Humanistic as it allowed more soldiers to receive

Humanistic counselling was developed in America during the
1950s. The three main founders where Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow and Rollo May.
In this essay, I will be focusing mainly on the work by Carl Rogers and his
person-centred therapy.

Rogers spoke at the University of Minnesota in which it was
suggested that “therapist could be the most helpful to clients by allowing them
to find their own solutions to their problems” (as citied McLeod, 2003, 157).
Following on from this in 1945, after the war there was a great need for
psychological help to be provided to the soldiers that fought in order to help
them to go back to their lives. “The dominant form of psychotherapy in the USA
was psychoanalysis, which would have been too expensive…Rogers represented an
ideal solution” (McLeod, 2003, 158). From this we could argue that Rogers
therapy originated as a result of the war due to the cost implication of
psycho-analysis. Rogers’s therapy is cheaper meaning more people could be
helped. Thus, showing a strength of Rogers’s humanistic values in counselling
as it allowed more soldiers to receive therapy and so be able to continue with
their lives.

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Conditions of worth are something that is taught through our
life experiences. Margaret Hough stated that “From a very early age, children
seek to please their parents or carers who are the most important people in the
world to them. Each person’s self-concept is acquired in this way and is
continually reinforced throughout life, as a result of ongoing interaction with
others” (2014, 146). This is showing that conditions of worth are taught to us
by our parents from the way they bring us up. If experiences have a positive
correlation with our conditions of worth then they will be accepted. For
example, if children are taught that they should be seen and not heard then the
child will view themselves as something that is just to be looked at and
therefore may not actually speak up about anything. “Most of the time this
process continues without being necessarily being aware of it” (Merry, 2002,
27). As a result of this, the child is starting to develop a “conditioned self
which continues to actualise” (Merry, 2000, 27). This condition is that they
will not get into trouble, as long as they are seen and not heard.

Actualising is a concept present in both Rogers and Maslow’s values
of counselling. The actualising tendency motivates humanity from birth (Hough
2014, 148). Tony Merry defined actualising as something that “refers to the
person as a whole – the physical, psychological, cognitive and emotional
interrelated part that together makes up the whole person” (Merry, 2002, 21).
This is a process that will happen throughout a human’s life. Depending on the
surrounding nature, for example, the environment, there will be a knock-on
effect on how the “organism is able to become all it is capable of becoming”
(Merry, 2002, 21). If there is an ideal environment in which the organism can
be developed then maximum potential can be reached. (Merry 2002, 21).

Maslow defined actualisation as “a process whereby each
person strives to become what they are actually intended to be…The inability to
fulfil potential can cause a great deal of suffering” (Hough 2014, 160). Maslow’s
theory looks at the needs and motivation of people. The hierarchy of needs starts
physical needs at the bottom followed by: safety, relationships, self-esteem,
until you reach self-actualisation at the top of the pyramid. (Hough 2014,
160). In order to be able to self-actualise the needs lower down the pyramid
such as physical and safety must be met first. Hough argues that in Maslow’s
study ‘A Study of Psychological health’
which involved people such as Abraham Lincoln concludes that people such as Lincoln
have certain characteristics resulting in a more fulfilled life, in comparison to
a sample of other people who were not as fulfilled. (Hough 2014, 162). This is showing
how actualisation has some relevance as there is evidence to suggest that
certain characteristics result in a higher chance of being able to actualise. I
would argue that this is a strength of the humanistic values in counselling
because now that there are certain characteristics that have been identified to
result in a higher chance of actualising, counsellors can work with clients in
order to help achieve them.

Throughout his work, Rogers identified that there were
similarities that his clients displayed throughout the counselling process. The
process comprised seven stages (Merry 2002, 58). Stage one and two usually
occur before the client reaches the therapy stage. In the first stage people
are often isolated and not ready to talk and rather set in their ways. The
second stage there is more leeway although people may not be able to take
responsibility for themselves. Stage three is where the client may seek therapy
as they are ready to start talking although its often done in the third person.
Stage four the client starts to open up and feelings from the current time
start to emerge. Stage five occurs when someone feels that they are being
understood resulting in confidence to talk about what is going on in the
present. Stage 6 occurs when feelings are able to move around and conclusions
can be made. Counselling is usually terminated by stage seven as the client may
find that they no longer need it. (Merry 2002, 58 – 63). I would argue that a
process of change model has disadvantages such as the fact it cannot be applied
to everyone as counselling journeys are all different. Merry supports my
argument as he argued that the scale puts pressure on the clients ‘to conform
to a general process over a period of time’ (Merry 2002, 64). The reliability
of the process is not accurate as clients may not be able to conform as
experiences and the reason they are seeking counselling will be different.
Therefore, if the process is not reliable it is showing a weakness of the
humanistic values in counselling.

The therapeutic relationship involves two or more people. The
client is someone who is struggling in some way for example, anxiety. The
therapist then acts using three core conditions: empathy, unconditional
positive regard and congruence (McLeod 2009, 178). Rogers states that when
empathising counsellors have to “lay aside your own views and values in order
to enter another world without prejudice (Rogers 1980, 142-3). This is
suggesting that empathy involves setting your own personal feelings aside and
focusing on what it is the client is feeling. I would argue that empathy is an
essential part of the humanistic approach otherwise the client may not feel
understood which could result in them not being open with the counsellor.
Houghs explanation supports my argument as it suggests that the counselling
relationship will not be beneficial if the frame of reference is not right
(Hough 2014, 149). Bohart et al. (citied in McLeod 2009) conducted research
into empathy in which it was suggested that looking at the future may have some
benefit. John McLeod argues that this changes the definition of empathy to
“authentic commitment” (McLeod 2009, 186). The commitment provides the core
conditions with a strong link as well as a link between the core principles
(McLeod 2009, 186). I would
argue that the link strengthens the core conditions and the effectiveness of
them. In addition, the link with the original conditions shows how strong they
were. Given that more research (such as the work of Bohart) has been carried
out and continues to conclude the strength of the conditions, shows how strong
they actually are. It is this positive argument that can be used to
argue as a strength of the humanistic values in counselling.  

Unconditional positive regard involves showing a
non-judgemental attitude towards the client. Sanders states that it is not
about being nice to the client, instead it is about being genuine (Sanders
2006, 60-61). Rogers conducted research which revealed that there was a
positive correlation between the unconditional positive regard and the success
of the therapy (Rogers 1977 as citied Corey 2013, 169). The research is showing
that unconditional positive regard has a positive effect on the clients. This may
result in them being able to work towards actualising and so the therapy will
be effective. Thus, if the therapy is effective as a result of the
unconditional positive regard, it demonstrates how it is a strength of the
humanistic values in counselling.  

Congruence is a “therapeutic attitude of geniuses or
wholeness (Tudor and Merry 2002, 29). Rogers argued (as citied in Tudor and
Merry’s book) that any feeling that the therapist may feel, does not have to be
expressed to the client (Rogers as citied, Tudor and Merry 2002, 29).  For example, Gerald Corey argues that if a
therapist were to disclose their own feelings it must be done at the right time
as well as having a productive effect on the client (Corey 2013, 169). From
this I would argue that a counsellor should act with caution when
self-disclosing. If done at the wrong time it may have a negative effect on the
client-therapist relationship. This would put the counselling relationship at
risk of failing. 

To conclude, I would argue the humanistic approach is based
on the individual and is about being the best person you can be through the
process of actualising. The approach gives counsellors a clear frame and
personality in which they should adhere to which has been proven to help the
client help themselves. Overall the humanistic values in counselling have a
strong foundation which have gone on to be developed by other researchers such
as Maslow as well as many more. This is highlighting how strong the values in
the humanistic approach in reference to counselling.