Carl Rogers’ Mechanisms of Action of the Therapeutic Relationship

What is therapeutic about therapy? It seems to have a lot to do with the kind of relationship that the therapist and client create. This is Carl Rogers’ version of what happens in an ideal therapeutic relationship, quoted from Yalom’s Group Psychotherapy (p. 62). If you want to see footage of Rogers trying to create this relationship, I posted clips here.

1) The client is increasingly free in expressing his feelings.

2) He begins to test reality and to become more discriminatory in his feelings and perceptions of his environment, his self, other persons, and his experiences.

3) He increasingly becomes aware of the incongruity between his experiences and his concept of self.

4) He also becomes aware of feelings that have been previously denied or distorted in awareness.

5) His concept of self, which now includes previously distorted or denied aspects, becomes more congruent with his experience.

6) His becomes increasingly able to experience, without threat, the therapist’s unconditional positive regard and to feel an unconditional positive self-regard.

7) He increasingly experiences himself as the focus of evaluation of the nature and worth of an object or experience.

8) He reacts to experience less in terms of his perception of others’ evaluation of him and more in terms of its effectiveness in enhancing his own development.

[First published on Nathen’s Miraculous Escape, May 29, 2010.]

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