the human potential and not limitations through positivity. The enormously impactful progress this type of approach has with clients far outweighs anything negative opponents offer in the dialogue of best practice approaches.
While Maslow placed motivation and the dynamic body of work surrounding motivation as his offering to the field, Rogers holds up each individual in all their untapped potential as the core of humanistic therapy. Roger's expounded on the idea that clients and everyone at large struggles with the
several versions one holds of the “self”. Rogers largely came into his own during his teaching tenure at several universities. Alongside teaching, his prolific writings act as his own therapy as he came to reflect on what practices and what part of his personality came to reveal the elements of therapy that resonates with this writer.
In therapy approaches, this writer would wish to talk with clients most about their motivations and how many “selves” they have including how far they are from their ideal self. We would work together in multiple arenas trying to motivate and progress towards their best self. This can encompass a lot of areas to work on or could be as simple as helping someone to live their authentic life. Positive messages about themselves, their abilities, and how they seek joy while becoming their authentic self would be my mission with all patients. Tests from positive psychology would be utilized in learning more about their strengths, personality, and happiness level.
Certain limitations to this therapy exists for those that are deeply saddened, angry, or addicted. Client-centered therapy can address these issues but this writer regrets that other therapies may need to take more formal actions first in getting to a better homeostasis before working on the higher pyramid aspects of the hierarchy of human needs implicit to humanistic therapies. An addict must be sober and in a healthy body before higher order needs can be met as their addiction robs them of truly being in their god-provided authentic body and mind.
Those with extremes in moods and personalities must know what they are to overcome and have strategies in place with baser issues before addressing higher order needs. This writer can though, see client-centered practices relevant to all therapies as it's never wrong to work at anytime on being the best self, reconciling mutliple selves, and getting to know oneself best in any capacity. Though this therapy appears to be much more popular in Europe (Butcher et al, 2007), it is making a case for usage again at positive psychology continues to catch on in consciousness to the promise of all the good things that can happen through living a joyful authentic life.
Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S. & Hooley, J. L. (2010). Abnormal Psychology (14th ed.). Boston, MA:
Rogers, C.R. (1980). A way of being. Boston, MA. Houghton Mifflin
Helminiak, D. (2009). Common Humanity and Global Community: Lonerganian Specification of Maslowian Promise. Paper submitted for the 117th APA Annual Convention. American Psychological Association.Washington, DC.
Maslow, A., (1987). Adapted from Personality and Motivation. Pearson Education
Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing
Whelton, W. (2007). The Enduring Legacy of Carl Rogers: Clinical Philosophy and Clinical Science. PsycCRITIQUES, 52(12), doi:10.1037/a0007177.