My Therapeutic Orientation

In 1957, Carl Rogers put forth six necessary and sufficient conditions for therapy, three of which are concerned with the perception and state of mind of the client. The first says therapy happens when two people say it does, agreeing between themselves who is the client and who the therapist. The second is the acknowledgement by the client that they have some issue, problem or incongruence. The third, fourth, and fifth conditions concern the efforts of the therapist to create a “therapeutic space”, engaging the client with empathy, genuineness or congruence, and unconditional positive regard. The sixth condition is that the client perceives the therapist has made his or her best effort to create these conditions through which therapeutic change can happen. This perception on the part of the client, that the therapist is engaged in the client’s efforts for therapeutic change, is at the heart of any voluntary therapeutic encounter or moment, no matter what the orientation of the therapist.

My training in clinical therapy took place at The New Center in Chicago, which is the repository of the archive of Carl Rogers and is a leading training facility in the practice of Rogerian (or Humanistic) therapy. I am pleased to have had that training as a grounding for my psychotherapeutic practice, and though I am familiar with and willing to employ a variety of other orientations and therapeutic techniques, I am at heart a humanist, and put the desires and needs of the client first.