Person-Centered Therapy and Related Approaches

The basic assumption of Carl Rogers' Person-Centered Therapy is that people have a vast potential for understanding themselves and resolving their own problems without direct intervention on the therapist’s part, and that they are capable of self-directed growth. The approach focuses on building emotional rapport with a client.

 

Motivational Interviewing (MI) understands that difficulty in making changes often comes from a fundamental ambivalence, in which even a destructive behavior provides some sort of emotional benefit. The goal of the process is to engage that ambivalence to help clients clarify their true emotional goals, and the paths to reach those goals. MI moves beyond Person-Centered Therapy in actively engaging the person to create change,and is an important part of Dr. Mau's practice. MI is often used for addiction recovery. Miller (1998) notes that a single session of MI before beginning a rehabilitation program can double a person's chances of abstinence three months later. In an analysis of 381 studies of treatments for alcohol dependence, Hester and Miller (2003) found that MI type processes were the second most effective means of addressing the problem, following only Constructivist brief therapy approaches (Other approaches on the list include CBT at 13, 12 Step programs at 37, confrontation at 45, and education coming in last at 48).

 

Abraham Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs proposes that people move from basic physical needs, like food and safety, to the need for love and relationship, then to a need for achievement and confidence, and finally self actualization, the need for creativity and fulfillment. Fulfilling this potential is the goal of human growth.

 

Dr. Mau emphasizes the importance of engaging emotional ambivalence to help you create the changes you desire. The goal is always to help you fulfill your highest potential.

 

“One of the metaphors I often use with my clients is the metaphor of ‘the wilderness guide,’ and the way I put that is they can hire me as a guide, because I know a lot about survival in the wilderness—my own, and I’ve traveled through a lot of wildernesses. I’ve got a compass; I can start a fire in the rain. I know how to make it through, but this is a new wilderness to me. Haven’t been in this particular wilderness before, and so I can’t quite predict what we’re going to encounter” (Sullivan, Skovholt, & Jennings, 2005, p. 59).

 


References

 

Theoretical Orientation 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Psychodynamic Approaches

Psychiatry and Diagnosis

 

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