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Client Centered Therapy


Client Centered Therapy

Client Centered Therapy is an insight therapy that emphasis providing supportive emotional climate for clients, who play a major role in determining the pace and direction of therapy. Coral Rogers also called it person centered therapy.

Rogers maintained that most personal distress is due to inconsistency or “incongruence” between a person’s self-concept and reality.

Self-concept and Incongruence:

According to care Rogers,

“A self-concept is a collection of beliefs about one’s own nature, unique qualities and typical behaviour”.

It’s a collection of self-perceptions. For example, a self-concept might include beliefs such as “ I am easygoing” or “I’m sly and crafty” or “I’m pretty” or “I’m hardworking”. According to Rogers; individuals are aware of their self-concept. It’s not buried in their conscious.

Rogers stressed the subjective nature of the self-concept; your self-concept might not be consistent with your experiences. Most people distort their experiences to some extent to promote a relatively favourable self-concept. For example, you may believe that you are quite bright, but your grade transcript might suggest otherwise. Rogers called the gap between self-concept and reality incongruence.

“Incongruence is the degree of disparity between one’s self concept and one’s actual experience.”

Rogers maintained that too much incongruence undermines one’s psychological well-being.

Anxiety and Defense:

According to Rogers, experiences that threaten people’s personal views of themselves are the principal cause of troublesome anxiety. Thus, people with highly incongruent self-concepts are essentially likely to be plagued by recurrent anxiety.

To ward off this anxiety, individuals often behave defensively in an effort to reinterpret their experiences so that it appears consistent with their self-concept. Thus, they ignore, deny and twist reality to protect and perpetuate their self-concept. Consider a young woman who, like most people, considers herself a “nice person”. Let suppose that in reality she is rather conceited and selfish and her friends remind her that she is self-conceited brat. To protect her self-concept, she might block out or ignore those occasions when she behave selfishly. She might attribute her girlfriends’ negative comments to their jealousy of her good looks. Perhaps she would blame her boyfriends’ negative remark on their disappointments because she won’t get more serious with them. People may sometimes go to great lengths to defend their self-concept. (Psychology applied to modern life by Wayne Weiten,Margaret A. Lloyd)

Role of Client Centered therapist:

Client centered therapists help clients to realize that they do not have to constantly worry about pleasing others and winning acceptance. They encourage clients to respect their feelings and values. They help people restructure their self-concept to correspond better to reality.

Therapeutic Climate:

According to Rogers, the process of therapy is not as important as the emotional climate in which the therapy takes place. He believes that is critical for the therapist to provide warm, supportive, acceptive climate. This creates a safe environment in which the climate can confront their shortcomings without feeling threatened. To create this atmosphere of emotional support, client centered therapist must provide three conditions.

  1. Genuineness:

The therapist must be genuine with the client communicating honestly and spontaneously. The therapist should not be phony or defensive.

  1. Unconditional positive Regard:

The therapist must also show complete, nonjudgmental acceptance of the client as a person. The therapist should provide warmth and caring to the client with no strings attached. This does not mean that therapist approve of everything that the client say or does. The therapist can disapprove of a particular behavior while continuing to value the client as human being.

  1. Empathy:

The therapist must provide accrue empathy for the client. This means that therapist must understand the client’s world from client’s point of view. Furthermore, the therapist must be articulate enough to communicate this understanding to the client.

Therapeutic Process:

In CCT, the client and therapist work together as equals. The therapist provides little guidance and keeps interpretation and advice to the minimum. The therapist key task is clarification. The therapists try to function like a human mirror, reflecting statements back to their clients, but with enhanced clarity. They help client become more aware of their true feelings by highlighting themes that may be obscure in the client’s rambling discourse.

In particular, they try to help clients better understand their interpersonal relationships and become more comfortable with their genuine selves. Obviously, these are ambitious goals. Like psychoanalyst, CCT seek to achieve a major reconstruction of a client’s personality.

Development of Self:

Unconditional love from parents foster congruence and that conditional loves foster incongruence. If individual believes that affection from others in highly conditional, then he will distort more and more of their experiences in order to feel worthy of acceptance from a wider and wider array of people.


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