The purpose of this assignment is to review the case study of the therapeutic session of Dr Carl Rogers and his client, Gloria. I will give a brief account of the presenting problem and some theory of Person Centred Therapy to enable me to observe and analyse the techniques used as a strategy to self actualisation. Using transcripts, I will identify some of these skills and observe how effective they were by observing Gloria. I will discuss my opinion of the counselling session and evaluate Dr Rogers’ strengths and weaknesses. In closing I will provide my thoughts as to how he could have improved the therapy.
Initially, Gloria, a recently divorced woman, presented a problem with regards to “having men to the house” and “making love” with them. She admits that she has lied to her nine year old daughter, Pammy, about having sex since the divorce but that she is not comfortable with this deceit. She “so badly” wants her daughter to accept and trust her. Specifically, Gloria wanted to know if she should be truthful with her daughter or if such honesty could cause her daughter emotional harm. Her wish is that she can feel comfortable with herself even if it is against her own morals and upbringing.
In the course of the session she comes to the conclusion that she would like to work on accepting herself. Towards the end she suddenly changes direction and discloses how nice it is to talk to him and that wants his approval. She displays transference when she wishes that she could be so open with her own father and is using him, Dr Rogers, as a substitute. Although he does not respond to the statement, he does verbalise his closeness to her in this moment, meaning the “here and now”. Whilst reading the short vignette about the session, I visualised myself sitting with Gloria and feeling her conflicts.
I felt that I could relate to Gloria. Given the times that the therapy took place, I respected Gloria’s honesty and her acceptance of her libido as natural. I saw her as quite a worldly woman who was indeed, quite capable of addressing her problems and finding acceptable solutions. It was clear that she had previously given a lot of thought as to her moral upbringing and had already given herself much more freedom than previous generations. It was evident in that she had already observed that her body did not agree with her morals.
I felt her frustration of her wanting to tell Pammy the truth and her despair that nobody could give her the answers except herself. I felt that her talking and him clarifying, reflecting and summarizing elucidated her problems so that she could put some order to them and in doing so, empower herself to find the inner peace that she is looking for. Using the examples of transcripts, I will attempt to site the various skills used by Dr Rogers. These include the Person Centred Skills of congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathic understanding of the client.
Dr Rogers coined the term of “unconditional positive regard”, which “involves showing complete support and acceptance of a person no matter what that person says or does” (Cherry, n. d. ). Congruence implies that the counsellor is authentic and genuine and that he is present and transparent to the client and therefore there is no need for her to speculate about what the counsellor is ‘really like’ (Mulhauser, n. d. ). “Empathic understanding is a means that the counsellor accurately understands the client’s thoughts, feelings, and meanings from the client’s own perspective” (Mulhauser, n. . ). In the framework of counselling Dr Rogers informed Gloria of the time frame. “We have half an hour together an’ I really don’t know what we will be able to make of it but, uh, I hope we can make something of it. ” In the following dialogue Dr Rogers displays congruency by disclosing that he does not have the answers and thereby dispelling the myth that he is the “all knowing expert”. In his transparency he asks her for acknowledgement that he is understood. He also authenticates his belief in unconditional positive regard in that he will help her to find the answers within herself.
She smiles and confirms her understanding of his congruence. Gloria: “And I–I–I have a feeling like you’re just going to sit there and let me stew in it and I” (heh) I (heh, heh)” want more. (a seconds pause)” I want you to help me get rid of my guilt feeling. If I can get rid of my guilt feeling about lying, or going to bed with a single man, any of that, just so I can feel more comfortable. “ Dr Rogers: “Mm hm. And I guess I’d like to say, “No, I don’t want to let you just ‘stew’ in your feelings,” but on the other hand, I–I also feel that, this is the kind of, very private thing that I couldn’t possibly answer for you.
But I sure as anything will try to help you work toward your own answer. I don’t know if that makes any sense to you but I mean it. ” Gloria:” Well I appreciate you saying that. You sound like you mean it”. Gloria: “Right, all right then, I hear what you are saying. ” She thinks for a few seconds. “All right then I wanna work on accepting me then. I wanna work on feeling alright about it. ” She nods as thought to indicate that she now has clear direction as to a way to reach inner peace and in Person Centred Therapy, self actualization. “And really both alternatives really concern you.
She might think that you’re too good or better than you really are, or she might think that you are worse than you are”. This is a good example of summarising, and clarifying his understanding of what she has said whilst at the same time giving her an opportunity to correct him. Dr Rogers: “You can really listen to yourself sometimes and realize, “This isn’t the right feeling. This isn’t… “ Here he is reflecting her feelings and inner thoughts. Dr Rogers: “I’d like to ask, what is it you wish I would say to you” is a very good example of an open question.
During her explanation of her dilemma, he lent forward and nodded his head whilst he “mm hmmd” without interrupting her, using his body to communicate his unconditional positive regard and his voice to communicate to her that he is listening. She wishes that she could stop shaking and he laughs gently, again, non-judgementally, acknowledging her nervousness. I notice that at no point did she lean forward to mirror him but she seemed comfortable with the space. I consider the counselling session of Dr Rogers and Gloria to be successful in that he had clarified the initial problems and fears attached to them.
By permitting her to direct the therapy he was letting her free to find her own answers within and thereby enabling her to move forward towards self actualization. His main strengths are his ability to reflect and summarize Gloria’s feelings and inner conflict in a quiet, non-judgemental tone of voice. Her perception of his total understanding put her at ease and gave her the confidence to self discloses about a rather sensitive and personal topic. I think that his age had an added advantage in that she saw him as a father figure. She had admitted to feeling insecure and “not grown up”.
He handled the psychoanalytic concept of the transference of her feelings for her father onto him very well. By responding that she looked like a “Pretty nice daughter” and by reflecting her feelings for her “real” father he brought it to a halt. His gender could have been a disadvantage in the sense that it could have made the topic less easy to discuss, however, he overcame this by his total non-judgemental acceptance of the dialogue. His body language communicated unconditional positive regard in that he lent forward as if eager to listen to what she was saying.
His hands were still with an occasional movement of the fingers adding calmness to his already tranquil voice. This calmness eventually transferred to Gloria. I especially liked his use of his dialogue style, normal, everyday language as opposed to using words that are common with psychology and which the client would not have understood. He sidestepped the transference very well by In answer to the question of how I think that he could have improved the therapeutic session and I begin with her initial disclosure of being nervous and is response.
Gloria: “I don’t feel that you’ll be so be so harsh on me. ” Dr Rogers: “I hear the tremor in your voice. ” At this point it might have been helpful to reassure her that this is not the intention of therapy but that he was there in a non-judgmental capacity to clarify and assist her and thus empower her in finding the solutions within herself. Gloria: “I remember when I was a little girl when I first found out my mother and father made love it was dirty and terrible and I didn’t like her anymore for a while. And I don’t want to lie to Pammy. Dr Rogers: “Mm hmm and I sure wish that I could give you the answer as to what you should tell her. ” I think that perhaps he could have pointed out the fact that it only skewed her view on both sex and her mother for a while, and in doing so, normalising the reaction of a young girl’s initial disgust of sex especially with regards to her parents. This might have led to the exploration of the appropriateness of when, how and how much to disclose to a nine year old. The Gestalt empty chair technique might have been useful.
By talking to an empty chair and visualising Pammy in it, she could have admitted her deceit and by changing chairs she could have been Pammy and talking to her mother in the empty chair. Having once been a nine year old he could have asked her “How would you connect these memories with the dilemma that you are currently facing? ” (South African College of Applied Psychology, 2010) and in doing so co creating a possible outcome. In my opinion he did not deal well with the latter part of the session. I don’t think that he should have summarized her father according to her world.
It made me feel that he was almost authorising her negative perception. By being non directive he did not have the time to address Gloria’s underlying issues with her father. In conclusion it appears that there is no right and no wrong as long as there is beneficent intent and flexibility, incorporating an eclectic technique. This is adequately expressed in the words of Yalom, “a different therapy must be constructed for each patient because each has a unique story” (2002). REFERENCE LIST Cherry, K. (n. d. ).
What Is Unconditional Positive Regard? Retrieved July 18, 2011, from http://psychology. about. com/od/uindex/g/unconditional-positive-regard. htm. Mulhauser, D. G. (n. d. ). An Introduction to Person-Centred Counselling. Retrieved July 12, 2011, from http://counsellingresource. com/lib/therapy/types/person-centred/. South African College of Applied Psychology. (2010). Practical Counselling Skills 2 Study Guide. Cape Town: South African College of Applied Psychology. Yalom, I. (2002). The Gift of Therapy. London: Hachette Digital.
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