ClientCentered Therapy

Rogers described this “actualizing tendency” as the key motivator in all individuals. He believed that the content of this tendency is different for each individual, but is experienced in some way by all individuals. This actualizing tendency is believed to be functioning as long as the person lives, and therefore will very likely change for the individual over time. The actualizing tendency moves the individual away from being controlled and toward self-regulation. Under unfavorable conditions, the tendency remains, although the expression of this tendency may be affected. For example, picture a potato growing in a dark cellar with a tiny source of light. This potato will grow some shoots but ultimately will not grow to the potential it could have. Bozarth and Brodley (1991) state, “But under the most adverse circumstances, they were striving to become. Life would not give up, even if it could not flourish” (p. 47). This means that although the potato had no real chance of reaching self-actualization, it did not stop its attempt to reach it anyway.
Client-centered therapy facilitates the process of self-actualization in the following way. Much like the potato in the above example, some people find themselves in unfavorable situations that impede the self-actualizing process. Given the environment that the client-centered therapy aims to achieve, the person may overcome these unfavorable situations which have thus far stunted his self-growth, and put him back on the path toward self-actualization. The key feature in helping the client achieve self-growth lies in the client-therapist relationship in which the therapist allows the client to realize his potential in a nondirective way. Rogers stated, “Therapy is not a matter of doing something to the individual, or of inducing him to do something about himself. It is instead a matter of freeing him for normal growth and development” (Bozarth &amp. Brodley, 1991, p. 46).
Rogers (1946) compiled a list of necessary conditions that the therapist must abide by in order for client-centered therapy to work.