Person Centred Therapy is a humanistic therapy founded by Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987). Rogers introduced the concept of non judgemental unconditional positive regards, congruence and empathy as core conditions in Person Centred Therapy. This is where a therapist applies these core conditions as part of the therapeutic model.
In our life if we try and apply the same model, imagine how useful this will be to our living. There are two sides to these core conditions, one is that we try this towards others and the other is that we get good at applying this towards ourselves. Our life will be so much better if we are non-judgemental towards ourselves because this mean that we accept ourselves. For example if we make a mistake, we accepts our mistake and move one with our life. Also unconditional positive regard, by having a positive outlook towards ourselves and our life we begin to see ourselves in a more positive light and that attracts opportunities for us. Congruence is where we are real to ourselves and in many ways we show our true stance on matters and believes without being influenced by others, this will provide us with a sense of self fulfilment and realness. Lastly by being empathetic towards ourselves and others we can begin to have a better understanding ourselves, more awareness of our surroundings and appreciation of life in general.
Another concept that Rogers introduced is organismic self. We all have part of ourselves that is innate to us. It is our real self and unique to us. Rogers explained that throughout our life we begin to take other figures (parents, care givers) validating or disapproving our behaviour. This may result in us trying to please others or these may be introjected to us and therefore result in inner conflict or incongruity in us.
In our life more we are aligned with our own accepted values whether taken from others or constructed by ourselves the better our alignment with our organismic self (congruent towards ourself). If there is a gap between our self concept and our organismic self then this means we are apart from our real self.
Another concept used in Person Centred Therapy and introduced by Rogers is locus of evaluation. This is where we place our value judgement. This value judgement can be from our own viewpoint or others view point. In many ways these are two side of the same coin as it is about how we trust and value our view of self or we trust and value how others view us. These are called internal (our view of self) or external (others view of us) locus of evaluation. Locus of evaluation is in many ways linked to another concept of Person Centred Therapy which is conditions of worth, this is where our worth is determined by others in regards to us being acceptable if we behave in certain ways. Therefore we need to identify the conditions of worth that are unhelpful to us. And ultimately move towards self direction and trust in ourselves and greater respect for and understanding of others.
In our life more empathetic we are towards ourselves, more understanding we cultivate. More positive we are toward ourselves, more opportunity and meaning we create in our life. Also more congruent we are in life, more in touch we are with our opinions and ourselves. And lastly less judgemental we are towards ourselves, more accepting we are of life. In my opinion by doing these we will increase our internal locus of evaluation, where we are more aligned with our own view of self instead of placing values on others view of us. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t consider others value judgement but it means that we must not base our decisions on others value judgement of us. Because after all we are master of our own life and we innately know ourselves better than anyone else. Therefore more we practice internal locus of evaluation, more we go towards our organismic self.
Person Centred Therapy as a humanistic philosophy believes in human capability to growth and us having the ability innate within us to solve our own problems. In life taking this philosophy gives us strength to know that we are capable of solving and overcoming barriers in life. By knowing this we can be confident that this is a work in progress and as long as we focus on our own abilities in life by trying to make decisions according to our beliefs and values we are in the right path. Genuity in our decisions is very important, this is because we need to take steps forward in life according to our own unique self.
Organismic self in Person Centred Therapy stems from self actualisation concept of hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow. According to Maslow we need certain basic needs to be met in our life in order to be able to move to psychological needs and then self fulfilment needs. Rogers believed that human innately move towards growth and wanting to meet these needs. Therefore throughout our life we have innate desire to fulfil our potential.
To summarise our life journey is so much more fulfilling if we apply person centred therapy concepts to our life. This will improve our awareness of ourselves, others, and our environment. This will result in our experiencing a more fulfilled life and to feel better about ourselves. It is important to know that this is an ongoing journey and we therefore need to do this throughout our lives. This is because we meet our expectations in life and improve ourselves and thereafter there is room for more self improvement.
In my opinion Person Centred Therapy focus is more on our feelings. It is more about our relationship with ourselves and others. Applying these concepts will help us to know where we stand, what is our feeling, what is our relationship towards ourselves and others. By being aware of this it is so much easier to know where we are heading. What we want to do in life, how we want to go about our life and why it is important to us to live life in certain ways that is unique to us.