“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if you let them be. When I look at a sunset, I don't find myself saying, "Soften the orange a bit on the right hand corner." I don't try to control a sunset. I watch with awe as it unfolds.” (Carl Rogers)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Carl Rogers and Gloria: person-centredness in action

This video  of Carl Rogers in a real therapy session with Gloria, a real person, is amazing and you can see exactly how Rogers' approach can transfer to the classroom - be yourself, empathise with your students and allow them to learn their own lessons...


Click on part 2, part 3 etc to complete, it's all out there. Here's a useful article about the session:

An analysis of how Carl Rogers enacted client-centered conversation with Gloria.by Scott A. Wickman , Cynthia Campbell. 

Carl Rogers's session with Gloria in the training film titled Three Approaches to Psychotherapy (Shostrom, 1965a) is among the most written about in the history of counseling and continues to be used as an instructional model for the helping professions (Glauser & Bozarth, 2001). In this session, Gloria, a 30-year-old recently divorced woman, presented an initial problem about "having men to the house," wondering "how it affects the children." Specifically, Gloria wanted to know if she should be truthful with her daughter about having sex since the divorce or if such honesty would cause her daughter emotional harm. Through the course of their 30-minute conversation, this issue evolved into Gloria accepting herself and feeling "whole."

There were several indicators that this session was meaningful and life changing for Gloria despite its short duration. She later wrote that: Something happened in those few short minutes which has stayed with me ever since. He simply helped me to recognize my own potential--my value as a human being. All the words couldn't possibly express the importance of that for me. (Dolliver, Williams, & Gold, 1980, p. 141)

Moreover, Gloria attended a weekend conference in 1965 featuring the film's debut and maintained a written correspondence with Rogers and his wife Helen until Gloria's death in 1979 (Rogers, 1984; Weinrach; 1990). Rogers (1984) described himself as "awed" by the session's significance, writing "We truly met as persons. It is good to know that even one half hour can make a difference in a life" (p. 425). In his theory of client-centered counseling, Rogers (1951, 1957) proposed three conditions as "necessary and sufficient" for therapeutic change: empathy, genuinenes and unconditional positive regard. This theoretical framework provides the instructional foundation for many counselor education programs.

However, Rogers (1967) expressed considerable frustration at how his theory was taught, stating that "such training has very little to do with an effective therapeutic relationship" and that he had "become more and more allergic" to terms like "reflection of feeling" (p. 375). Moreover, Rogers and Wood (1974) criticized the way in which client-centered counseling was being taught through reductionist means such as microskills. When a student asked why Rogers did not always adhere to the rules of "Rogerian" counseling, he replied, "I'm in the fortunate position of not having to be a Rogerian" (Farber, Brink, & Raskin, 1996, p. 11). Clearly, there was a discrepancy between how Rogers conceptualized what he did and how his theory was being taught. For that reason, a greater understanding of Rogers's enacted therapeutic style is needed to increase counselor educators' teaching effectiveness in the classroom.

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