helping relationships [in Rogerian theory] : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread

What does Carl Rogers say are the key characteristics of the helping relationship?

-- Delia Howlett (, September 16, 2001


Response to helping relationships

I'm not sure if he outlined specific characteristics, but according to Rogers, the therapist (i.e., the helper) should provide among other things, an environment conducive to allowing the client to work through his/her issues. Rogers saw the role of the therapist as more of one who provides a loving, supportive environment, one that will provide the client with a maximum possibility for growth. He used the idea of providing "unconditional positive regard" to account for this atmosphere. In short, the client should feel completely safe and secure when with the therapist. In this, an atmosphere is created which allows the client the opportunity for insight and change. A second element to Rogers approach is to utilize "active listening" with the client. In this, the therapist paraphrases what the client is saying, and affirms it. Connected to this is the idea of emphatic understanding, and genuineness. The therapist should strive to fully understand the "phenomenal field" of the client, as well as be genuinely interested in his/her problems. Overall, perhaps more than any of the other therapeutic approaches, Rogerian therapy is one in which the client must be the catalyst for change. The role of the therapist is to provide the best atmosphere/environment for potential change.

-- Daniel J. Denis (, September 16, 2001.

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