Psychology Person-Centered Therapies
by
Colin Lago, Michael Behr, Divine Charura, David Murphy, Gerhard Stumm
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 October 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0199

Introduction

The foundations of this humanistic approach to counselling and psychotherapy were laid down in the 1940s by Carl Rogers in the United States. While this approach has seen the evolution of names ascribed to it (e.g., non-directive counseling, client-centered therapy, person-centered therapy, etc.), the essential guiding philosophy has been based upon a deep trust in each individual’s capacity for resilience and growth within the context of a “helping” relationship (where both persons are in psychological contact). Such a relationship was characterized by particular attitudinal elements of the therapist (unconditional positive regard, authenticity, and empathic understanding) and the client’s psychological processes (current in-authenticity causing vulnerability or anxiety and their perception of the therapist’s intentions). Rogers recognized the importance of client experience as a reliable referent in personal change and development. His publication of several key texts in the 1950s proved influential within the field of counseling and psychotherapy and helped to disseminate the core philosophy, theoretical ideas, and emerging research outcomes emanating from the practice of client-centered therapy (as it was then known). As a theory grounded within the context of interpersonal relationships, Rogers later expanded his theory building to the settings of family relationships, education, small group and large group work, and to groups in conflict. From early in his career Rogers was a keen researcher, and such research activity expanded considerably upon his move into the university sector where he stimulated innovative approaches and vigorous research programs into the counseling/psychotherapy process, frequently involving other colleagues who went on to develop specific applications of this relational approach that included play therapy, conflict resolution, student-centered teaching, and group-centered leadership and administration. Person-centered therapy has continued to grow and develop in the intervening decades with the addition of a wide range of theoretical and clinical postulates, with the development of differing named “tribes” of theoretical practice sharing common values and the re-invigoration of impressive research activity. The following sections also demonstrate clearly that this field of professional psychotherapeutic practice continues to grow apace around the world as evidenced by the publication of many new books, chapters, and articles.

General Overviews

A considerable number of fine texts in different languages provide a detailed overview of the development of person-centered therapy from the early days of Carl Rogers to the 21st-century emergence of differing therapeutic ideas and orientations contained within the “family” of person-centered and experiential psychotherapies. Cain 2010 builds upon theory with sections dedicated to elucidating practice and citing research outcomes. Cooper, et al. 2013 additionally addresses therapeutic practice with specific client groups, while Lago and Charura 2016 features a historical and developmental overview and addresses issues of diversity in practice. Texts in different languages include, in Flemish, Lietaer, et al. 2008, and in Spanish, Segrera, et al. 2014. While a deeper exploration of Rogers’s complete canon of work will reveal his attention to both the development of personality and psychopathology (as well as to the unfolding of the therapeutic process), it is probably the latter that he has become more popularly known for. Barrett-Lennard 1998 is a detailed and nuanced appreciation of the therapeutic and wider implications of the approach. Embleton-Tudor, et al. 2004 and Wood 2008 provide overarching and detailed views of the clinical applications and theoretical developments of the person-centered approach spanning Rogers’s lifetime. Although some of both texts are dedicated to the elucidation of psychotherapy theory and practice, they also include sections on the wider applications of this philosophy. Rogers grounds his theoretical statements on the premise of the “actualising tendency” as the sole driving force for personal change and development. This is a localized manifestation of the formative tendency of the universe, and Rogers asserts that it tends toward the maintenance, enhancement, and well-being of the experiencing organism (e.g., the individual) (Sanders 2006). A range of terms and philosophic influences has variously been used to describe person-centered theory, including phenomenological, existential, perceptual, humanistic, holistic, growth oriented, and a clinical philosophy. Sanders 2012 describes the emerging schools of therapy related to this approach (see also Sub-Orientations and Offshoots for further details).

  • Barrett-Lennard G. 1998. Carl Rogers’ helping system. Journey & Substance. London: SAGE.

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    Twenty years in the making, this book is by a former student and colleague of Rogers and constitutes a detailed account of the historical development of the Person Centered Approach within its wider social and political context. Key figures are referenced as is the inclusion of sections dedicated to theory, therapeutic process, and research.

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    • Cain, David J. 2010. Person-centered Psychotherapies. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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      Offers a concise overview. The theory part includes key concepts and developments of the therapeutic approach. The practical section outlines attitudes of the therapist, including guidelines for transparency of the therapist, different forms of empathy, exemplified by short responses of therapists, and a case example, supplemented by research results. This homogenous piece has an introductory character with an advanced touch.

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      • Cooper, Mick, Maureen O’Hara, Peter F. Schmid, and Gill Wyatt, eds. 2013. The handbook of person-centred psychotherapy and counselling. 2d ed. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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        This book covers a wide terrain from the theoretical, historical, and philosophical foundations of person-centered therapy through to current therapeutic practice, the consideration of working with specific client groups, and how these align with professional issues.

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        • Embleton-Tudor, Louise, Keemar Keemar, Keith Tudor, Joanna Valentine, and Mike Worrall. 2004. The Person-centred approach: A contemporary introduction. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

          DOI: 10.1007/978-1-137-04678-9Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Spanning individual therapy, group work, education and work within community, this text provides the reader with a wider appreciation of the application of the person-centered approach beyond one-to-one therapy relationships.

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          • Lago, Colin, and Divine Charura, eds. 2016. The person-centred psychotherapy and counselling handbook: Origins, developments and current applications. Maidenhead, UK: Open Univ. Press.

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            This edited book is divided into five sections charting the extensive developments within person-centered therapy from the early days of Rogers through to the development of theory and to arenas of contemporary application and practice.

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            • Lietaer, Germain, Greet Vanaerschot, Hans Snijders, and Roelf Takens, eds. 2008. Handboek gesprekstherapie. De persoonsgerichte experiëntiële benadering. Utrecht, The Netherlands: De Tijdstroom.

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              This is a classical comprehensive handbook covering all aspects of person-centered and experiential psychotherapies. It is especially strong in including experiential methods and in focusing on special client groups. Mainly written from a Flemish-Dutch viewpoint, but the book also includes original chapters from international authors that have been translated into Flemish.

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              • Sanders, Pete. 2006. The person-centered counselling primer. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                Described as a concise, accessible, comprehensive introduction, this short and immensely readable book written by a key author and publisher in the field addresses the vital elements of person-centered theory and practice.

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                • Sanders, Pete, ed. 2012. The tribes of the person-centred nation: An introduction to the schools of therapy associated with the person-centred approach. 2d ed. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                  Presented in such a creative way, the written text of this book is paralleled in a second column with occasional references and reflective notes pertinent to the descriptive prose. Written from a perspective of celebrating difference yet recognizing similarity in therapeutic styles, this book provides accounts of the different “tribes” within person-centered and experiential therapy.

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                  • Segrera, Alberto, Jeffrey H. Cornelius-White, Michael Behr, and Silvia Lombardi, eds. 2014. Consultorias y psicoterapias centradas en la persona y experienciales. Fundamentos, perspectivas y aplicaciones. Buenos Aires: Gran Aldea Editores.

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                    A collection of twenty-two influential papers from all aspects of person-centered and experiential work that had not been previously translated into Spanish, including basic theoretical papers, perspectives on extensions of the approach, and papers on practical applications. This book offers a comprehensive view and a gateway into person-centered and experiential work for Spanish-only readers.

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                    • Wood, John K. 2008. Carl Rogers’ person-centered approach: Towards an understanding of its implications. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                      This excellent and thought-provoking book challenges the reader to consider deeply the full implications of the person-centered approach and to appreciate the differences there are for practitioners in living and behaving these values within the different settings, from individual conversations right through to large group facilitation.

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                      Carl Rogers (b. 1902–d. 1987), Founder of Person-Centered Therapy

                      There are many texts that chart Rogers’s biography from a studious boyhood spent within a fundamental Christian family to his development of what we now term person-centered therapy. The most detailed of these are Kirschenbaum 2007 and Rogers and Russell 2002. Thorne and Sanders 2013 is also a much more concise evaluation of Rogers’s life and work. He originally developed his therapeutic approach to practice while working as a child psychologist in New York. Scholars have noted that even in his earliest publications (The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child [1939] and Counseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice [1942], both published by Houghton Mifflin), and some of his core philosophic concepts that are later developed within the theory and practice of person-centered therapy are already manifest. These ideas are revealed in detail in Rogers 1951 and Rogers 1961. His major contributions to theory are considered to be deriving theory from direct experience, which is then tested for validity; the belief in the actualizing tendency and articulating the complex dynamic between self-actualization, the self-concept; and conditions of worth; developing the concept of the fully functioning person; and identifying some of the key elements of the therapeutic relationship (Patterson 2000). In the practice of psychotherapy, he consolidated the values of relating, listening, and empathic understanding. He was an excellent communicator, and his capacity to engage, form a dialogue with, and respond empathically to others was uncannily sensitive and accurate (Kirschenbaum and Henderson 1989). Lietaer and Brodley 2003 and Farber, et al. 1996 also demonstrate how Rogers demystified the therapeutic process through extensive recording of therapy sessions, publishing their transcripts and filming demonstration therapy sessions. He authored sixteen books and more than two hundred professional articles and research studies. Schmid 2005 is an extensive bibliography of English and German sources. Lietaer 2002 identifies 477 books on client-centered/experiential psychotherapy from 1939–2000, many in languages other than English. Among the many accolades attributed to him, Rogers was awarded the outstanding contribution awards to both the art and the science of psychotherapy by the American Psychological Association. Later in his life his interests turned to small- and large- group work, and in this regard he received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for his conflict resolution work conducted in the latter part of his life within international settings including Northern Ireland, South Africa, South America, and Russia.

                      • Carl Rogers Archives. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library at the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara.

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                        The archives contain the former Carl Rogers Memorial Library (of the Center for Studies of the Person), the Rogers- Kirschenbaum Collection and the Barfield Collection, which documented the Carl Rogers Peace Project.

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                        • Farber, Barry A., Debora C. Brink, and Patricia M. Raskin. 1996. The psychotherapy of Carl Rogers. London: Guilford.

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                          Carl Rogers was the first psychotherapist to record interviews with clients in order to study the process of client growth and development and the effectiveness of therapist responses. The following text contains the transcripts of his work with ten different clients and reflective commentary by other therapists on each of these cases.

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                          • Kirschenbaum, Howard. 2007. The life and work of Carl Rogers. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                            At over seven hundred pages in length, this authorized biography constitutes a major repository of resources, references, and accounts of the many significant phases and developments of Rogers’s life and career. It also contains details of the location of the predominant collections of Rogers’s work.

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                            • Kirschenbaum, Howard, and Valerie Land Henderson, eds. 1989. Carl Rogers: Dialogues. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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                              During his career Rogers participated in public dialogues with some of the well-known intellectuals of the day including Martin Buber and Paul Tillich, both theologians and philosophers; Burrhus F. Skinner, the behaviorist; Michael Polanyi, the chemist and social philosopher; and Gregory Bateson, the ethnologist, biologist, and anthropologist. Full transcripts of these dialogues plus additional texts of his communications with other leading thinkers of the day are included in this text.

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                              • Lietaer, G. 2002. Sixty years of client-centered/experiential psychotherapy and counseling: Bibliographical survey of BOOKS 1940–2000. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 42.2: 97–131.

                                DOI: 10.1177/0022167802422010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Lietaer also compiled an additional bibliographical survey found online, which is available on the WAPCEPC website.

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                                • Lietaer, Germain, and Barbara Brodley. 2003. Carl Rogers in the therapy room: A listing of session transcripts and a survey of publications referring to Rogers’ therapy sessions. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 2.4: 274–291.

                                  DOI: 10.1080/14779757.2003.9688320Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Contains an extensive listing of Rogers’s sessions, some of which are also included, as full session transcripts, in Farber, et al. 1996.

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                                  • Patterson, “Pat” Cecil H. 2000. Understanding psychotherapy: Fifty years of client-centred theory and practice. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                    Patterson, who studied with Rogers at the University of Chicago, selected thirty-four of his own papers on psychotherapy that spanned five decades for the following book. This text addresses critical themes within the therapeutic process.

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                                    • Rogers, Carl R. 1951. Client centered therapy. London: Constable.

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                                      Historically speaking, this groundbreaking and revolutionary text sets out the theoretical and fundamental foundations of person-centered therapy as we know it. Also includes important contributions by other colleagues working within allied fields including education, group work, training, and play therapy.

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                                      • Rogers, Carl R. 1961. On becoming a person. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

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                                        Compiled by Rogers after working for over thirty years as a therapist. This warm text is a collection of his papers and articles (that had hitherto only been published in professional journals) for wider dissemination to all those interested in human change and development. Of interest particularly to those engaged within the many allied “human relations” professions. Rogers’s dedication to the development of knowledge and practice in the specific context of tensions within relationships is manifest here, and much of the contents still have contemporary significance.

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                                        • Rogers, Carl R., and David E. Russell. 2002. Carl Rogers, the quiet revolutionary: An oral history. Roseville, CA: Penmarin.

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                                          Compiled by David Russell through extensive interviews with Carl Rogers in 1985, this oral history of Rogers’s life and work, illuminated throughout with contributions from eminent colleagues from around the world, gives an insight into Rogers’s unique capacities as a humane, sensitive thinker, and researcher and practitioner. Provides a rich resource of his own reflections upon his career contributions.

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                                          • Schmid, Peter F. 2005. The Carl Rogers bibliography of English and German sources. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 4.3–4: 153–265.

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                                            This excellent reference resource, the fruit of many years of compilation, occupies two full editions of the journal. Peter Schmid has also compiled an extensive website on the person-centered approach, providing references to publications, international journals and associations, and current PCA events.

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                                            • Thorne, Brian, with Pete Sanders. 2013. Carl Rogers. 3d ed. London: SAGE.

                                              DOI: 10.4135/9781446289051Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              This succinct text contains five substantial chapters that include an account of Rogers’s life, his major theoretical and practical contributions, criticisms and rebuttals, and finally an account of his overall influence. While this book contains a select bibliography of his work, readers are advised to consult either Kirschenbaum 2007 or Schmid 2005 for a more definitive and complete listing.

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                                              Philosophical Fundamentals

                                              The person-centered therapy espoused in Rogers 1951 is based on a specific view of human nature (Rogers 1957). Rogers outlined his ontological premise as a view of human beings as essentially basically trustworthy, socially constructive, positive, and capable of self-regulation. This view of human nature was a departure from the dominant views that were shaped by psychoanalytic and behaviorist understandings that viewed human beings as destructive or as a blank slate respectively. His radical ontology suggests the client is their own best expert on what would be the next right step (Gendlin 1962) for them in their personal growth. Brodley 2011 suggests that the therapist adopts an ethical stance toward the client and refrains from directing or coaxing the client toward any particular predetermined or therapist preferred outcome or goal for therapy. Rogers 1963a suggests that the therapist adopts this stance in relation to the client because the client is considered to be motivated by an intrinsic potential for personal growth and development. Further, Rogers 1963b and Rogers 1964 note that the therapist engages in a therapeutic relationship with the client whom they are attempting to understand and unconditionally accept the client’s phenomenological experiencing. It is the client who is considered the one that knows their experience best. Therefore, the therapist is striving for a deep empathic understanding of what it is like to be the client in each moment of experiencing. The therapist strives to understand and accept the entire client’s experiencing through an encounter that is a dialogue. This dialogue is one that Rogers and Buber (Kirschenbaum and Henderson 1989) considered to be like that of an “I-Thou” relationship. Schmid 2003 notes that the encounter can lead to a positive growth experience for the client.

                                              • Brodley, Barbara T. 2011. The nondirective attitude in client-centered therapy. In Practicing client-centered therapy: Selected writings of Barbara Temaner Brodley. Edited by Kathryn A. Moon, Marjorie Witty, Barry Grant, and Bert Rice, 47–62. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                As an ethical development within psychotherapy the non-directive attitude is a radical alternative to therapist “expertism.” Rogers emphasized the importance of experiencing as his theory become more philosophically and experientially oriented. Barbara Brodley is best known as a proponent of the classical school. This book distils her work and includes papers that must be read by trainees and scholars that want to understand the classical person-centered therapist’s philosophy.

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                                                • Gendlin, Eugene T. 1962. Experiencing and the creation of meaning: A philosophical and psychological approach to the subjective. New York: Free Press of Glencoe.

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                                                  In developing Rogers’s theory of experiencing Gendlin also developed a technique to support fuller experiencing in the session. This experiential philosophy was the result of many years working alongside Rogers. The experiential paradigm outlined in this book offers a serious philosophy of the subjective creation of meaning from experience. It is essential reading for person-centered therapists wishing to follow Rogers’s later work and explicit trajectory toward the experiential.

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                                                  • Kirschenbaum, Howard E., and Valerie Land Henderson. 1989. Carl Rogers: Dialogues: Conversations with Martin Buber, Paul Tillich, BF Skinner, Gregory Bateson, Michael Polanyi, Rollo May, and others. London: Constable.

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                                                    When advancing his theory Rogers willingly engaged with the work of other critical and key thinkers of his time. This book is an excellent compilation of edited transcripts of a number of dialogues between Rogers with prominent thinkers and philosophers. Of particular relevance to the philosophy of person-centered therapy is the dialogue with Martin Buber, Rollo May, and B. F. Skinner.

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                                                    • Rogers, Carl R. 1951. The attitude and orientation of the counsellor. In Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. By Carl Rogers, 19–64. London: Constable.

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                                                      Chapter 2 in Rogers’s classic 1951 textbook on client-centered therapy highlights a number of important assertions regarding therapist attitudes and their “implementation.” Emphasized how the therapist attempts to enter the client’s frame of reference, as well as an early presentation of empathic understanding as an attitude that can be honed. This concept was set alongside the idea that therapists will find their own creative ways of expressing this to clients. Rogers emphasized that freedom to practice as one’s authentic self was essential.

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                                                      • Rogers, Carl R. 1957. A note on the ‘nature of man.’ Journal of Counseling Psychology 4.3: 199–203.

                                                        DOI: 10.1037/h0048308Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        Rogers outlines the basic underlying theory on the view of human nature. Human nature is presented as being broadly trustworthy, tending toward development, differentiation, and cooperative relationships. Human nature is also intrinsically inclined toward self-regulation and is socially constructive. This is the ontological assumption underlying person-centered theory and is succinctly presented in a single paper.

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                                                        • Rogers, Carl R. 1963a. The actualizing tendency in relation to ‘motives’ and to consciousness. In Nebraska symposium on motivation. Edited by Marshall R. Jones, 1–24. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

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                                                          Outlines the concept of the actualizing tendency. This is considered by many to be the central theoretical concept underpinning person-centered therapy, and the philosophical implications of this concept are significant and profound. For Rogers, the actualizing tendency was the source of motivation for human growth and development. However, the concept is lacking empirical evidence yet remains a significantly influential, radical, and foundational philosophical assumption of the person-centered approach.

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                                                          • Rogers, Carl R. 1963b. Toward a science of the person. Journal of Humanistic Psychology 3.2: 72–92.

                                                            DOI: 10.1177/002216786300300208Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Rogers addresses the epistemological standpoint of the person-centered approach. Presenting a clearly differentiated field in terms of the ways of knowing in psychology he refers to the subjective, objective, and the interpersonal-phenomenological ways of knowing. For person-centered therapy this latter form is presented as the main way of knowing with empathic understanding presented as the means to interpersonal-phenomenological knowing.

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                                                            • Rogers, Carl R. 1964. Toward a modern approach to values: The valuing process in the mature person. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 68.2: 160–167.

                                                              DOI: 10.1037/h0046419Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              What does it mean to be a person? Rogers addresses this issue here, distinguishing the philosophical preference of “valuing” over “values.” The former indicates a “valuing process” while the latter indicates a static “set of values.” The valuing process is organismic. Argues that organismic valuing is universal or common in its direction toward constructive enhancement of individuals and community or, it is argued, for the species.

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                                                              • Schmid, Peter F. 2003. The characteristics of a person-centered approach to therapy and counselling: Criteria for coherence and identity. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 2.2: 104–120.

                                                                DOI: 10.1080/14779757.2003.9688301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                The philosophy of encounter has become important to many that follow the approach. Schmid presents the relational and dialogical aspects of encounter philosophy as the core features that give person-centered therapy its unique and distinctive identity. This paper also reiterates Rogers’s perspective on person. Interestingly, person is given precedence over experiencing.

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                                                                Personality and Developmental Theory

                                                                Rogers 1951 develops a theory of personality and development that has made a significant contribution to the field of psychological study of the self and forms the basis for the concomitant theory of therapy. Rogers’s theory was a significant contribution in that it took the field beyond the focus on psychoanalysis and behaviorism—namely looking at the destructive and pathological aspects of human functioning. Instead Rogers 1963 presented a theory of personality that was growth oriented and proposed the idea of the fully functioning person. Earlier in his academic career Rogers supervised two doctoral students whose publications were influential on the theory of personality. The first was Raimy 1948, which developed the notion of the “self-concept” theory. This linked to Rogers 1958 and its presentation of the theory of personality and development that put forward ideas such as the self as a process that is the center of their experiential phenomenal field. The theory suggests that reality is the field as it is perceived. Standal 1954 helped develop the concept of unconditional positive self-regard and conditions of worth that became central to personality and the self-concept. Rogers 1959 and its theory of personality and development, including the conditions of worth theory, proposed just two forms of defense that help to maintain self-consistency: denial and distortion of experience to awareness. Later, the theory emphasized the self as a process and seven stages of process that describe the changes in self and personality that people experience as they grow are outlined. Warner 2009 critiques the explanatory power of the defense-based theory and conditions of worth theory as a development of personality theory. As an alternative Warner offers an actualization-based theory that supports the radical element of self, process, and agency and sees difficult processes as a way of understanding psychological distress. Warner’s theory of difficult process was largely accepted as a development of the theory until Hook and Murphy 2016 challenged this. The theory of personality and development is in something of a revival in the field of person-centered theory. Perhaps one area this has been most obvious is in the area of posttraumatic growth, as shown in Joseph 2004, where constructive personality change and development following trauma is seen as the natural consequence when the right social environmental conditions are available (Murphy, et al. 2015).

                                                                • Hook, Louis, and David Murphy. 2016. Related but not replaceable: A response to Warner’s reworking of Rogers’ personality theory. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 15.4: 285–299.

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                                                                  Hook and Murphy consider the claims made by Warner 2009 regarding the limitations of the theory of conditions of worth and the explanatory power of complex forms of distress. The paper argues that conditions of worth are an integral aspect of a difficult process conception of distress rather than these being separate. This paper marks the renewed interest in Rogers’s theory of personality as a focus for further research.

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                                                                  • Joseph, Stephen. 2004. Client-centred therapy, post-traumatic stress and post-traumatic growth: Theoretical perspectives and practical implications. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice 77:101–120.

                                                                    DOI: 10.1348/147608304322874281Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                    Provides a cogent account of the phenomenology of posttraumatic stress symptoms using person-centered theory. For many years person-centered practitioners have tended to avoid using diagnostic terms, but this paper shows how posttraumatic stress can be reframed within a growth paradigm and how personality development can follow adverse life experiences.

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                                                                    • Murphy, David, Evangelia Demetriou, and Stephen Joseph. 2015. A cross-sectional study to explore the mediating effect of intrinsic aspiration on the association between unconditional positive self-regard and posttraumatic growth. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 14.3: 201–213.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/14779757.2015.1051238Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      The concepts of posttraumatic growth and person-centered personality theory have been linked empirically in this paper. The paper considers the hypothesis that intrinsic aspirations mediate the association between conditions of worth as measured by level of unconditional positive self-regard and posttraumatic growth. Research into the person-centered personality theory is undergoing a revival and this paper suggests a number of areas for further research.

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                                                                      • Raimy, Victor C. 1948. Self-reference in counseling interviews. Journal of Consulting Psychology 12.3: 153–163.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1037/h0056600Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Looks at the early development of Rogers’s theory of development, personality, and the self-concept. The paper is an empirical analysis that tests hypotheses associated with changes in self-reference by clients in person-centered counselling.

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                                                                        • Rogers, Carl R. 1951. A theory of personality and behaviour. In Client-centered therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. By Carl R. Rogers, 481–533. London: Constable.

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                                                                          Chapter 11 is probably the first time Rogers had set out his theory of personality and development in such comprehensive form. The chapter gives an in-depth account of the theory presented as nineteen propositions. Much of the theory presented in this chapter remains central to the theory in the 21st century and has held up under empirical study and analysis.

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                                                                          • Rogers, Carl R. 1958. A process conception of psychotherapy. American Psychologist 13:142–149.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1037/h0042129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            As Rogers developed this theory he increasingly emphasized the elements of process and experiencing. In this chapter, these concepts are explored. Personality change is presented in process terms. Experience is processed differently as the person moves from fixity to fluidity and from being closed to open. The paper describes seven key stages of change as the person develops.

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                                                                            • Rogers, Carl R. 1959. A theory of therapy, personality and interpersonal relationships, as developed in the client-centered framework. In Psychology: A Study of a Science. Formulations of the person and the social context. Vol. 3. Edited by Sigmund Koch, 184–256. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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                                                                              This chapter is the point at which Rogers’s theory of personality and development is set out most thoroughly both in the context of relationships and also psychotherapy. The chapter is often referred to as being his seminal contribution to the field, and scholars of the person-centered approach are urged to read this chapter. Even for those outside the approach but with an interest in it, this chapter will give more than a superficial explication of the key concepts underlying personality development and change.

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                                                                              • Rogers, Carl R. 1963. The concept of the fully functioning person. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice 1.1: 17–26.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1037/h0088567Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Rogers put forward a theory of personality and development that is a growth-oriented approach. This paper introduces the concept of the fully functioning person. The fully functioning person as it is outlined in this chapter is described in process terms. The description emphasizes the self as open to new experiences, without defenses, realistic, adaptable, and creative. The concept remains of interest to the contemporary field of positive psychology.

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                                                                                • Standal, Stanley W. 1954. The need for positive regard: A contribution to client-centered theory. PhD diss., Univ. of Chicago.

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                                                                                  This doctoral thesis is essential reading for anyone interested in developing a thorough understanding of the concept of conditions of worth, unconditional positive self-regard, unconditional positive regard, and the theoretical and practical consistency of these concepts between personality development and personality change.

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                                                                                  • Warner, Margaret S. 2009. Defense or actualisation? Reconsidering the role of processing, self and agency within Rogers’ theory of personality. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 8.2: 109–126.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/14779757.2009.9688484Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    In this paper the three main aspects of Rogers’s theory are presented as self, process, and agency. Warner challenges the notion that conditions of worth theory can sufficiently explain a wide variety of forms of distress. Instead, a difficult process conception of distress is presented as an alternative to a defense-based system.

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                                                                                    Theory of Disorder and Health

                                                                                    From a person-centered perspective, mental health is based upon the hypothesis of a person who is constantly evolving toward complexity and toward effective self-creation as a sovereign human being. Rogers 1959 (cited under Personality and Developmental Theory) posited theoretically that childhood development is impacted in the direction of psychological maladjustment through the experience of critical evaluation by significant others with the result that that person’s symbolization of themselves as lovable becomes dependent on acceptable behavior as deemed by others. In order to preserve a positive self-concept, the child learns to deny or distort their experience. These two basic mechanisms of defense (denial and distortion) serve to avoid threat and confusion but result in incongruence between one’s self-concept, experience, and behavior. Cooper 2013 and Warner 2007 reveal that this incongruence fosters a condition of psychological maladjustment that ultimately may lead to suffering. It is through these hypotheses generated by Carl Rogers and by later writers within the person-centered approach that the development of health and disorder (i.e., pathology and disturbance) is understood. Hipólito, et al. 2014 notes that careful examination of the evolution of health and disorder in person-centered thinking evidences that Rogers was not against the traditional diagnosis system. Instead, he challenged the suitability of different traditional diagnosis methods in understanding disorders or troubles in processing experiences. Person-centered practitioners routinely engage in therapy work with clients who have diagnosed disorders but understand human psychological distress and disorder through the lens of incongruence and psychological maladjustment (Sommerbeck 2003 and Pearce and Sommerbeck 2014; see also the latter reference in Client-and Process-Specific Aspects). Hipólito, et al. 2014 and Joseph 2017 note that it is through the process of therapy that a collaborative understanding of the client‘s experience and incongruence develops. Lago 2017 and Brites, et al. 2016 also accept that other factors such as trauma through life events (existential givens) can contribute to the etiology of psychopathology or troubles in processing experiences. Bozarth 2013 reflects that from Rogers onward, person-centered therapists have believed that therapy contributes to the dissolution of conditions of worth, thus reducing the impact of experienced psychological maladjustment.

                                                                                    • Bozarth, Jerold. 2013. Person-centred therapy: A revolutionary paradigm. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                      First published in 1998 and reprinted numerous times, this well-structured book presents twenty papers that are an encapsulation of sections of theory and philosophy of the person-centred approach, therapeutic practice, research, and wider implications of the approach. It is an essential read for trainees and seasoned practitioners alike.

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                                                                                      • Brites, Rute, Odete Nunes, and João Hipólito. 2016. Psychopathology and the person centred perspective. In The person centred counselling and psychotherapy handbook: Origins, developments and current applications. Edited by Colin Lago and Divine Charura, 91–101. Maidenhead, UK: Open Univ. Press.

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                                                                                        This accessible and immensely readable chapter provides the reader with an in-depth examination of psychopathology, psycho-emotional development and relational diagnosis from a person-centered perspective.

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                                                                                        • Cooper, Mick. 2013. Developmental and personality theory. In The handbook of person-centered therapy. 2d ed. Edited by Mick Cooper, Maureen O’Hara, Peter F. Schmid, and Arthur C. Bohart, 118–135. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.

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                                                                                          This chapter offers key person-centered theoretical explanations to human and personality development. It outlines the processes that contribute to psychological difficulties. Its critical perspectives make it an essential read for those interested in understanding developmental and personality theory from a person-centered perspective.

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                                                                                          • Hipólito, João, Odete Nunes, and Rute Brites. 2014. Working with diagnosis within psychiatric settings: About diagnosis, evolution and paradigm shift. In The therapeutic relationship handbook: Theory and practice. Edited by Divine Charura and Stephen Paul, 196–206. Maidenhead, UK: Open Univ. Press.

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                                                                                            This distinguished chapter offers an in-depth examination of the evolution of person-centered thinking on the biomedical diagnosis system. With its emphasis on the therapeutic relationship, and trust in the inherent potential within each individual for self-direction, this chapter outlines how different the person-centered approach is from other orientations when working with those who have psychiatric diagnoses.

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                                                                                            • Joseph, Stephen. 2017. Person-centred therapy and mental health: Theory research and practice. 2d ed. Monmouth, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                              First published in 2005 as Person-Centred Psychopathology, this expanded and updated text captures leading research, policymaking, and person-centered thinking on understanding mental health. Outlines different models that are being successfully applied therapeutically in mainstream contexts when working with those who are marginalized or who would otherwise be diagnosed with severe mental ill-health.

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                                                                                              • Lago, Colin. 2017. A person centred perspective on diagnosis and psychopathology in relation to minority identity, culture and ethnicity. In Person-centred therapy and mental health: Theory research and practice. 2d ed. Edited by Stephen Joseph, 167–185. Monmouth, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                Explores the development of pathology and disturbance in relation to persons of “minority group” status in society. Its distinct contribution is the synthesis of person-centered conceptualizations of the development of distress, with the impact of transition, culture shock, oppressed ancestry and transgenerational trauma. This is an essential read for all therapists interested in working competently with clients from minority groups.

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                                                                                                • Pearce, Peter, and Lisbeth Sommerbeck, eds. 2014. Person-centred practice at the difficult edge. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                  Authored and edited by leading person-centered practitioners, this book has an extensive scope. It is divided into three sections (1) practice, (2) conceptualizations that support practice, and (3) research. A “must read” to increase awareness of challenges to widely held beliefs that person-centered therapy is unsuitable for clinical presentation of those affected by different conditions such as learning disabilities, autism, psychosis, dementia, trauma, sexual abuse, and psychotic process.

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                                                                                                  • Sommerbeck, Lisbeth. 2003. The client-centred therapist in psychiatric contexts: A therapists’ guide to the psychiatric landscape and its inhabitants. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                    This book’s alternative approach to working with severely disturbed clients and its distinct emphasis on bridging the gap between psychiatric practice and a person-centered therapeutic approach makes it an essential read for all who work in multidisciplinary teams within psychiatric contexts.

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                                                                                                    • Warner, Margaret. 2007. Client incongruence and psychopathology. In The handbook of person-centred therapy. Edited by Mick Cooper, Maureen O’Hara, Peter F. Schmid, and Gill Wyatt, 164–167. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.

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                                                                                                      This chapter provides a concise overview of person-centered models of psychopathology and a critical synthesis of psychiatry and person-centered practice. The focus on research and reflections for the future make this chapter a “must read” for those who want to learn more about client incongruence and psychopathology.

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                                                                                                      Theory of Therapy

                                                                                                      The person-centered theory of therapy can be found in a considerable number of texts, but a concise start is in Raskin, et al. 2010. At the heart of this theory is the centrality of the quality of the therapeutic relationship, as defined initially in Rogers 1951 (cited under Philosophical Fundamentals and Personality and Developmental Theory.) Indeed, the Rogers 1957 conceptualization of the six conditions for therapeutic personality change has probably become the most well-known of his ideas in both the professional arena of counseling and psychotherapy as well as in the wider world. These conditions have been extensively considered in a series of volumes (Wyatt 2001), their precise nature and specific references are cited as follows: Wyatt and Sanders explores the nature of psychological contact (Contact and Perception. Vol. 4, 2002), Wyatt 2001 asserts that the client is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious, and that the therapist is congruent or integrated in the relationship. Bozarth and Wilkins notes that the therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client (Unconditional Positive Regard. Vol. 3, 2001). Haugh and Merry notes that the therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference and endeavors to communicate this experience to the client (Empathy. Vol. 2, 2001). Wyatt and Sanders finally adds that the communication to the client of the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a minimal degree achieved, Thorne 2012 posits a conceptual view of the above conditions within a wider philosophic and spiritual perspective that he called “tenderness.” Prouty, et al. 2002 substantially reinvigorated the primary condition of contact through their work with “contact-impaired” clients. (See also Sub-Orientations and Offshoots and Client- and Process-Specific Aspects.) Mearns and Cooper 2005 further develops the thinking around the therapeutic relationship by introducing the notion of “relational depth”. Mearns, et al. 2013 offers further insights into the theory and practice of person-centered therapy, including the theoretical conceptualization of configurations of self. Over time Rogers 1959 came to view personality change in terms of process and developed a seven stage conceptualization to describe this. Worsley 2002, among others, develops this perspective with his book on process work within person-centered therapy.

                                                                                                      • Mearns, Dave, and Mick Cooper. 2005. Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                        This book somewhat expanded the notion of therapeutic relationship into relational encounter in which the therapist and client experience profound moments of deep contact with each other and through which the client meets deep parts within themselves.

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                                                                                                        • Mearns, Dave, Brian Thorne, and John McLeod. 2013. Person-centred counselling in action. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                          First published in 1988, this bestseller offers a detailed compilation of the theory and practice of person-centered therapy. With chapters on the therapist’s use of self, empathy, unconditional positive regard, beginnings, middles and endings of therapeutic relationships, this book is an invaluable resource.

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                                                                                                          • Prouty, G., D. Van Werde, and M. Pörtner. 2002. Pre-therapy. Reaching contact-impaired clients. Ross on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                            A comprehensive compendium of pretherapy philosophy, theory, and practice. It draws from over thirty years of work within psychiatric contexts in the United States and Europe. With pretherapy being one of the important evolutions in person-centered therapy, this is an essential text for anyone working with those whose ability to maintain psychological contact is impaired. The original version was published 1998 in German.

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                                                                                                            • Raskin, Nathaniel J., Carl R. Rogers, and Marjorie C. Witty. 2010. Client-Centred Therapy. In Current psychotherapies, 9th ed. Edited by Raymond J. Corsini and Danny Wedding, 148–195. Belmont, UK: Wadsworth.

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                                                                                                              This chapter outlines the historical origins, underlying philosophical assumptions, and central theoretical concepts of client-centered psychotherapy. The chapters’ specific structure enables comparison of client-centered psychotherapy with other theoretical orientations.

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                                                                                                              • Rogers, Carl R. 1951. Client-centered therapy. London: Constable.

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                                                                                                                Offers a clear exposition on the classical practice of person-centered therapy. The chapters in the book outline the development and practice of the approach in relation to the nature of personality, the mechanisms that determine human behavior, and the process of psychological maladjustment.

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                                                                                                                • Rogers, Carl R. 1957. The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology 21.2: 95–103.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/h0045357Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Interestingly, this paper was written after Rogers’s 1959 chapter, (see also under General Overviews, Carl Rogers (b. 1902–d. 1987, Founder of Person-Centered Therapy), Personality and Developmental Theory), which was delayed in the publication process. Here Rogers strives to elucidate, with accuracy and clarity, the conditions he considered necessary and sufficient for therapeutic change to occur.

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                                                                                                                  • Rogers, Carl R. 1959. A tentative scale for the measurement of process in psychotherapy. In Research in Psychotherapy. Vol. 1. Edited by Eli A. Rubenstein and Morris B. Parloff, 96–107. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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                                                                                                                    This paper reveals Rogers’s attempt to describe and delineate the unfolding process of therapeutic change in clients. This scale has proved of immense help to practitioners, providing a method for reflection upon their work, and has simultaneously attracted critique if used simply as a stage theory.

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                                                                                                                    • Thorne, Brian. 2012. The quality of tenderness. In Counselling and spiritual accompaniment: Bridging faith and person-centred therapy. By Brian Thorne, 31–41. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

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                                                                                                                      Thorne presents a spiritually focused perspective of person-centered practice from over forty years of psychotherapy experience. He argues that tenderness is a sublime culmination and combination of the conditions that facilitate therapy. This chapter is an invaluable guide for practitioners for whom the spirituality of their clients matters.

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                                                                                                                      • Worsley, Richard. 2002. Process work in person-centred therapy: Phenomenological and existential perspectives. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave.

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                                                                                                                        In the author’s words: “The key theme which unites the diverse parts of this book is this: to understand the client-in-process, to root this in its philosophical background and to integrate other aspects of humanistic theory, all contributing to an increased ability in the therapist to empathise with the client.”

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                                                                                                                        • Wyatt, Gill, ed. 2001. Rogers’ therapeutic conditions: Evolution, theory and practice. 4 vols. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                          This series of four volumes are dedicated to an extended theoretical exploration of Rogers’s “necessary and sufficient” conditions for personality change. Frequently critiqued for the theory’s apparent simplicity, this extensive collection of papers by international authors reflect a depth of scholarly attention to these therapeutic relational hypotheses.

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                                                                                                                          Sub-Orientations and Offshoots

                                                                                                                          Beyond the person-centered tradition as originally conceptualized by Rogers (see also Carl Rogers (b. 1902–d. 1987, Founder of Person-Centered Therapy) additional sub-orientations have evolved that differ from the orthodox person-centered stance. The Primary Bibliography of Eugene T. Gendlin contains the collected works of Eugene Gendlin, a former colleague of Rogers and pioneer of experiential therapy, who developed from the 1960s onward what is known now as focusing-oriented therapy; see also Gendlin 1996 and Gendlin Online Library under Practice, Methods and Techniques). Greenberg 2011 is a concise source for what has been introduced as process-experiential therapy in the 1980s by Greenberg and associates, a combination of person-centered and Gestalt therapy, later being called emotion-focused therapy. The experiential extension finds its terminological correspondence in “person-centered/experiential approaches in psychotherapy and counseling.” Another branch within the person-centered family underlines the therapist’s genuineness, transparency, and resonance. Mearns and Cooper 2005 provides an example of such a two-person-centered therapy, labeled relational depth. Kessel van and Lietaer 1997, on the other hand, in a specific interpersonal orientation puts the focus on the client’s interactional patterns. Existential aspects within the person-centered framework have been accentuated in Cooper 2003. Particularly in some mainland European countries, disorder-specific and structured treatment procedures were advocated, adding another sub-orientation to the person-centered tribes (see e.g., Swildens 2015 under Client- and Process-Specific Aspects). In the late 1970s Garry Prouty came up with how to respond to clients who are “out of contact” (e.g., psychotic, autistic, demented, cognitive disabled, and brain-damaged persons). The application of “contact reflections” he has elaborated is demonstrated in Prouty, et al. 2002. (See also Theory of Therapy and Practice, Methods, and Techniques.) Transcending the dyadic work with adults, other settings such as play therapy, group therapy, and therapy with families and couples based on person-centered principles were developed, (see the section on Work with Groups, Couples, Families, and Young People). Miller and Rollnick 2013 shows that motivational interviewing (MI) is grounded in the person-centered tradition but adds more directive ingredients to it. Originally developed while working with people with addictive behaviors, MI, also in other areas, aims to enhance motivation to change by following the client’s path but also by steering the client in a subtle way. Overviews of different sub-orientations of the person-centered/experiential paradigm are given in Sanders 2012, (see also Stumm 2013 in this section and Wilkins 2016).

                                                                                                                          • Cooper, Mick. 2003. Between freedom and despair: Existential challenges and contributions to person-centered and experiential psychotherapy. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 2.1: 43–56.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/14779757.2003.9688292Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            The paper refers to differences and affinities between person-centered/experiential and existential approaches and explores areas in which person-centered/experiential theory and practice can benefit from existential perspectives, in particular: freedom, limitations, being with others, and meaning.

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                                                                                                                            • Greenberg, Leslie S. 2011. Emotion-focused therapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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                                                                                                                              Concise delineation of the essentials concerning the claim to represent an integrative approach in its own right—with a chapter on empirical evaluation of the method and a glossary, an index of key words and recommended readings in the appendix. One of nineteen introductory pieces in the Theories of Psychotherapy series of the American Psychological Association.

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                                                                                                                              • Kessel van, Wim, and Germain Lietaer. 1997. Interpersonal processes. In The handbook of experiential therapy. Edited by Leslie S. Greenberg, Jeanne C. Watson, and Germain Lietaer, 155–177. New York: Guilford.

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                                                                                                                                Focuses on the exploration of the “here-and-now” interaction in psychotherapy. Emphasizes the therapeutic relationship not only in its quality as a factor of climate but as an arena for interactional patterns of the client and a medium for corrective interpersonal experiences, accompanied by metacommunication. This follows what was introduced by van Kessel and van der Linden elsewhere as “interactional orientation.”

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                                                                                                                                • Mearns, Dave, and Mick Cooper. 2005. Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                  Highlights a dialogical understanding of psychotherapeutic interactions thus challenging a classical person-centered stance by stressing the importance of intersubjectivity for personal development. Case examples illustrate the need of human beings for affiliation, especially in the psychotherapeutic context.

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                                                                                                                                  • Miller, William R., and Stephen Rollnick. 2013. Motivational interviewing. Helping people change. 3d ed. New York: Guilford.

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                                                                                                                                    This bestseller was first presented in 1991 by the originators of this therapeutic concept. Dealing with motivation, ambivalence, change talk, and resistance, the book offers practical guidelines for working with a broad spectrum of persons (see also the companion website online). Note that the later edition differs significantly from earlier ones (1991, 2002) proving an impressive evolution. This is echoed by a shift in the title from “Preparing . . .” to “Helping People to Change.”

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                                                                                                                                    • Primary Bibliography of Eugene T. Gendlin. 2007.

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                                                                                                                                      The updated bibliography, part of the homepage of The Focusing Institute, was compiled by Frans Depestele from Belgium, starting from 1950 to early-21st-century articles and comprises 260 titles with Gendlin as sole author and fifty-five contributions that he co-authored.

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                                                                                                                                      • Prouty, Garry, Dion Van Werde, and Marlis Pörtner. 2002. Pre-therapy: Reaching contact-impaired clients. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                        Originally published 1998 in German (Prä-Therapie. Stuttgart, Germany: Klett-Cotta) the book has three parts: First, Garry Prouty, the founder of pre-therapy, describes its touching background and its basics. Second, Belgian Dion Van Werde, distinguished representative of pre-therapy after Prouty’s death, depicts the application in the context of a “contact milieu” in a psychiatric ward. Third, Marlis Pörtner from Switzerland sketches further developments and implementations.

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                                                                                                                                        • Sanders, Pete, ed. 2012. The tribes of the person-centred nation. An introduction to the schools of therapy related to the person-centred approach. 2d ed. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                          Originally published in 2004 from a UK perspective, the book details the following tribes, each written by a qualified representative: classical, focusing-oriented, experiential, emotion-focused (EFT), existential, and integrative, plus expressive, pretherapy and relational depth. Note that EFT and supplements were added in the updated version. Side comments of the editor and authors of other chapters give the book a unique format.

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                                                                                                                                          • Stumm, Gerhard. 2013. Person-centered and experiential psychotherapies: An overview. In Interdisciplinary applications of the person-centered approach. Edited by Jeffrey H. Cornelius-White, Renate Motschnig-Pitrik, and Michael Lux, 23–41. New York: Springer.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-7144-8_3Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            This homogeneous overview with a “continental European touch” includes short characterizations of a number of sub-orientations: classical, dialogical, interactional, existential, disorder-specific, focusing-oriented therapy, integrative/eclectic, plus emotion-focused therapy, motivational interviewing, and therapeutic modes beyond the verbal level such as play therapy, creative, body, and constellation work.

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                                                                                                                                            • Wilkins, Paul, ed. 2016. Person-centred and experiential therapies: Contemporary approaches and issues in practice. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                              With a distinct emphasis on practice and from a UK-oriented point of view and elucidated in the editor’s introduction, the anthology unites contributions of experienced practitioners on classical, dialogical, focusing-oriented, experiential, emotion-focused, expressive arts creativity–based practices, complemented by a focus on specific client issues: posttraumatic, disability, and transcultural.

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                                                                                                                                              Practice, Methods, and Techniques

                                                                                                                                              The non-directive character of the therapeutic method in general and the crucial importance of the core conditions, which stress attitudes of the therapist, imply some reservation against naming systematic and schematic methods and techniques (see Theory of Therapy). Nevertheless, communicative processes are needed to implement the attitudes in behavioral terms so that they reach the client; in other words, ways (methods) as well as skills and abilities to apply procedures (techniques) are required, thus enabling person-centered therapy to be equated not only with “a way of being” but also with “a way of doing.” While, for example, Brodley 2011, Tolan and Cameron 2016, and Mearns, et al. 2013 all follow a strictly nondirective stance and underline the importance of the therapeutic relationship caution against preconceived interventions, nevertheless therapist responses are embedded in methodical procedures and at least retrospectively they can be labeled as techniques. In a rather systematic and process-directive spirit, Elliott, et al. 2004 presents practical guidelines within emotion-focused therapy (EFT). Gendlin 1996 outlines the essentials of FOT in an experiential manner. Gendlin Online Library provides almost all the writings of the founder of focusing-oriented therapy (FOT) as full texts (see also Primary Bibliography of Eugene T. Gendlin under Sub-Orientations and Offshoots). “Contact reflections” in pre-therapy are a specific tool to employ with “out of contact” clients (see Prouty, et al. 2002 under Sub-Orientations and Offshoots and Theory of Therapy). Rogers 2000 introduces arts therapy in a person-centered style as it was developed by, among others, Natalie Rogers, daughter of Carl Rogers, and thought as a means to exploit the creative potential of human beings. Koch 2012 and Finke 2013 cover another therapeutic arena: working with dreams. Stumm and Keil 2014 provides an overview of methods and techniques in person-centered practice.

                                                                                                                                              • Brodley, Barbara. 2011. A Chicago client-centered therapy: Non-directive and non-experiential. In Practicing client-centered therapy: Selected writings of Barbara Temaner-Brodley. Edited by Kathryn A. Moon, Marjorie Witty, Barry Grant, and Bert Rice, 4–27. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                Written in 2006, this article sheds light on a classical practice of person-centered therapy closely related to Carl Rogers’s style of working. In some way, this last paper of a leading figure of the person-centered nation who died two years later can be seen as a legacy. The collection of texts in which this one was published contains many other thoughtful contributions by her.

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                                                                                                                                                • Elliott, Robert, Jeanne C. Watson, Rhonda N. Goldman, and Leslie S. Greenberg. 2004. Learning emotion-focused therapy: The process-experiential approach to change. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1037/10725-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Elaborated and well-structured, this handbook on the practice of emotion-focused therapy is a must for those who want to learn both about the essentials and about more specific details. The reader is invited to consider relationship qualities as well as specific therapeutic tasks and treatment principles. The book offers helpful tables, figures, transcripts, and practical inputs such as techniques.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Finke, Jobst. 2013. Träume, Märchen, Imaginationen. Personzentrierte Psychotherapie und Beratung mit Bildern und Symbolen. Munich, Germany: Reinhardt.

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                                                                                                                                                    This distinguished German source highlights the importance of images and symbols as expressions of the organismic process and provides a clear structure for working with dreams, fairy tales, and imagination on a person-centered basis—illustrated by a broad range of practical examples.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Gendlin, Eugene T. 1996. Focusing-oriented psychotherapy: A manual of the experiential method. New York: Guilford.

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                                                                                                                                                      This is the key book from the pioneer of focusing as a psychotherapeutic method. It explores in depth the “bodily felt sense,” which enables small steps of client processing while conducting focusing (Part 1) but also by integrating it into avenues that are used by other therapeutic modalities (Part 2). Didactically, it impresses with excerpts of sessions with parallel commentary by the author.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Gendlin Online Library.

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                                                                                                                                                        The Focusing Institute provides 147 documents by Gendlin, approximately sixty being on focusing-oriented therapy—the majority as free downloads. Focusing-oriented scholars recommend three articles to start with, which also can be downloaded for free: The Client’s Client: The Edge of Awareness (1984), The Experiential Response (1968), A Theory of Personality Change (1964).

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                                                                                                                                                        • Koch, Andrea. 2012. Dreams and the person-centered approach: Cherishing client experiencing. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                          Drawing from vanguards of dream work, the booklet is based on person-centered and focusing sources. Dreams are addressed as an important path to actualization, and practitioners are encouraged to enter this path whenever possible. More than half of the book is dedicated to dream sessions with three different facilitators.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Mearns, Dave, Brian Thorne, and John McLeod. 2013. Person-centred counselling in action. 4th ed. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                                            This is a bestseller—over 100,000 copies sold—not least due to its focus on practical issues and its easily accessible language. Case examples and boxes that highlight specific themes illustrate the essence of the approach. While this study emphasizes the importance of the core conditions and the therapeutic process, there is also important discussion of dialogic accentuation of the therapeutic relationship (“relational depth”). A research chapter by John McLeod has been added.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Rogers, Natalie. 2000. The creative connection: Expressive arts as healing. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                              First published in 1993 by Science & Behavior Books in Palo Alto, California, this continues to be a classic in person-centered therapy using creativity. It describes how to make use of creative media in a systematic way, combining movement, writing, art, music, and meditation (known as the “Creative Connection”) as therapeutic channels. It is illustrated, indexed, and contains an appendix on materials.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Stumm, Gerhard, and Wolfgang W. Keil, eds. 2014. Praxis der Personzentrierten Psychotherapie. Vienna: Springer.

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                                                                                                                                                                A comprehensive compendium on the practice of person-centered psychotherapy, drawing from a variety of orientations (see section on Sub-Orientations and Offshoots), procedures (e.g., body work, creative media, imagination, dreams) and clinical applications (e.g., anxiety, eating, sexuality, and borderline personality disorders, addictive behavior, crisis intervention). In German by twenty-five authors from seven countries, with segments of therapeutic conversation and practical guidelines. Updated and slightly extended second edition to come in 2017.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Tolan, Janet, and Rose Cameron. 2016. Skills in person-centred counselling and psychotherapy. 3d ed. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                                                  First published in 2003, revised in 2012, this extended edition provides a helpful introduction to person-centered practice, which is entirely based on the conditions outlined by Carl Rogers. Informing trainees and practitioners with a practical guide, it is supported by a didactic concept that includes exercises, case examples, and recommendations for further reading at the end of each chapter. Part of the Skills in Counselling and Psychotherapy series.

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                                                                                                                                                                  Client- and Process-Specific Aspects

                                                                                                                                                                  Person-centered theory has expressed some reservation against static diagnoses and systematic treatment procedures related to different categories of disorder. At the same time its practice has seriously considered implications and challenges of the various specific manifestations of severe mental distress, which include: anxiety disorders, depression, personality disorders, eating problems, sexual problems, addictive behaviors, psychosomatic disorders and the consequences of trauma (see also Hipólito, et al. 2014 under Theory of Disorder and Health). Pearce and Sommerbeck 2014 (see also under Theory of Disorder and Health) as well as Wilkins and Tolan 2012 include different chapters in their books addressing a wide range of these problem areas (see also Stumm and Keil 2014 under Practice, Methods and Techniques). Warner 2016 elaborates upon working with clients who are often diagnosed as having borderline, narcissistic, or schizoid personality disorders. Interestingly there seems to have been a particular interest in considering the practice implications of such client aspects from within mainland European countries: Binder 1998 deals with psychotic phenomena, Binder and Binder 1999 explores the work with clients suffering from schizophrenic, psychosomatic, and depressive disorders. Eckert and Biermann-Ratjen 1998 and Vanaerschot 2013 reflect on (traumatized) people with borderline personality disorders, and Swildens 2015 is occupied with a broader range of categories of clients. Greenberg and Watson 2005 describes the application of Emotion-Focused Therapy with depressed persons (see also Sub-Orientations and Offshoots). The basics and practical guidelines for the work with contact disordered people is demonstrated in Prouty, et al. 2002 (see under Sub-Orientations and Offshoots).

                                                                                                                                                                  • Binder, Ute. 1998. Empathy and empathy development with psychotic clients. In Person-centred therapy: A European perspective. Edited by Brian Thorne and Elke Lambers, 216–230. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Explores the connection between severe mental disorders and the lack of empathy in a child’s primary caregiver and their later pathological developments. A greater understanding of that early relationship, she argues, combined with openness, transparency and capacity to communicate their experiencing will enhance the client relationship.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Binder, Ute, and Johannes Binder. 1999. Studien zu einer störungsspezifischen klientenzentrierten Psychotherapie: Schizophrene Ordnung, psychosomatisches Erleben, depressives Leiden. 3d ed. Eschborn, Germany: Klotz.

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                                                                                                                                                                      An in-depth exploration, in German, that captures the specificity of three categories of psychological disorder—schizophrenic, psychosomatic experiencing, and depression. The sub-titles underpin the phenomenological spirit in which this book is written. Avoiding both being overly general or too vague, this amazing book, despite its old-fashioned look, describes experience-near commonalities of people struggling with these problems. First edition published in 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Eckert, Jochen, and Eva-Maria Biermann-Ratjen. 1998. The treatment of borderline personality disorder. In Handbook of experiential psychotherapy. Edited by Leslie S. Greenberg, Jeanne C. Watson, and Germain Lietaer, 349–367. New York: Guilford.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Starting with developmental considerations the article depicts the characteristics of people diagnosed having a “borderline structure.” Aggressive impulses are interpreted as reaction to threats of the self. According to this premise and in contrast to psychoanalytic concepts, goals, principles, practical guidelines and prognosis of person-centered therapy with this population are elucidated and discussed. The highly qualified authors from Hamburg, Germany, draw from their enormous practical experience, not least in groups.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Greenberg, Leslie S., and Jeanne C. Watson. 2005. Emotion focused therapy for depression. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

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                                                                                                                                                                          Introduces practitioners to theory and treatment procedures of the presented method in order to work with people suffering from depression. Accompanied by research evidence for its effectiveness and case examples to demonstrate the techniques. This is an accessible account on the specific topic.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Pearce, Peter, and Lisbeth Sommerbeck, eds. 2014. Person-centred practice at the difficult edge. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Addresses the practice of person-centered psychotherapy with people suffering from a range of severe and enduring conditions. The various chapters discuss, among other subjects, clinical work with psychotic clients, those suffering post-traumatic stress, complex adolescent processes, and clients with fragile and difficult process. In the words of one reviewer, “The contributors hold the notion of empathy as a guiding light.” (See also Theory of Disorder and Health).

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Swildens, Hans. 2015. Prozessorientierte Gesprächspsychotherapie, 2d ed. Cologne, Germany: GwG.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Swildens is a Dutch psychiatrist with an extraordinary clinical expertise, presents “process-oriented” person-centered therapy, a modified form based on existential grounds and thought as especially indicated for persons with severe problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, addictive behavior, and personality disorders, all crucial categories in the book. The first edition was written in 1988 in Dutch (and translated into German in 1991), later modified in 1997, which corresponds to the mentioned citation.

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                                                                                                                                                                              • Vanaerschot, Greet. 2013. Working with interpersonal and intrapsychic anxiety through the empathically attuned therapeutic relationship. Person-centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 12.1: 3–15.

                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1080/14779757.2013.767749Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                Elaborates on how therapists can employ empathic attunement and regulation of interpersonal relationships to foster affect regulation and to address the deep interpersonal anxiety of traumatized borderline clients. Case vignettes as samples convey essential therapeutic skills and make this paper a most valuable compass both for theoretical context and practical implementation.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Warner, Margaret. 2016. Difficult process: Working with fragile and dissociated client experience. In The Person‐centred counselling and psychotherapy handbook: Origins, developments and current applications. Edited by Colin Lago and Divine Charura, 102–110. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw-Hill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Warner is a leading writer within person-centered psychotherapy on clients who are often diagnosed as having borderline, narcissistic, or schizoid personality disorders. In this chapter, starting with a description of “fragile” and “difficult” process and exploring the developmental roots of such conditions, she outlines the challenges experienced by therapists in working with clients who are frequently hard to understand and who seem to thwart any therapeutic intentions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Wilkins, Paul, and Janet Tolan, eds. 2012. Client issues in counselling and psychotherapy. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Ten chapters address the practice of person-centered psychotherapy within the arenas of loss and bereavement, posttraumatic stress, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety and panic, experience of different realities, drug and alcohol abuse, eating problems and self-injury. Amply illustrated with client examples, each chapter illuminates how the theory and the practice contribute to client change.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Diversity

                                                                                                                                                                                    Dating back to the earliest days of person-centered therapy, issues of diversity have been recognised and respected. In 1977 Carl Rogers participated in two specific demonstration therapy interviews with an African American client, these interviews being later substantially reexamined in Moodley, et al. 2004. While person-centered therapists particularly (but not solely) within the United States argued to continue to work within the relational paradigm set out by Rogers, practitioners within the United Kingdom, for example Singh and Tudor 1997, began to consider more seriously the impact of the societal and cultural context within which client and therapists found themselves. Inevitably, issues such as power differentials (Proctor 2002) majority and minority identity, (Proctor 2004; Lago 2006) and discrimination capacity became serious subjects for further exploration within therapeutic work (Proctor 2004; Lago and Charura 2016). The conceptual arenas of “diversity” expanded in the last decades of the 20th century to include race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, class, age, disability, and faith; and these are considered in more depth in Kearney 1996 (on class), Proctor, et al. 2006 (on feminism), and Lago and Smith 2010, (which addresses antidiscriminatory practice related to racism, young people, sexuality and gender, disfigurement, religion, older people, and those suffering serious distress). Lago and Charura 2016 details the use of the person-centered approach in the Middle East, explores white and minority therapist identity, considers disfigurement and disability, explore related philosophical positions in relation to diversity and offer suggestions for professional development. Lago and Moodley 2011 is a special issue of the World Association Journal dedicated to “Diversity and Therapy” and features articles on disability, gay and lesbian identity, and disfigurement as well as exploring oppression within society and theoretical issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kearney, Anne. 1996. Counselling, class & politics: Undeclared influences in therapy. Manchester, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      Argues that politics and class matter at every level of the counseling profession. The book contains chapters on social class and poverty and posits questions for therapists to reflect on when working with these areas of diversity. With considerations of the effect of class and politics, this book is a key read on these aspects of diversity within the counseling field.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lago, Colin. 2006. Race, culture and counselling: The ongoing challenge. 2d ed. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw-Hill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Written by person-centered therapists this substantially expanded text addresses the specific elements of race, culture, and ethnicity and considers the consequences of these identities within the psychotherapeutic setting. First edition published in 1996 by Lago and Thompson.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Lago, Colin, and Divine Charura, eds. 2016. The handbook of person-centred counselling and psychotherapy: Origins, developments and contemporary applications. Maidenhead, UK: McGraw-Hill.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Dedicated to presenting contemporary person-centered practice this text contains specific chapters addressing diversity by Dot Clark (conversations and context), Suzy Henry (disfigurement), Justin Hett (person-centered therapy in a Middle Eastern setting), Sheila Haugh (on white identity), Val Watson (on being a therapist from minority groups) and Colin Lago (multicultural competences).

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lago, Colin, and Roy Moodley, eds. 2011. Diversity and therapy. Special issue: Person Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies 10.4.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            This special edition of the journal of the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling reflects a wide concern for the delivery of “diversity-sensitive” practice. Features articles on lesbian and gay issues, disfigurement, disability, the depoliticization of inequalities and the societal mechanisms of oppression.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lago, Colin, and Barbara Smith. 2010. Anti-discriminatory practice in counselling and psychotherapy. London: SAGE.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Brings together a set of writers who address various diversity identities and consider the counseling implications. Issues such as racist trauma, child-centered work, sexuality, working with women, disfigurement, therapy with seriously distressed clients, religion, older people, refugees, class, disability, and intersectionality are all featured.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Moodley, Roy, Colin Lago, and Annisa Talahite, eds. 2004. Carl Rogers counsels a black client: Race and culture in person centred counselling. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                This unusual text features chapters by over thirty international authors reflecting upon two hours of filmed psychotherapeutic practice between Carl Rogers and a client of African American origin, recorded in 1977. The original films provide a stimulating template upon which contemporary “diversity-sensitive” practice is compared. (Video references: Carl Rogers counsels an individual, Part 1: “The Right to be Desperate” and Part II: “On Anger and Hurt.” Washington, DC: American Personnel and Guidance Association.)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Proctor, Gillian. 2002. The dynamics of power in counselling and psychotherapy: Ethics, politics and practice. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Addresses issues of power differentials within the therapy setting. This text has proved a significant contributor to psychotherapy literature across the differing theoretical boundaries and is regularly consulted in matters relating to difference and diversity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Proctor, Gillian. 2004. Encountering feminism: Intersections between feminism and the person-centred approach. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    This text conducts an exploration of the intersections between feminism and person-centered psychotherapy making the point that a feminist perspective gives an account of therapy within a context while person-centered approaches fail to consider the societal context.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Proctor, Gill, Mick Cooper, Pete Sanders, and Beryl Malcom, eds. 2006. Politicizing the person-centred approach: An agenda for social change. Ross-On-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      This outstanding and radical text contains eleven chapters (out of thirty-one) that directly relate to person-centered psychotherapeutic practice across diversity identities including class, language, theory and practice, working with refugees, asylum seekers, women, and racial identity.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Singh, Jasvinder, and Keith Tudor. 1997. Cultural conditions of therapy. The Person-Centered Journal 4:32–46.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Tudor and Singh discuss therapy in the context of culture and then examine and develop Rogers’s six conditions for therapeutic personality change from a cultural perspective. Interestingly argued and exemplified, this thoughtful paper raises many points for consideration in transcultural therapy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Work with Groups, Couples, Families, and Young People

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Working therapeutically with more than one person is inherent to person-centered therapy given its focus on relationship building and dialogical understanding of persons. Historically Rogers first developed his theoretical thinking while counseling parents and young people, and later in the 1940s the US government asked him to set up a large encounter group program for traumatized veterans returning from war-torn Europe. Working with groups, parents, and families has always been a parallel person-centered therapeutic strand to classical individual therapy. However, there was a slightly slower development of theoretical postulates within these strands of family and group work as compared to individual therapy. Nevertheless, such developments added to the therapeutic understanding and efficacy of group-work processes. By contrast, play therapy forged ahead with developments and became a well-established standalone strand with concept developments, ever-evolving practice, applied research, and conferences. Play therapy is more developed in the Anglo-American than in the mainland European and Japanese world. The book on play therapy, Axline 1947, transferred Rogers’s principles of individual therapy with adults to work with children. Landreth 2003 and Cochran, et al. 2010 draw from Axline’s classical facilitative concepts to build a comprehensive therapeutic method. Behr 2012 later proposed combining both classical and interactive styles in the play room, having the therapist play together with the child. Additionally, he transferred these ideas to work with young people. Guerney and Ryan 2013 introduced a major extension of play therapy which they called filial therapy. This program is designed to train parents in person-centered relationship building. By contrast, O’Leary 2012 works with families (parents and children) dialoguing with the family. This work nurtures family communication and conflict resolution in a truly person-centered way, while Greenberg and Goldman 2008 does the same with couples from an emotion-focused therapy perspective. There is no landmark book on group therapy since Rogers 1970 other than Lago and MacMillan 1996, which provides a more recent overview of the person-centered group work scene. Despite this lack of group-work literature, a wide range of handbook chapters have been published that offer further concepts and overviews, interestingly mostly coined from Flemish and Austrian therapists, an outstanding example being Snijders and Lietaer 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Axline, Virginia M. 1947. Play therapy: The inner dynamics of childhood. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          Easy wording and a touching plea for children’s undistorted growth. Still the basis for all modern concepts and the cradle of her famous eight principles.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Behr, Michael. 2012. Interaktionelle Psychotherapie mit Kindern und Jugendlichen. Göttingen, Germany: Hogrefe.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Picks up modern concepts from dialogical person-centered therapy and transfers this into play therapy. A practical guide both for classical and interactive interventions, both for children and young people and including parent work. A condensed version was published as an English journal paper: “Interactive Resonance in Work with Children and Adolescents - A Theory-based Concept of Interpersonal Relationship Through Play and the Use of Toys.” Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 2.2: 89–103.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cochran, Nancy H., William J. Nordling, and Jeff L. Cochran. 2010. Child-centered play therapy: A guide to developing therapeutic relationships with children. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              A comprehensive book (440 pp.), truly person-centered and practical, discussing a variety of play-therapists’ everyday problems including parents and filial therapy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Greenberg, Leslie S., and Rhonda N. Goldman. 2008. Emotion-focused couples therapy: The dynamics of emotion, love, and power. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1037/11750-000Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Transfers therapeutic principles from both person-centered and Gestalt therapy to work with couples. German translation from 2010: Die Dynamik von Liebe und Macht. Emotionsfokussierte Paartherapie (Munich: Reinhardt).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Guerney, Louise, and Virginia Ryan. 2013. Group filial therapy. London: Jessica Kingsley.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Latest practical and comprehensive “How-to” book from the founder of filial therapy Louise Guerney.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Lago, Colin, and Mhairi MacMillan. 1996. Experiences in relatedness: Group work and the person-centered approach. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Surprisingly, this is the first and only book published on person-centered group work (since Rogers 1970) that we know of and provides an edited collection of chapters from authors in several countries reflecting on examples of: small and large group work programs, efficacy of person-centered group therapy, diversity issues, and group work in professional counselor training.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Landreth, Garry L. 2003. Play therapy: The art of the relationship. 2d ed. New York: Brunner-Routledge.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The classical modernization of Axline’s principles maintains her original ideas but extends the account toward many practical questions and gives offers more details for possible interventions.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • O’Leary, Charles J. 2012. The practice of person-centered couple and family therapy. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1007/978-0-230-36160-7Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This text helps you to experience couple and family therapy when reading. A practical and heartwarming collection of ideas and examples for those in the middle of therapeutic work.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rogers, Carl R. 1970. On encounter groups. New York: Harper and Row.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The classical text of how to organize a group and what can be experienced. Written in the typical Rogerian “I-form” this book conveys many sensitive statements that illustrate just how serious and skillful Rogers was within the group work setting.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Snijders, Hans, and Germain Lietaer. 2014. Gruppenpsychotherapie. In Praxis der Personzentrierten Psychotherapie. Edited by Gerhard Stumm and Wolfgang W. Keil, 187–197. Vienna: Springer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1007/978-3-7091-1610-4_16Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A great overview, giving both theoretical arguments and practical considerations and suggestions. Also available in Flemish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Outcome and Process Research

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An array of research about the treatment’s effectiveness in different domains has been condensed into meta-analyses, some of which include comparisons with other paradigms of psychotherapy. All suggest medium to high effectiveness scores and equal effects compared to other treatments, especially to cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cooper, et al. 2010 is a major collection of research analysis from different domains within person-centered and experiential work. Angus, et al. 2015 provides a summary of such work. Lietaer 2016 provides an overview on the level of a most comprehensive research bibliography. File, et al. 2008 looks at the field from a German perspective. The focus on therapy outcome with adults comes from Elliott 2016 and reports on the author’s series of meta-analyses. Therapy outcome with children and young people is proofed by two major meta-analyses: from Hölldampf, et al. 2010, suggesting low to medium scores when focusing on symptoms, while the special focus on play therapy from Bratton, et al. 2005 reports medium to high scores equal to cognitive behavioral therapy. Motivational interviewing as well equals other bona fide therapies, as Lundahl, et al. 2010 reports. The outstanding comparative primary study Stiles, et al. 2006 shows that all methods have equal effects (see also under Theory of Disorder and Health). A model for qualitative and single case studies is given by Elliott, et al. 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Angus, L., J. C. Watson, R. Elliott, K. Schneider, and L. Timulak. 2015. Humanistic psychotherapy research 1990–2015: From methodological innovation to evidence-supported treatment outcomes and beyond. Psychotherapy Research 25:330–347.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1080/10503307.2014.989290Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Gives a comprehensive summary both on quantitative empirical outcome research and as well on qualitative research focusing on diverse process aspects within therapy. A brief historical review and a broad evaluating discussion give a fascinating frame.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Bratton, Sue C., Dee Ray, Tammy Rhine, and Leslie Jones. 2005. The efficacy of play therapy with children: A meta-analytic review of treatment outcomes. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 36.4: 376–390.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1037/0735-7028.36.4.376Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The pivotal study to prove the outcome of humanistic play-therapy. Seventy-three primary studies have a medium to high effect. Filial therapy outcome is included. This study gives many useful arguments for play therapy.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Cooper, Mick, Jeanne C. Watson, and Hölldampf Dagmar, eds. 2010. Person-centered and experiential therapies work. A review of the research on counseling, psychotherapy and related practices. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The major state-of-the-art-research handbook, including effect-score research, qualitative research, and special questions. Gives answers to diverse research-related issues and is politically most useful in proving PCE therapies to be as effective as cognitive-behavioral therapies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Elliott, Robert. 2016. Research on person-centred-experiential psychotherapy and counseling: Summary of findings. In The person-centred counselling and psychotherapy handbook: Origins, developments and contemporary considerations. Edited by Colin Lago and Divine Charura, 223–232. London: Open Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Provided evidence for the outcome of person-centered and experiential therapies through meta-analysis for decades and updates regularly. This is the latest report in a chapter that compares these therapies with other treatments. Six meta-analyses give evidence for a high effect that equals scores from cognitive-behavioral therapy. Convincing and politically useful.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Elliott, Robert, Rhea Partyka, John Wagner, et al. 2009. An adjudicated hermeneutic single case efficacy design study of experiential therapy for panic/phobia. Psychotherapy Research 19:543–557.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/10503300902905947Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An amazing model with two teams arguing pro and contra the therapy outcome. Makes single case studies relevant.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • File, Norbert, Robert Hutterer, Wolfgang W. Keil, Christian Korunka, and Brigitte Macke-Bruck. 2008. Forschung in der Klienten- bzw. Personzentrierten und Experienziellen Psychotherapie 1991–2008. Ein narrativer Review. Person 12.2: 5–32.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A readable and convincing review from a German perspective, touching on many aspects beyond mere outcome research.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Hölldampf, Dagmar, Michael Behr, and Ina Crawford. 2010. Effectiveness of person-centered and experiential psychotherapies with children and young people: A review of outcome studies. In Person-centered and experiential therapies work. Edited by Mick Cooper, Jeanne C. Watson, and Dagmar Hölldampf, 16–44. Ross-on-Wye, UK: PCCS.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The meta-analysis calculates outcome mainly based on symptom reduction and, where possible, it is broken down into specific disorders. It suggests a medium effect from eighty-three German- and English-language studies.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Lietaer, Germain. 2016. The research tradition in person-centered/experiential psychotherapy and counseling: Bibliographical survey 1940–2015. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies 15.2: 95–125.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/14779757.2016.1139503Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Provides a comprehensive collection of references on research and breaks it down into three parts: PCE outcome and process studies (overviews and meta-analyses), Research instruments based on/akin to PCE concepts, and PCE perspectives on ideological, professional, and methodological research issues.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Lundahl, Brad W., Chelsea Kunz, Cynthia Brownell, Derrik Tollefson, and Brian L. Burke. 2010. A meta-analysis of motivational interviewing: Twenty-five years of empirical studies. Research on Social Work Practice 20.2: 137–160.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/1049731509347850Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The mean effect of 119 studies is small but equals other treatments.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Stiles, William B., Michael Barkham, Elspeth Twigg, John Mellor-Clark, and Mick Cooper. 2006. Effectiveness of cognitive–behavioural, person-centred, and psychodynamic therapies as practised in UK National Health Service settings. Psychological Medicine 36:555–666.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1017/S0033291706007136Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thousands of clients in a natural therapy setting report equal effects of PCE, CBT, or psychodynamic therapy. The study is a replication of an earlier study with the same results. A German translation of the first study is available from 2007: Wirksamkeit Personzentrierter Therapie im Vergleich zu kognitiv-behavioralen und psychodynamischen Therapien, wie sie im Rahmen des britischen National Health Service praktiziert werden. Person 11.2: 105–113.

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