Person-Centered Therapy is an optimistic theory that is categorized in the humanistic approaches to therapy. PC therapy believes that human beings are intrinsically good, and are motivated to be the best that they can be (Carver & Scheier, 2008, p. 346). The theory embodies respect for individuals and values of tolerance and understanding (Brodley, 2007, p. 140). As the name implies the client is responsible for his or her own growth and improvement (Carver & Scheier, 2008, p.344). Rogers' stated that the main assumption of his approach is that “individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes, and self- directed behavior” (Rogers, 1980, p.115). One of the underlying assumptions, and main motivation, of Person-Centered Therapy is that human beings possess an innate tendency to grow and meet their full potential, or to self-actualize. Self-actualization is the inherent motivation to reach our highest potential, both emotionally and intellectually (Kosslyn & Rosenberg, 2004, p. 464). Self-actualization moves one towards autonomous behavior and self-sufficiency, it enriches one’s life and enhances their creativity. It also promotes congruence, wholeness, and integration of the person. Rogers describes self-actualizing people as the fully functioning person (Carver & Scheier, 2008, p.322).
Another central construct to PC therapy are conditions of worth. The conditions come from the need for positive regard. These are “conditions under which the person is judged to be worthy of positive regard” (Carver & Scheier, 2008, p. 323). Conditions of worth arise by the positive evaluation of actions or feelings from an important loved one. Initially external, they begin as a reaction from another (Murdock, 2009, p. 159). But felt that once conditions of worth is placed on someone for a period of time, that they will start to put those conditions on themselves. Self acceptance can only be obtained once one satisfies their conditions of worth. (Carver & Scheier, 2008, p. 323)
Human Development and Maladaptive Behavior
Carl Rogers feels that “life is an active process” (Rogers, 1980, p.118). His theory states that humans are always striving to grow, change and actualize. His theory of human development is no different. From birth an infant is constantly motivated towards the positive, away from negative, and is self-actualizing (Murdock, 2009, p.160). The strong need for positive regard, and the perceived experiences by the child create external conditions of worth. If a child is provided with the right conditions, the child should develop unaffected by conditions of worth (Murdock, 2009, p. 160).
Rogers believed that blocked potential for growth is the cause of distressing symptoms (Kosslyn & Rosenberg, 2004, p.638). Dysfunction is caused by the incongruence between self and experience. In that, their perceptions of the self and their experience are not consistent with...