Publication Year: 2003
Subject: Person Centered Counseling
`Brian Thorne has arguably become the UK's leading authority on Carl Rogers and his work, gaining this reputation by producing books which ooze many of the qualaties that Rogers himslef espoused - frankness, clarity, sensivity, insightfullness, thoroughness, humility and genorosity of spirit. This book will not disappoint the reader on any of these fronts. I would defy any person-centred practitioner to read it without, at various times, learning something new, being moved, inspired, challenged and entertained' - Ipnosis As founder of the person-centred approach, Carl Rogers (1902-1987) is arguably the most influential psychologist and psychotherapist of the 20th century. Providing unique insights into his life and a clear explanation of his major theoretical ideas, this book offers an accessible introduction for all practitioners and students ...
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
Key Figures in Counselling and Psychotherapy Series Editor: Windy Dryden[Page ii]
The books in this series provide concise introductions to the life, work and influence of leading innovators whose theoretical and practical contributions have shaped the development of contemporary counselling and psychotherapy. The series includes the following titles:
Sigmund Freud, second edition
by Michael Jacobs
Carl Rogers, second edition
by Brian Thorne
by Ian Stewart
by Julia Segal
by Petruska Clarkson and Jennifer Mackewn
Aaron T. Beck
by Marjorie Weishaar
by Joseph Yankura and Windy Dryden
by Michael Jacobs
by Fay Fransella
by Roger Poppen
by A. Paul Hare and June Rabson Hare
Milton H. Erickson
by Jeffrey K. Zeig and W. Michael Munion
Carl Gustav Jung
© Brian Thorne 2003
First edition published 1992. Reprinted 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001. This edition published 2003.
Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, this publication may be reproduced, stored or transmitted in any form, or by any means, only with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction, in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.
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‘I can trust my experience’
For Natalie in love and gratitude for her commitment to honouring and extending the work of her father
For Christine whose non-possessive love continues to sustain and irradiate my life[Page vi]
Preface to Second Edition[Page viii]
It may seem a somewhat strange enterprise to revise a book about a man who had died more than five years before the appearance of the first edition. Clearly Carl Rogers himself cannot have generated fresh theories or initiated new practices in the intervening period and it may well be asked what of further interest there is to say. For me, however, a second edition is timely for a number of reasons and, at the very least, it serves as an additional tribute to an outstanding human being in the centenary year of his birth. It is also perhaps relevant that the enduring power of Rogers' work is clearly indicated by the numerous conferences, seminars and celebrations (in many parts of the world) that took place throughout 2002 in acknowledgement of his continuing influence not only on psychotherapy and counselling but on many allied fields of human endeavour.
The most pressing case for the appropriateness of a second edition is provided, however, by the current state of the world and by the formidable challenge which it offers to Rogers' hopeful view of the evolution of humanity. As dark clouds loom over the Middle East and as the current American administration in the aftermath of 11 September 2001 rattles more than sabres in its determination to oust Saddam Hussein, it seems that we do well to hear again the voice of a man who passionately believed in the capacity of humankind to transcend itself and who dedicated much of the final period of his life to the pursuit of world peace. In the narrower world of psychotherapy and counselling, too, Rogers' convictions are badly needed. He was always profoundly distrustful of ‘experts’ and reserved some of his sharpest criticisms for those ‘helping professionals’ who believed that they knew better than their clients and had the arrogance to diagnose, analyse and prescribe without taking the trouble to enter the client's inner world. Rogers would have been amused at the generous references to empathy nowadays by practitioners from many different traditions but he is unlikely to have been fooled into believing that the word carries the same resonance or even the same meaning as it does for the person-centred practitioner. We know, too, that he would have been alarmed by the increasing emphasis on accreditation, registration and the exclusive [Page ix]professionalism of the therapist. His would have been a voice raised in caution against the tightening straitjacket of government controls and the insidious power of the medical insurance companies. In a world, too, where in the face of militant Islamic fundamentalism, the Christian churches seem to have little to offer, Rogers stands out as a therapist and scholar who was convinced that the future challenge lay in the embracing of the spiritual and the transcendent not only as an essential part of many therapeutic processes but as the path of reconciliation between warring faiths and cultures. In brief, this second edition is inspired by the conviction that, in the centenary year of his birth, Rogers is even more a man for our times whose prophetic insights we ignore at our peril.
Preface to First Edition[Page x]
Carl Rogers enabled countless people throughout the world to be themselves with confidence. His impact has been enormous through his voluminous writings, through the school of counselling and psychotherapy which he founded and through the indirect influence of his work on many areas of professional activity where the quality of human relationships is central. And yet he was always suspicious of those who sought power and he eschewed every attempt to make him into a guru figure. He believed deeply in the capacity of every individual to find his or her own way forward and, as a result, he not infrequently adopted a self-effacing attitude which for the less discerning concealed his greatness. The best facilitator, he maintained, was the one who enabled others to feel that they had done it themselves, whatever ‘it’ might be.
This small book attempts to convey the essence of Rogers' theoretical ideas about the nature of human beings and about what happens in effective therapeutic relationships. It also gives an insight into Rogers' actual way of working with people in therapy and draws out the practical implications of what is, in effect, a functional philosophy of human growth and relationships. Rogers, gentle and courteous as he usually was, made enemies because his ideas and way of being tend to threaten those whose self-esteem is dependent on their professional expertise or their capacity to impose a particular perception of reality on others. Both among fellow psychologists and those from other disciplines he was sometimes seen as naive, utopian and perversely misguided in his optimistic view of human potential. Some of his critics undoubtedly raise serious questions about the validity of his approach and in Chapter 4 I attempt to explore the more telling of these objections and to refute them where possible. Rogers himself, however, never claimed that he had established the absolute truth about anything; indeed he was committed to a ceaseless process of learning and held to the temporariness of all knowledge. For him the mark of the mature person was a fearless openness to both inner and outer experience, however disturbing this might prove to previously held convictions.
[Page xi]I was privileged to know Rogers during the last ten years of his life and to work with him on a number of occasions in different parts of the world. The biographical chapter with which the book opens owes little, however, to my direct involvement with him. Most of the content is distilled from Rogers' own writings, from Howard Kirschenbaum's outstanding biography, On Becoming Carl Rogers (1979) and from the summary of Rogers' life provided by David Cain, editor of the Person-Centered Review, in Vol. 2 No. 4 (1987b) of the journal which served the person-centred community well in the immediate years after Rogers' death in February 1987. I trust these two men will forgive my plundering of their dedicated research into Rogers' life and work.
In one respect this book may perhaps claim some originality. Unlike many of my colleagues in the field of person-centred or client-centred therapy, I see in Rogers and his work the re-emergence of a spiritual tradition which has its origins in the early writers of the Old Testament and continues through Jesus, the earliest Christian theologians and many of the great medieval writers, not least Dame Julian of Norwich, much loved and honoured in the city where I live and work. This tradition is acutely conscious of the divine indwelling within the created universe and in each human being. It bears witness to the unconditionality of the love which is poured out by God on his creation and to the capacity of human beings to internalize that love and then to give it expression in their relating. Rogers died an agnostic but in his later years his openness to experience compelled him to acknowledge the existence of a dimension to which he attached such adjectives as mystical, spiritual and transcendental. In many ways he often provides the channel into spiritual experience for secular men and women who have long since rejected the idea of God and the trappings of institutional religion and he does so by enabling them to discover the infinite worth and uniqueness of their own being. Yet with this recognition of personal value there comes an accompanying sense of interconnectedness with other human beings and with the whole of the created order. In short, Rogers does not provide, as some have suggested, the mirror for Narcissus but the assurance and acceptance of individual uniqueness and the invitation to communion. Given a different theology in his childhood and adolescence, it is not over-fanciful to suppose that Rogers might himself have become a much-loved pastor and theologian whose life could have transformed the face of the Church. An underlying theme in this book, however, is that God moves in a mysterious way and that client-centred therapy and the person-centred approach [Page xii]will continue to contribute to the psychological and spiritual well-being of humanity to a degree which would have been impossible if Rogers had not turned his back on Christianity and the Church in order to find a greater freedom.
Many people have encouraged me in the writing of the book but I am particularly indebted to my colleagues at the University of East Anglia, the Norwich Centre and Person-Centred Therapy (Britain) for their support and the stimulation they have offered, often in the midst of frenetic lives characterized by an ever-escalating clientele. I am grateful to the University for granting me a brief period of study leave in the summer of 1991 and to my Norwich Centre partners for convincing me that I should not feel guilty about writing books instead of seeing yet more clients in order to ensure the Centre's financial security. To Maria Bowen, Rogers' close friend and colleague at the Center for Studies of the Person in La Jolla, my debt is inestimable for she not only encouraged me in the project but also provided me with invaluable material from her own long experience of sharing in Rogers' work and aspirations. I only hope the result will serve to make Rogers' immense contribution more accessible to those to whom he is little more than a name in psychology textbooks. I hope, too, that in a small way it will help to ensure the continuing health and development of person-centred therapy in a world which all too often seems to sacrifice persons on the altars of efficiency, expediency or the latest version of the market economy.
I wish to acknowledge the exemplary support afforded to me, as always, by Alison Poyner and her colleagues at Sage. Such encouragement is vital to those who continue to endure the increasing freneticism of life in Britain's hard-pressed universities. My thanks, too, to the secretarial staff of the Norwich Centre and especially to Megan Craven who has borne the brunt of the word-processing labours.
I am particularly grateful to Yvonne Bates, editor of Ipnosis, and to the contributors to the summer issue 2002 of this splendid new journal which contained a ‘celebration’ of the life and work of Carl Rogers. Their reflections have made a significant contribution to the final chapter of this present volume.[Page xiv]
A Select Bibliography of the Works of Carl Rogers[Page 121]
In the list that follows, those works which are marked with an asterisk are regarded as key texts.BookCounseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice (1942). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.*Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications and Theory (1951). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Other editions include: London: Constable, 1965.)With R.F.Dymond (eds), Psychotherapy and Personality Change (1954). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.*On Becoming a Person (1961). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (Other editions include: London: Constable, 1974.)Freedom to Learn: a View of What Education Might Become (1969). Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.*Carl Rogers on Personal Power: Inner Strength and its Revolutionary Impact (1977). New York: Delacorte Press. (Other editions include: London: Constable, 1978.)*A Way of Being (1980). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.With Freedom to Learn (1994). Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill.,Two edited ‘anthologies’ exist which provide an excellent overview of Rogers' work as well as including previously unavailable material:Kirschenbaum, H. and Henderson, V.L. (eds) (1990) The Carl Rogers Reader. London: Constable.Kirschenbaum, H. and Henderson, V.L. (eds) (1990) Carl Rogers: Dialogues. London: Constable.To celebrate the centenary of Rogers' birth, an invaluable ‘oral history’ has been published which contains the transcripts of numerous extended interviews which Rogers gave during the last year of his life:2002) Carl Rogers: The Quiet Revolutionary. Roseville, CA: Penmarin Books.and (Articles‘A note on the “nature of man”’ (1957) Journal of Counseling Psychology, 4(3): 199–203. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0048308[Page 122]*‘The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change’ (1957) Journal of Counseling Psychology, 21(2): 95–103.‘The characteristics of a helping relationship’ (1958) Personnel and Guidance Journal, 37: 6–16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/j.2164-4918.1958.tb01147.x*‘A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client-centered framework’ (1959) in S.Koch (ed.), Psychology: a Study of Science, Vol. III. Formulations of the Person and the Social Context. New York: McGraw-Hill.‘Toward a modern approach to values: the valuing process in the mature person’ (1964) Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 68(2): 160–7. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0046419‘The formative tendency’ (1978) Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 18(1): 23–6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/002216787801800103*‘Do we need “a” reality?’ (1978) Dawnpoint, 1(2): 6–9.‘Toward a more human science of the person’ (1985) Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 25(4): 7–24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022167885254002*‘A client-centered/person-centered approach to therapy’ (1986) in I.Kutash and A.Wolf (eds), Psychotherapist's Casebook. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. 197–208.*With ‘Client-centered psychotherapy’ (1989) in H.I.Kaplan and B.J.Sadock (eds), Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 5. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. pp. 1482–501.,Collections and WebsitesThe Department of Special Collections at the Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, contains selected papers, photographs and audio and video tapes of Carl Rogers. To access any of these materials, visit the Carl Rogers Archives website at: http://www.oac.cdlib.org/cgi-bin/oac/ucsb/rogers.The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, holds all of Rogers' earlier material. To access the library catalogue, go to: http://catalog.loc.gov/.
Important Events in the Life of Carl Rogers[Page 123]Formative Years
1902 January 8: Carl is born in Oak Park, Illinois 1919 Enters agriculture studies at University of Wisconsin, Madison 1922 Travels to the Far East, Japan, Korea, China 1922 October 22: Becomes engaged to Helen Elliott 1924 June 23: Receives BA in History from University of Wisconsin 1924 August 28: Marries Helen Elliott 1924 Enrols in liberal Union Theological Seminary, New York City 1926 Leaves Union for Columbia University Teachers College 1926 March 17: David Elliott Rogers born 1927 June 1: Receives MA from Columbia University Teachers CollegeEmerging Theory 1928 Joins Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (RSPCC) as child psychologist 1928 October 9: Natalie Rogers born 1929 Appointed director of the Child Study Department, RSPCC 1931 March 20: Receives doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College 1939 The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child is published 1940 Accepts position at Ohio State University as clinical psychologist and full professor 1940 December 11: Client-centered therapy is ‘born’ as Carl addresses the University of Minnesota's Psychological Honors Society 1942 Counseling and Psychotherapy is published[Page 124]Theory in Practice 1945 Moves to the University of Chicago to start Counseling Center 1946–47 Serves as president of the American Psychological Association (APA) 1951 Client-Centered Therapy is published 1954 Psychotherapy and Personality Change (with Rosalind Dymond and others) is published 1957 cAcepts appointment at University of Wisconsin, Madison, in psychiatry and psychology 1961 On Becoming a Person is publishedGlobal Influence 1964 Moves to La Jolla, California, to join staff of the Western Behavioral Studies Institute (WBSI) 1967 The Therapeutic Relationship and its Impact: a Study of Psychotherapy with Schizophrenics is published 1968 With several WBSI colleagues, leaves to form the Center for Studies of the Person (CSP) 1968–77 Works with ‘encounter groups’ and larger organizations 1969 Freedom to Learn: a View of What Education Might Become is published 1970 Carl Rogers on Encounter Groups is published 1972 Becoming Partners: Marriage and its Alternatives is published 1977 Carl Rogers on Personal Power: Inner Strength and its Revolutionary Impact is published 1979 March 29: Helen Rogers dies 1980 A Way of Being is published 1983 Freedom to Learn for the ‘80s is published 1975–85 Travels extensively in the US, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Japan, and South America to facilitate Person-Centered Approach workshops 1985 The Rust Peace Workshop, Austria 1987 January 28: Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Congressman Jim Bates 1987 February 4: Carl dies in La Jolla, California
References[Page 125]1988) Participation in God. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.(1983) ‘Researching person-centred issues in education’, in C.R.Rogers (ed.), Freedom to Learn for the ‘80s. Columbus, OH: Charles Merrill.and (2000) The Use of Self in Therapy,(2nd edn, New York: The Haworth Press.BAPCA (2001) Client-Centred Psychotherapy in the UK – the Future, London: British Association for the Person-Centred Approach.1990) ‘Chicago revisited: an interview with Elizabeth Sheerer’, Person-Centered Review, 5(4): 416–24.(1998) ‘Empathy and empathy development with psychotic clients’, in B.Thorne and E.Lambers (eds), Person-Centred Therapy: a European Perspective. London: Sage. pp. 216–30.(1987) In Memory of Carl Rogers, unpublished manuscript.(1990) ‘The essence of client-centered therapy’, in G.Lietaer, J.Rombauts and R.Van Balen (eds), Client-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy in the Nineties. 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Norton.(1997) ‘Randomised controlled assessment of non-directive psychotherapy versus routine general practitioner care’, Lancet, 350: 1662–5. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736%2897%2905298-7, , and (1978) Focusing. New York: Everest House.(1990) ‘The small steps of the therapy process: how they come and how to help them come’, in G.Lietaer, J.Rombauts and R.Van Balen (eds), Client-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy in the Nineties. Leuven: Leuven University Press. pp. 205–24.(2002) ‘What difference does philosopy make? Crossing Gendlin and Rogers’, in J.C.Watson, R.N.Goldman and M.S.Warner (eds), Client-Centered [Page 126]and Experiential Psychotherapy in the 21st Century: Advances in Theory, Research and Practice. 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