A humanistic theorist, Carl Rogers is the chief exponent of this theory. Rogers is a therapist who has devoted most of his career to the study and treatment of disturbed people (Fehr, l983). The self-theory consists of positive self-regard, which refers to attitudes of warmth, respect, liking, and acceptance on the part of others toward the self and similar attitudes with regard to one’s own experience independent of social transactions with others.
What Rogers wants to say is that every healthy individual needs both types of regard, social and personal, that the individual cannot be normal and cannot function adequately if he does not experience regard for others as well as a realistic sense of his own worth (Lamberth, l980). He describes the tendency of the fully functioning individual to live in harmony with others because of the rewarding character of reciprocal positive regard; that the most important motivational force of all mankind is the tendency to actualize (Fehr, l983). The actualizing tendency is inherent in every creature to strive to make the best of its existence.
It is the very nature of all living things to desire and do the very best they can A person by nature is also sociable, thus, culture and society is created in the course of people’s actualization that can become a force to serve a person to survive and at the same time harm or even destroy him. Society leads a person away from the right path with “conditions of worth. ” A person gets what he needs only if he can show he is worthy and not because he needs it. A child gets love and warmth only if he behaves in a certain manner. Rogers calls this conditional positive regard.
A person is shaped to fit not of his self-actualization but by society that may not genuinely be of his best interest, which leads a person to conditional positive self regard, which is in conflict with positive self-regard resulting to incongruence of the real self and the ideal self. Only if a person meets the standards that others have enforced on him that he begins to admire himself. Instead of actualizing his own potentials, a person more often than not unable to meet such standards finds himself inadequate to sustain a sense of self-respect (Boeree, G. , 2006).
A person experiences anxiety when there is a gap between the real self and the ideal self and to avoid this, one has to escape psychologically by employing defenses. However, the more defenses are used the wider the distance between the real and the ideal self, a person finds himself in more threatening situations, that the vicious anxiety-defense cycle becomes routinely and unable to pull out of it by himself, suffers psychotic breaks and manifests off-the-wall behavior. He will be unable to discern himself from the real self, and becomes inactive and alienated (2006).
Doris: A Depressed Adolescent, Analysis/Discussion What we perceive, especially under consistent or chronic conditions, seems to be somehow incorporated within our personal value systems. That is, we tend to learn the standards that we experience. Experience determines, to a large degree, our interpretation of what we perceive. In the case at hand, Doris’ experiences with her family and caretakers were so influential in the development of her personal traits, particularly attitudes; values, interest and prejudices, and thus, they have an inescapable influence on the way she was prepared to perceive the world.
As theorized by Karen Horney, a lack of love and warmth in childhood is parental indifference, which she called the “basic evil”. A parent may have good intentions but may communicate indifference to his/her children with things like showing strong liking for one child over another or picking a child for things he may not have done or rejecting to the child’wishes or desires as in the case of Doris who suffers indignation everytime she asks about her father. Understanding of parental indifference is a matter of child’s perception.
The child’s response to indifference is anger, hostility, and finds this effective, thus, hostility becomes a child’s habitual response to life’s difficulties. To children however, anxiety is a matter of helplessness, finds compliance a better way to cope with the situation instead of being hostile. Some children nonetheless, find aggression and compliance ineffective, withdraws from participation as they feel that if they withdraw, nothing could hurt them. Therefore, to eliminate the perceived parental indifference instead of complying, the child withdraws from family involvement to himself (Boeree, G.
, 2006). The feeling of rejection is very dominant in Doris personality development. Her desire to be accepted and loved unconditionally was not reciprocated Therapy based on Self-Actualization A Rogerian therapy based on self-actualization allows the client to talk about anything that interests him. The therapist helps clarify and rephrase what the client says. In person-centered therapy, the function of the therapist is to understand his client and to reflect his feelings so that the client feels understood and accepted. The therapist avoids acting as an authoritarian or judgmental expert.
The client gains confidence as he is allowed to dominate the session without being contradicted or judged by the therapist. He continually talks and progress can be made if he is well motivated and independent. Just like existential therapy, the primary concern is the client’s feelings. The therapist works with the client’s immediate experience to help him determine what it means to be alive as a unique human being. His role is not necessarily to reduce anxiety since this is a natural part of existence, but rather to help the client see that anxiety associated with seeking new experiences can be a healthy stimulus to self-actualization.
In the application of this approach, three elements must be satisfied. The first is congruity, honesty and genuineness to the client, an undisputed credibility of the therapist in his ability of not putting professional front; the probability that the client will change and develop in a positive manner is greater. The next element is respect and acceptance, an unconditional caring attitude or positive regard toward what the client is experiencing at the present situation. Lastly, the therapist must convey his emphatic understanding of the feelings and personal meanings of the client’s experiences.
Under this theory the individual is treated as a basic unit thus, to foster growth, it is the individual that should be addressed not the family. Therapist must believe that human nature is basically constructive; that persons must be motivated or make use of the built-in motivation present in every organism to perceive reality and truth of the situations. A person is essentially sociable, self-regard is a basic human need, thus self-reliance, and sensitivity to external stimuli must be protected to help the client (Brodley, B. , l986)
Applying the above theory on the case of Doris, as a therapist, I will try not to regard Doris as a client, but rather as a new acquaintance, (applying another technique I learned in the movie, “Sixth Sense”). I prefer not to meet Doris in my office to keep away from a therapist-client atmosphere, thus removing the professional facade. Next is to start a conversation initially not on her problem but on something not directly connected to the issues at hand. Any topic will be unfolding. That will be as much as necessary to cover during the first session, to create an appearance of a casual meeting for a fresh relationship.
Then I can arrange for another casual meeting at her convenience to establish that she is in full control of the relationship and not the therapist. The succeeding sessions will likely have a positive result as she will be more at ease with me and hopefully she will open up this time her insecurities and anxieties. She talks and I listen. I will try carefully with deep thoughts and feelings to reflect back to her every phrase that she says; that she knows what she is communicating. Ordinarily, depressed people say things that they do not mean. It is important that I feel what she feels as she relates her experiences.
Once and a while, I can cut in to clarify and rephrase what she really meant by her statements to show that I understand what she is experiencing, but never to direct the conversation. For example, if she says, “I hate men,” I can reflect by saying, “you hate all men? ” Maybe, she would say, “not all”. She would realize that she does not hate all men, only a particular person, maybe her father who abandoned her. The session as required must be non-directive. I will serve only as a support. She must be independent to discover what is wrong and find ways to improve. She must be in full control of the session to help her regain her self-esteem.
I will try to answer questions coming from her as cautiously as I can, like a friend with understanding and empathy. In that way, I can start to encourage trust and confidence on herself and towards other people. I can also convey my acceptance of her by treating her like any ordinary person with anxieties and insecurities, as a unique human being with potentials to progress. . This may seem not conventional to practicing professionals, however, if we really love our profession and our fellow human beings, this is I guess the most appropriate technique for a service professional.
The four-walled office of a psychotherapist is not the only conducive place to help heal depressed individuals. A professional social worker or psychotherapist minds not the time and effort spend to help other people. Conclusion We usually come to like a person after a series of rewarding experiences in dealing with him. On the other hand, a series of punishing or negative experiences will usually bring forth unfavorable attitude. Sometimes a single experience will produce a strongly favorable or unfavorable attitude.
Communications from others, for children, specifically are informal verbal instructions they hear or receive from members of the family are important in influencing and maintaining attitudes. Identification with the model and respect for his judgment tend toward acceptance of the model’s way of perceiving and feeling about certain situations. Many institutions such as churches and schools function as sources of and support attitudes and beliefs. In a person-centered therapy, the therapist must be aware of the sources of attitudes to understand the client better.
Background information about the client is crucial in dealing with the problem, although the ego-integrated theory is centered on the individual, not on the family or a group. Congruence, empathy and respect are important elements in person-centered therapy. The more the therapist is him, putting no barrier in the relationship, expressing acceptance and understanding of the feelings and experiences of the client, showing an unconditional care and positive regard of the client as a person, the more the client will show improvement or growth and self-actualization.
References Brodley, B. (l986). Client-centered therapy-what is it? what it is not? Retrieved on November 9, 2008 from http://world. std. com/~mbr2/whatscct. html Boeree, G. (2006). Carl Rogers. Personality Theories. Retrieved on November 11, 2008 from http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/rogers. html Fehr, L. (l979). Introduction to Personality. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co. , Inc. Lamberth, J. (l980). Social Psychology. (1sted. ) New York: MacMillan Publishing Co. , Inc. , .