Comparison of Cognitive Therapy and Client Centered Therapy Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

personality and psychotherapy theories, namely, client-centered therapy (CCT) and cognitive therapy. The first section of the paper takes up CCT (or Rogerian therapy), giving a brief overview of the theory's key points, including its founder and the views of the founder. Sub-sections under this section explore, in brief, the areas of personality structure under the theory, theory architecture, and an approach to intervention using the theory (or in other words, how the client is dealt with using the CCT model).

The second section of the paper follows a similar exploration of the theory of cognitive therapy (CT), developed by A.T. Beck. Sub-sections follow similar lines, concisely dealing withpersonality structure under CT, architecture of the theory, as well as interventions for helping out clients under this model, supported by literature in the field.

Finally, the paper takes up a comparative discussion, in the last section, highlighting the key elements that are similar to both theories, as well as elements of contrast between the two theories. Advantages and disadvantages of the two approaches in practice are also covered under this comparative section.

1. Client-Centered Therapy (CCT)

Rogerian or client-centered psychotherapy was formulated during the 1940s-50s by American psychologist, Carl Rogers. This kind of talk psychotherapy is aimed at boosting an individual's self-worth, lowering the gap between actual and ideal self, and enabling the individual to function more completely. The fierce belief of the theory's founder in mankind's positive nature stems from his numerous years of experience in the clinical counseling field. In his view, every patient, irrespective of their problem(s), is capable of improving without any specific guidance by their counselor, if only they begin believing and valuing themselves. In response to the psychotherapy models that promoted philosophical determinism, a humanistic emphasis on mankind's free will, as well as on the democratic nature of therapist-client relationship, arose. (Bozarth, 1997, p.82; Samstag, 2007, p.295)

0. Personality structure

The CCT model assumes that the feelings, actions and thoughts of humans are guided and inspired by a constructive influence -- the tendency of self-actualization -- innate in all living creatures. Roger's idea of the personality disturbance process suggests that people become inflicted with psychological illnesses due to conditional approval introjections from people important to them, such as parents. These conditional acceptance introjections give rise to incongruence between self-concept and organismic experience (Hill, 2007, p.261). When the self gets burdened with conditions to prove its worth, the individual becomes anxious and weak. CCT theory claims that when an individual senses unconditional positive concern in the form of earnest empathy from his/her therapist (a congruent person), his/her self-actualization tendency becomes boosted. This is the theoretical basis for the "necessary and sufficient" conditions presented as therapeutic attitudes required to be embodied by the client-centered therapist (Bozarth, 1997, p.82).

Rogers (1957) states that, the patient is considered as being in an incongruent state (anxious or vulnerable). In the CCT model, incongruence represents a key construct; incongruence implies an inconsistency between an individual's actual experience and his/her self-picture in terms of that experience (p.96). A person who isn't aware of incongruence within himself is simply susceptible to inefficiency and anxiety. There may be possibility of an experience occurring so unexpectedly or so perceptibly that one cannot deny incongruence. Hence, the individual is susceptible to it (Hill, 2007, p.261). When personal incongruence is only dimly sensed by an individual, a state of tension called anxiety transpires. A strong sense of incongruence need not be felt. Subliminal perception (subception), or a feeling of threat to self without knowledge of what the threat is, is sufficient. Often, this sort of anxiety is felt during therapy, as clients come close to becoming aware of some part of their experience that is sharply contradictory to their self-concept (Rogers, 1957, p.97; Rogers, 1992, p.828).

0. Architecture of the theories

Rogers (1992) came up with a list of six necessary and sufficient conditions for the occurrence of therapeutic change, out of which two may be best regarded as prerequisites: 1) There is psychological interaction, because a relationship is required for change to take place; and 2) The patient is in an incongruent state (i.e. vulnerability or anxiety exists). The remaining four conditions which were necessary and sufficient, in Roger's opinion, for the occurrence of therapeutic change are: 3) The counselor has an integrated, sincere and congruent personality; 4) The counselor feels unconditional positive esteem for the patient; 5) The counselor is earnest in understanding the patient, and tries to convey this understanding; and 6) The patient senses the counselor's empathy and acceptance (p.6).

0. Intervention

The paper presented by Carl Rogers in 1957 deals with how best psychotherapists can work with patients to facilitate therapeutic change, and has proven to be a guiding light in the psychotherapy field. His assumption that psychotherapists need to possess attitudes of acceptance, congruence, and empathy to effectively aid clients with communicating personal affective experiences in their states of vulnerability and incongruence, underlined the significance of an open, conducive relationship with others to promote psychotherapeutic change (Watson, 2007, p.268).

Rogers' first prerequisite is that there must be at least some degree of client-therapist relationship -- a sort of psychological interaction. All this prerequisite intends is specifying that two individuals have some measure of contact, and that they both produce some amount of perceived transformation in the other's experiential field. It is possibly sufficient if they both produce a "subceived" difference, despite the person not likely being conscious of his/her impact. Insofar as the counselor sincerely accepts all aspects of patient experience (regarding it as part of the patient), he is said to experience unconditional positive esteem. This implies that the client is under no pressure of being accepted by the therapist only if he/she conforms to some conditions defined by the therapist (Rogers, 2007, p.243)

Present-day literature regarding CCT seldom mentions a nondirective attitude. However, it is inherent in the CCT model, which indicates that there essentially is no place for directivity within Rogers's theory and his perception of the counselor's role. The conceptualization of understanding by Rogerian theory is greatly influenced by non-directivity. Though the non-directivity concept isn't explicitly stated in general theoretic or integrative Rogerian statements, Roger hints at it in almost all of his work. He was clear on the fact that clients aren't to be burdened with goals set by the therapist (Bozarth, 1997, p.87).

1. Cognitive Therapy

A.T. Beck is credited with the development of cognitive psychotherapy; the American psychiatrist based his cognitive depression theory on studies on ideational matter such as, dreams. In 1976, he suggested that, for a certain form of psychotherapy to meet the requirements of a psychotherapeutic system, it must provide (a) a complete psychopathology theory which articulates with psychotherapy's structure, (b) a reservoir of empirical findings and knowledge in support of this theory, and (c) reliable findings on the basis of results and other research for proving its efficacy (Beck, 1991, p.368).

0. Personality structure

Beck's cognitive theory suggests that how people perceive situations affects their reaction. If a client spontaneously thinks negative thoughts, and his/her core view of self is also negative, numerous issues may arise, which psychotherapists should have knowledge of throughout the course of therapy. Cognitive-behavioral conceptualization starts with applicable childhood facts, leading to basic beliefs and conditional assumptions/rules; this, in turn, results in coping strategies. An individual in any situation thinks an involuntary thought, whose meaning stems from his/her basic beliefs. Subsequently, a certain emotion will surface, followed by display of a particular behavior. Understanding the core beliefs of clients is imperative, as these beliefs often guide the counselor to comprehend the client's thinking, as well as guiding how to proceed in changing the negative nature of client's thoughts through use of collaborative empiricism. There is a definite interest in dysfunctional views and feelings of the client with regard to life experiences and plans for their future, intertwined with analytically-tested hypotheses (Dattilio & Hanna, 2012, p.147; Strunk, Brotman, DeRubeis&Hollon, 2010, p.430).

0. Architecture of the theory

Collaborative empiricism involves cooperation between client and therapist to develop a plan for treatment; the concept includes client-patient cohesiveness as they together discover factors responsible for client dysfunction, via investigation and discovery. Besides individual psychotherapy, the technique has been employed in therapy for couples, families, and groups (Cahill et al., 2003, p.135). Teaming up and cooperating with one another is advantageous to both therapist and client; it inculcates in them a strong therapeutic relationship by which therapist understands client, as well as clients' emotion, thought and behavior presentation. Collaboration helps them delve into, and discover negative client thoughts, which later enhance client motivation toward changing themselves. Collaborative empiricism's empirical component plays a critical role in cognitive change, driving case conceptualization. Particular client aspects are chosen, examined and then reprocessed collaboratively by client and therapist (Dattilio & Hanna, 2012, p.146; Kiluk, Nich, Babuscio & Carroll, 2010).

Identifying and discerning clients' belief system, behavioral strategies, and therapeutic relationship patterns assists psychotherapists in realizing and understanding clients' expectations of the psychotherapy. Client-therapist rapport…

Sources Used in Document:


Beck, A. T. (1991). Cognitive therapy: A 30-year retrospective. American Psychologist, 46(4), 368-375. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.46.4.368. (Saybrook University library: PsycARTICLES database.)

Bozarth, J. D. (1997). Empathy from the framework of client-cantered theory and the Rogerian hypothesis. In A. C. Bohart, L. S. Greenberg, A. C. Bohart, L. S. Greenberg (Eds.), Empathy reconsidered: New directions in psychotherapy (pp. 81-102). Washington, DC, U.S.: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/10226-003

Cahill, J., Barkham, M., Hardy, G., Rees, A., Shapiro, D. A., Stiles, W. B., & Macaskill, N. (2003).Outcomes of patients completing and not completing cognitive therapy for depression. British Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 42(2), 133.

Dattilio, F. M., & Hanna, M. A. (2012).Collaboration in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Journal Of Clinical Psychology, 68(2), 146-158. doi:10.1002/jclp.21831

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