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Person-centred approach differs to cognitive bahavioural approaches Essay Example

Person-centred approach differs to cognitive bahavioural approaches Essay

In order to be able to say what the differences are between PCT, CBT and Psychodynamic approaches to counselling I have first of all set out below a brief summary of all three; Person centred therapy concentrates mainly on the subjective experience of the client and on how they might lose touch with their own organismic experiencing through taking on board the evaluations of others and treating them as if their own – Person-centred approach differs to cognitive bahavioural approaches Essay introduction. Therapy puts importance on a relationship built on empathy; respect and non-possessive warmth. Cognitive therapy works on the assumption that clients become distressed because of faulty processors of information leading them to jump to unwarranted conclusions. Therapy involves educating clients to test the reality of their thinking and by making use of a style of questioning which helps the client to become more aware of how he thinks. Real life experiments might also be used. Psychodynamic approaches pays attention to unconscious factors which have caused neurosis. The treatment consists of working through transference where the client regards the therapist as an important figure from their past. Also the interpretation of dreams may be used. (Nelson-Jones, 2011).

It appears that some of the ways that the PCT approach differs from CBT and psychodynamic approaches is that PCT relies on the relationship that is built between therapist and client and also makes a point of not directing the client. This is what makes PCT so unique from other approaches. PCT was developed by Carl Rogers, an American psychotherapist, researcher and academic. Rogers and his colleagues developed the person centred techniques from about 1940 onwards. At the time it was considered to be a very radical way of working with people because it sharply moved away from Freudian and cognitive-behavioural approaches that were so dominant at the time. PCT moved away from the need and belief of a diagnostic assessment and labelling, instead it concentrated on building a relationship between client and therapist. (Sanders, 2012).

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Roger’s developments of the conditions which are non-directive are

1. That two persons are in psychological contract;

2. The client is in a state of incongruence;

3. The therapist is congruent;

4. The therapist experiences unconditional regard towards the client;

5. The therapist is experiencing an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference (and endeavours to show it to the client);

6. That the client perceives conditions 4 and 5, the unconditional positive regard of the therapist for him/her, as well as the empathic understanding of the therapist. The above conditions are thought to be all that is needed to achieve a constructive personality change. This highlights that the fact that one of the key differences between PCT and cognitive/psychodynamic approaches is that it is the relationship between therapist and client which is the agent for change. Because PCT declared no other conditions were necessary to bring about change it created a direct challenge to the other approaches that were based on the theoretical knowledge or expertise of the therapist, including a diagnosis of symptoms followed by the application of specific techniques. In fact Rogers believed that each individual had the capacity to heal himself if the correct conditions are in place, i.e. the client merely needs to be at the centre of a self-directed process facilitated by another, (the therapist) and ‘experts’ were not needed. (Sanders, 2012). Roger’s was of the belief that the 6 conditions could be demonstrated by anyone who acquired experiential training, as opposed to special intellectual professional knowledge, whether it be psychological, psychiatric or medical. A fundamental difference therefore, is that PCT works on the assumption that the client has the capacity for self-determination and the counsellor guides the client into doing something about her/himself. The counsellor might help the client to move towards self-growth and development by recognizing obstacles. Special techniques are not used to enable the client; it is merely the practising successfully the core conditions of congruence, empathy and unconditional regard; i.e. truly being able to place yourself into client’s shoes so to speak; not judging and being able to be real in the relationship. The main concept always being that the client has a natural urge towards growth and is also the expert on how to achieve it. This above approach is in direct opposition to the psychodynamic approach which assumes it is the counsellor that is the expert in knowing how to alleviate distress in the client because he/she has the knowledge of how the

unconscious mind works. There is the belief that problems are caused as a result of links between past experience and the present state of mind. (Bond, 2000). Cognitive Therapy differs again, not only in a reliance on expert knowledge, but also in the fact that there are no reservations about advice giving, and will also employ methods that include undertaking special exercise or activities regarded as homework between sessions. Albert Ellis, whose work was developed by cognitive therapists, was very critical of counsellors who avoid challenging inappropriate or self-destructive beliefs and he argued that the timidity of the counsellor is colluding with the clients own destructive urges. (Dryden, 1997). Cognitive therapy was further developed in the early 1960’s by Dr Aaron Beck who was of the opinion that during client’s cognitive development they learn incorrect habits of processing and interpreting information. The therapist helps the client to become aware of distortions and then to learn different and more realistic ways of processing and reality-testing information. This is achieved by observing the client; interpreting his observations and then using methods of interventions. The client is basically taught how to think about their thinking and in so doing correcting dysfunctions. Therapy is usually time-based and goals are enforced with a definition of problems. Generally therapy ends when goals are achieved. (Nelson-Jones, 2011).

Finally, in considering the differences of the approaches discussed, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that Roger’s believed that individuals have within themselves their own capacity to develop their potential as a human being, but sometimes they may need the help of a person-centred approach to help them to tap into the resources they already have in order to create full realisation. Rogers did believe, like other theorists, that early childhood influences the kind of person we might become. The difference is that unlike many approaches to personality, PCT believes that significant changes to personality are possible later in life but sometimes need to be helped to tap into their own innate resources, this is in opposition to a belief that expertise might be needed or that the client needs to be taught.