Critcisms against Rogerian psychotherapy : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread


-- John RL (, October 30, 2001


In first edition of _Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Psychological Issues_ (late-1970s, J. Rubunstein, ed.) there was a debate, of sorts, between Skinner and Rogers. If you can track this down, it might be of help to you. Also, You might have a look at the Rogers and Skinner chapters in _Behaviorism & Phenomenology: Contrasting Bases for Modern Psychology_ (T.W. Wann, Ed., Chicago U., 1964).

-- Christopher Green (, October 31, 2001.

Hi John, OK, the criticisms, they are different depending upon the theory held by those doing the critism. From the main stream acedemic psychologists who are perhaps influenced by the behaviorist-scientific apporch you will often hear first that the Rogerians are unrealistic in their doctrine of "unconditional acceptance". They would say that in practice this really doesn't happen; any therapist has biases and these will enevitably be an issue regardless of what Rogers says. By law now. Second, there is the issue of (what?) nondirection, critics, especially radical behaviorists, say that you will find subtle cues being sent out from the theropist which in fact directs the client and which the therapist and the client are unaware is happening. They will argue the Rogerian is naive on this point. Those are critcisms which I have often heard. In the behavior analysis class I took, on the final there was a question that asked you to describe in detail how you would use Skinnerian principles to get a person to talk about suicide. You can see what message that professor was trying to get across to the more Rogerian clinical folks. From the behavior modification approach, well I think they would say you are just plain waisting your time beating about the bush. I could see where from the psycho-analytic perspective, they might be concerned about issues around transferance and counter-transferance. One of my questions regarding Rogers is I know he came out of a psycho-analytic tradition, and my question is: When he became Rogerian, did he all of a sudden leave all that training behind? I don't see how he could. If you can find it, there is a famous movie where you see the same person being interviewed by Rogers, Perls, and (? someone else); it has been around a long time, and someone will know the correct title. Hope this helps. Best, David

-- david clark (, November 07, 2001.

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