CSL 6805.01 Chapters 10, 11, 12 &13
Person Centered Group Approach Carl Rogers (1902-1987)
Person-Centered Group Approach • The Person-Centered Approach Challenges: • The assumption that “the group leader knows best” • The validity of advice, suggestion, persuasion, teaching, diagnosis, and interpretation • The belief that group members cannot understand and resolve their own problems without active and directive intervention of the leader • The focus on problems over persons • The necessity of using techniques to get or keep a group moving
Humanism • Overlaps with Existentialism, but focuses on human capacities aimed at growth: • Love, freedom, choice, creativity, purpose, relatedness, meaning, values, self-actualization, autonomy, responsibility • Carl Rogers, Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, Clark Moustakas, Sidney Jourard, Fritz Perls, James Bugental
Humanism – Key Concepts • Self-awareness – people who are self-aware can make more life-affirming choices. • Phenomenological approach – understand reality from client’s perspective • Self-actualization - Innate process by which a person tends to grow spiritually and realize potential • Self-determining – although influenced by past, individuals determine who they become through choice • Respect for subjective experience of each person – that people are capable of acting in responsible and caring ways in interpersonal relationships
Person-Centered Approach [PCA] PCA in group practice emphasizes: • Therapy as a shared journey • The person’s innate striving for self-actualization • The personal characteristics of the facilitator and the quality of the therapeutic relationships within the group • The facilitator’s creation of a permissive, “growth promoting” climate • People are capable of self-directed growth if the core conditions are present • Trust in the group process: Members can be trusted to move in a constructive direction
Person Centered Approach • In nondirective counseling the therapist’s realness and empathy are emphasized, and the therapeutic relationship rather than the therapist’s techniques are viewed as the central factor in facilitating change. • Basic trust in the client’s ability to move forward if conditions fostering growth are present
Therapeutic Conditions for Growth • Congruence—genuineness or realness • The greater the extent to which facilitators are real, the more members will change and grow • Unconditional positive regard and acceptance • Caring not contaminated by judgment • An attitude of receptiveness toward the subjective and experiential world of the members • Empathy • This is the ability to deeply grasp the member’s subjective world • Facilitator’s attitudes are more important than knowledge
Congruence & Genuineness • Therapist is real, genuine, integrated & authentic during therapy; human being struggling for realness • Therapist has no false front; match of inner & outer expression of experience • Therapist can openly express feelings, thoughts, reactions & attitudes present in relationships with client
Unconditional Positive Regard • Therapist communicates deep & genuine caring for client as a person • Caring is unconditional-no evaluation or judgment of client’s feelings, thoughts or behaviors • Caring does not come from need of reciprocal caring of therapist by client • Acceptance & recognition of client’s right to have own beliefs & feelings
Accurate Empathic Understanding • Therapist understands client’s experience & feelings as revealed in interaction • Therapist tries to sense client’s subjective experience in here and now • Sense the other’s feelings as if my own • Capable of reflecting the experience of client back to client-encourages client to be more reflective • Encourages client’s own understanding & clarification of beliefs and worldviews
Six Core Conditions Necessary and sufficient for personality changes to occur 1. Two persons are in psychological contact 2. The first, the client, is experiencing incongruency 3. The second person, the therapist, is congruent or integrated in the relationship 4. The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard or real caring for the client 5. The therapist experiences empathy for the client’s internal frame of reference and endeavors to communicate this to the client 6. The communication to the client is, to a minimal degree, achieved
Process of Therapy • Client’s communications about externals & not self • Client describes feelings but not recognize or “own” them personally • Client talks about self as an object in terms of past experiences • Client experiences feelings in present-just describes them with distrust & fear • Client experiences & expresses feelings freely in present-feelings bubble up • Client accepts own feelings in immediacy & richness • Client trusts new experiences & relates to others openly & freely
The Group Counselor • Focuses on the quality of the therapeutic relationship • Understands that the presence of facilitator is of the utmost importance • More concerned about personal qualities rather than techniques of leading a group • Serves as a model of a human being struggling toward greater realness • Is genuine, integrated, and authentic, without a false front • Can openly express feelings and attitudes that are present in the relationship with the group members • Understands the role of group counselor is that of a facilitator—using self as an instrument of change
Techniques • Listening • Accepting • Respecting • Understanding • Responding
Person-Centered Expressive Arts • Natalie Rogers • Principles of expressive arts therapy • Expressive arts as a multimodal approach to integrating mind, body, emotions, and spiritual inner resources through art forms • All people have the ability to be creative • The creative process is healing • Conditions that foster creativity • Openness to experience • Internal locus of evaluation • Some guidelines for creative expression in groups • Important to offer stimulating and challenging experiences • Essential to create a nonjudgmental and supportive climate • The facilitator’s “way of being” is more important than techniques used in expressive arts therapy
Evaluation of PCA in Groups • Contributions and strengths of the approach • A good foundation for the initial stage of most groups • Value is placed on empathy and respect for members • Values and principles of PCA can be incorporated into many other approaches • This approach places prime emphasis on the group counselor as a person • The philosophy can be a basic part of working with culturally diverse client populations • Limitations of the approach • Many leaders want and need more structure than this approach allows
Gestalt Therapy • Fritz Perls (1893-1970) Germany • Married Laura Perls in 1930 • US in 1946 • Founded New York Institute of Gestalt Therapy
Therapeutic Goals in Groups • Existential and Phenomenological—it is grounded in the member’s “here and now” experience • Emphasizes how each member views the world • Initial goal is for group members to gain awareness of what they are experiencing and doing now • Promotes direct experiencing rather than the abstractness of talking about situations • Rather than talk about a childhood trauma, the group participant is encouraged to become the hurt child • As members acquire present-centered awareness, significant unfinished business emerges • Awareness is seen as curative and growth-producing
Continuum of Awareness • Awareness involves staying with the moment-to-moment flow of experiencing • By staying with present-centered awareness, members discover how they function in the world • Group leaders ask “what” and “how” questions • What are you experiencing now? • How are you experiencing your anxiety in your body?
Four Major Principles of Gestalt Therapy • Holism-interested in the whole person-emphasis on integration-thoughts, feelings, behaviors, body, & dreams • Field Theory-organism must be seen in its environment or its context as part of a constantly changing field; everything is relational, in flux, interrelated & in process • Figure Formation Process-tracks how some aspect of the environmental field emerges from the background and becomes a focal point of the individual’s attention • Organismic self-regulation-restore equilibrium or contribute to growth & change
The Here-and-Now • Our “power is in the present” • Nothing exists except the “now” • The past is gone and the future has not yet arrived • The past is important, but only as it is related to present functioning • A here-and-now focus brings vitality to a group • For many people the power of the present is lost • They may focus on their past mistakes or engage in endless resolutions and plans for the future • The challenge is to come into closer contact with ongoing experiencing from moment to moment
Unfinished Business • Feelings about the past are unexpressed • These feelings are associated with distinct memories and fantasies • Feelings not fully experienced linger in the background and interfere with effective contact and functioning • Result: • Preoccupation, compulsive behavior, wariness, oppressive energy, and self-defeating behavior • Unfinished business needs to be addressed so that we can move toward health and integration
Contact and Disturbances to Contact • CONTACT– interacting with nature and with other people without losing one’s individuality • DISTURBANCES TO CONTACT – the defenses we develop to prevent us from experiencing the present fully • Gestalt therapist focuses on disturbances to contact • Five contact boundary disturbances: • Introjection • Projection • Retroflection • Confluence • Deflection
Introjection-channel of resistance • Tendency to uncritically accept others’ beliefs and standards without assimilating them to make them congruent with who we are • Passively incorporate what the environment provides, spending little time on becoming clear about what we need or want
Projection -channel of resistance • Disown aspects of self by assigning them to environment • Trouble distinguishing between inside & outside world • Disown attributes of self that are inconsistent with self-image & put onto other people • To avoid taking responsibility for our own feelings & person who we really are • Keeps us powerless to initiate change
Deflection -channel of resistance • Process of distraction-keep difficult to sustain sense of contact with reality • Overuse of humor, abstract generalizations & questions rather than statements-results in emotional depletion • Diminished emotional experience-by speaking through and for others
Confluence-channel of resistance • Blurring differentiation between self & environment • In relationships, it is a need to fit in, an absence of conflict, a belief all people feel & think same way • High need for acceptance, approval • Stay safe, never express own feelings
Energy and Blocks to Energy • Unexpressed emotions create a blockage in the body • Energy • In a Gestalt group, the focus is on energy—within individuals and with the group as a whole • Gestalt leaders pay attention to where energy is located, how it is used, and how it can be blocked • Blocks to energy • These blocks manifest themselves in the body in various ways • Members may not be aware of their energy or where it is located • Experiments can be designed to assist members in becoming aware of the ways they may be blocking their energy
Role of Gestalt Leader • Gestalt leaders encourage members to heighten their awareness • Gestalt leaders focus on contact, awareness, and experimentation • Gestalt leaders take an active role in creating experiments to assist members in gaining awareness • Main role of leader is to create a safe climate that allows members to feel free in trying out new ways of being and behaving • Central role of the relationship: • Contemporary Gestalt practice emphasizes a dialogic relationship (attitude) • Emphasis is on presence, authentic dialogue, gentleness, and self-expression by the leader
Client’s Process in Gestalt Work • Discovery - Surprises for client • new realizations about self • novel view about old situations • new look at significant other • Accommodation • recognition they have a choice • try new behaviors in safety of group • expand awareness in real world • Assimilation • Learning to influence environment • Deal with surprises encountered daily • Confidence to improve and improvise
Paying Attention to Language • To encourage self-awareness: • Change “It” talk to “I”-Ex. “I am frightened”, instead of “It’s frightening”. • Change “You” talk to “I” talk to take responsibility for feelings, opinions, etc. – “You feel hurt” to “I feel hurt” • Questions can put other members on the defensive. • Pay attention to qualifiers such as “but” because they diminish the power of statements. • Substitute “won’t” for “can’t” to be more honest and take responsibility. • Leaders should not challenge members’ language in the early stages when developing trust and safety.
Therapeutic Experiments • Not a technique or exercise that is prescribed to bring about an action • Phenomenologically based and evolve out of what is occurring within members in the present moment • Members are encouraged to try new behaviors and pay attention to what they are experiencing • A creative happening, rather than a group exercise that the leaders might prepare prior to a group meeting
Experiments • Internal dialogue exercise • Making the rounds • Rehearsal exercise • Exaggeration exercise • Staying with the feelings
Internal Dialogues • Fantasy dialogues promote awareness • Dialogues between opposing sides of self • Dialogues with a parent or significant other • Can use the “empty chair” technique
Making the Rounds • In a group, go up to each person in the group and speak to or do something with each one • Goal: confronting, take risks, disclose self, try new behaviors to grow and change
Rehearsal Exercise • Behavioral rehearsal: role playing a planned for new behavior with a person or people in client’s environment • To reduce stage fright, anxiety or fear “not do the role right” • Encourages spontaneity and willingness to experiment with new behaviors
Exaggeration Exercise • Exaggerate movement or gesture repeatedly to intensify feelings attached to behavior to make inner meaning clearer • Trembling hands or feet, slouched posture, bent shoulders, clenched fists, tight frowning, facial grimacing, crossed arms
Staying with the Feelings • Keep client from escaping from • Fearful stimuli • Avoiding unpleasant feelings • Encourage to go deeper into feelings or behavior which they wish to avoid (“How are you…”) • Facing, confronting & experiencing feelings-to unblock and make way for new levels of growth-takes courage & pain • Leader avoids telling members the meaning of their gestures, postures, and body symptoms, so that members are more able to stay with what they are experiencing and eventually find their own meaning.
Dream Work in Groups • Principles of Gestalt dream work • Dreams contain an existential message • Dreams are not interpreted by the leader • Members discover their own meaning of their dreams • Guidelines for working with a dream in a group • Relive the dream as though it were happening now • Members asked what interests them about the dream • Members are encouraged to become different parts of the dream • Create dialogue between the various aspects of the dream • Members suggest what they think a dream might be telling them • Other members can share with the person working with the dream how they are affected
Evaluation • Strengths • Integrates theory, practice, research • Shown to benefit clients with various disorders • Limitations • Inept therapists may use powerful interventions to stir up emotions and not sufficiently help clients to work through and obtain closure.
Transactional Analysis • Eric Berne (1910-1970) Canada/Us • TA evolved out of Berne’s dissatisfaction with psychoanalysis • Mary & Robert Goulding • Redecision therapy – combination of TA, Gestalt, psychodrama, behavior therapy
Transactional Analysis • Transactional Analysis (TA) is an interactional and contractual approach to groups • TA is basically a psychoeducational approach to group work • TA is grounded on the assumption that people make present decisions based on their early experiences • Redecision therapy is a form of TA that assists group members in taking charge of their lives by deciding how they will change • The practice of TA is ideally suited to group work • Basic assumption of TA is that we are in charge of what we do, of the ways we think, and of how we feel
Key Concepts of TA • People have a basic trio of Parent, Adult, and Child (P-A-C) ego states • Need for strokes • Injunctions and counterinjunctions • Decisions and redecisions • Games • Basic psychological life positions
Ego States TA Ego States or Personality Aspects Parent Adult Child
The Ego States • Members are taught how to recognize in which ego state they are functioning at any given time • The Parent ego state • This ego state contains the values, morals, core beliefs, and behaviors incorporated from parents • This ego state can be expressed in critical or nurturing behavior • The Adult ego state • This ego state is the objective part of personality and functions as a data processor • The Child ego state • This ego state consists of feelings, impulses, and spontaneous actions
Ego States act and feel much as those who raised us. Parent Controlling Parent… follows rules, accepts slogans, holds opinions without thinking first of facts. Nurturing Parent… Supportive and protective toward others, offers help and guidance.
Ego States Ways of Acting in the Parent Ego State … a frown or stern look. … tone of voice. … pointing of the index finger. … arms folded as to say “what are you doing?” … uses phrases like; “you should,” “you ought to,” “that is right!” … words such as; sympathizing, punishing. moralizing, judging, giving orders, criticizing.
Ego States what we were when we were young. Child Adapted Child… Polite, sociable, recognizes the rights of others, adapts behavior to suit them, can resent the rights/demands of others, complies grudgingly, feels unsure about themselves, procrastinates . Natural Child… Open to life, spontaneous, filled with the sense of wonder and delight, self centered, aggressive, rebellious, does not consider the consequences of feeling or actions.
Ego States Ways of Behaving in the Child Ego State … smiling, laughing, having fun. … tone of voice. … crying, having tantrums, getting into trouble. … childlike facial expressions. … uses words/phrases like; “Wow!,” “Gosh!,” “I wish,” “I feel.”