Similar to Freud, Carl Rogers developed his theory from his extensive work with his patients. However, unlike Freud, he believed that people are typically healthy; being mentally healthy is the normal state. Although there are unhealthy people, they are not the norm or what one has to accept and live with throughout one’s life. Furthermore, Rogers believed that each person has one primary motivation—to realize his/her full potential or to be self-actualized. Finally, he posited that neurosis stems from incongruence between one’s real self and one’s ideal self. He applied this to his theory of counseling in the development of three therapeutic criteria that he felt were both necessary and sufficient to help the patient. These three qualities are now the foundation for modern person-centered therapy.
The three qualities that form the foundation of Rogerian therapy are empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard. These will be relatively easy to express for people you naturally like but can be difficult to express for people whom you do not like nor agree with.
Imagine that you are a psychologist working with a population of individuals that tend to be more difficult to work with, such as sex offenders, elderly patients with dementia, or mentally challenged children. Use the Internet, Argosy University library resources, and your textbook to research the concepts of Rogerian therapy and respond to the following questions:
Realistically, do you think it is possible to be congruent and to extend empathy and unconditional positive regard to these clients in a psychotherapeutic context? Why or why not?
How do you think clinicians practicing Rogerian therapy would approach these concepts for these clients?
How might Rogerian therapy be a helpful strategy for these clients?
Is it possible these concepts of Rogerian therapy could hinder treatment?