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Carl Rogers Person Centered philosophy is based on the idea that, in a supportive environment, humans will strive toward their best potential. We strive toward reaching our ideal self concept, but we also thrive in community, as we are most fulfilled when we feel that we are positive contributors to society.One of the positive things about person centered therapy is that it is a judge free zone. It is centered around encouraging a person to become ones best self. People have a natural tendency to behave in ways that preserve their health and well being, at a very basic level. At a more developed level, humans have specific ideas of what a successful person looks like, or behaviors and habits that they deem good or bad. When a person acts contrary to what they consider “good”, they have a natural guilt as a result.Striving toward a sense of the ideal self with the support of peers and community, means moving closer to the state of self actualization – which is the ultimate goal. Roger used the term “congruent” to describe a healthy person. Congruence means one’s experiences are consistent with their perception of self. How can a therapist or community support this? We can value and praise the person (child) even though all their behaviors are not equally valued. One may still have negative feelings and experiences, but giving full support to the person in all of his or her value while guiding them over the bumps in the road, which may be disorder thoughts or behavior is the key to this kind of therapy.In a perfect world, individuals could develop in an atmosphere of unconditional positive regard – but this is not a perfect world. We are judged by external and internal locuses of evaluation that may go a little askew. The perception of good or bad according to the way others around us perceive or act is the external locus of evaluation. Trusting oneself to follow the right path guided by ones internal value system is called the internal locus of evaluation. A negative consequence of this is if someone has a perfectionist idea of the “ideal self”. They may be in a constant state of guilt. Another negative thing about self regard is that we may be subject to the judgement of others, especially in the case of children. Some experiences are delightful to children, and they may need to be re-directed. But under the wrong hand of “guidance”, a caregiver might shame the child, giving him an unreasonably negative idea of him or herself. For example, the book talked about the innocent girl delighting in her mud bath, much to the horror of her mother. Childlike pleasures may associated with negativity because of the reaction of an adult or authority figure. Children should be taught how to act in what is proper in the society in which they live, but they are sensitive, and will subject themselves under the feelings of guilt (or praise) to which we expose them most consistently. Some criticize Rogers for being to culturally narrow. Studies have shown that the Person Centered approach may be less effective in more collectivist societies, such as those of Asia where extreme humility is more of a virtue.
Murdock, N. L. (2017). Theories of counseling and psychotherapy (4th ed.). PearsonKim, Jookyoung. “Consideration of the Applicability of Person-Centered Therapy to Culturally Varying Clients, Focusing on the Actualizing Tendency and Self-Actualization – from East Asian Perspective.” Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, vol. 17, no. 3, 2018, pp. 201–223.
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