Three Approaches to Psychotherapy

Carl Rogers is one of the founders of the humanistic approach in psychology. His theoretical orientation is the person-centered therapy (PCT). This has been criticized for being too “hands off,” as the approach assumes that the client is able to work through their own feelings and thoughts. Overall, the lasting legacy of PCT is the emphasis on the empathy and genuineness of the counselor. And as we know today, the therapeutic relationship is important in counseling. Thank goodness the profession of helping others’ mental illnesses has become more humanistic!

Fredrich (Fritz) Perls coined the term “Gestalt therapy” in the 1940’s-1950’s. The emphasis is on being in the “here-and-now.” This includes being aware of the bodily sensations and present emotions and behaviors. The relationship between the client and counselor is important, and as you’ll see in the video the client and Perls talk about their relationship.

Perls reveals what he’s observed about Gloria during their talk and bickering about their relationship. At 22:39 you can hear Perls’ observation. At 26:43 you can hear Pearls’ conclusion about the session. Overall, in Gestalt therapy the emphasis is on the present experience in the therapeutic room, which can become a microcosm of the client’s life and behavior as it usually is outside the therapy room.

Albert Ellis created REBT, or rational emotive behavior therapy. This has led the way to cognitive behavior therapy, which is prominent today. In REBT the counselor helps the client identify, challenge, and replace his/her maladaptive beliefs with healthier beliefs. So in this video you will see Ellis constructing and challenging Gloria’s unhealthy beliefs. Overall, REBT seems to emphasize correction of incorrect, incongruent, or irrational thoughts.


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