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Client-Centered Therapy

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Client-Centered Therapy (CCT) was developed by the humanist psychologist Carl Rogers in the 1940s and 1950s. It is used to help a person achieve personal growth and or come to terms with a specific event or problem they are having. CCT is based on the principal of talking therapy and is a non-directive approach. The therapist encourages the patient to express their feelings and does not suggest how the person might wish to change, but by listening and then mirroring back what the patient reveals to them, helps them to explore and understand their feelings for themselves. The patient is then able to decide what kind of changes they would like to make and can achieve personal growth. Although this technique has been criticized by some for its lack of structure and set method it has proved to be a hugely effective and popular treatment. CCT is predominately used by psychologists and counsellors in psychotherapy.

History & Influences

Client-Centered Therapy or Person-Centered Therapy, now considered a founding work in the humanistic school of psychotherapies, began formally with Carl Ransom Rogers broadly considered the most influential US psychotherapist in the short history of this field. “Rogerian” psychotherapy is often identified as one of the major school groups, along with Psychoanalytic (most famously Sigmund Freud), Depth Therapy which bridges from Psychoanalytic through archetypal, mythographical, dream, and unconscious material to existentialists like Rollo May, and the increasingly popular Cognitive-Behavioral school. Others acknowledge Rogers' broad influence on approach, while naming a humanistic or humanistic-existentialist school group; there is large debate over what constitute major schools and cross-influences with more tangential candidates such as feminist, Gestalt, British school, self psychology, interpersonal, family systems, integrative, systemic and communicative, with several historical influences seeding them such as object-relations.

Rogers affirmed individual personal experience as the basis and standard for living and therapeutic effect. Three attitudinal requirements in an effective therapist, in his view, include empathy with the patient's emotions and perspective, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard for the patient. Both active and passive aspects of empathy in the therapist have been identified. This emphasis contrasts with the dispassionate position which may be intended in other therapies. Living in the present rather than the past or future, with organismic trust, naturalistic faith in your own thoughts and the accuracy in your feelings, and a responsible acknowledgement of your freedom, with a view toward participating fully in our world, contributing to other people's lives, are hallmarks of Roger's Client-Centered Therapy.

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