Theoretical Orientation Paper 2

Submitted By luna5915
Words: 3940
Pages: 16

Person-Centered Therapy and Feminist Therapy: A Theoretical Orientation Analysis
Radford University

Person-Centered Therapy and Feminist Therapy: A Theoretical Orientation Analysis Every individual is different. Life experiences and how they are perceived play a substantial role in personality development. As such, every therapist has a unique approach to working with clients which is congruent with his or her life experiences, values, and personal beliefs. Often, therapist will use a variety of therapeutic techniques drawing from multiple theoretical orientations within psychotherapy to create an approach which fits him or her as an individual. As I begin discovering who I am as a therapist, it is important to explore what aspects of the therapeutic process are most important to me and which orientations incorporate these aspects in a way I can relate to. Person-centered therapy and feminist therapy are the two orientations whose basic assumptions and techniques are most in line with my personal beliefs and values. Person-centered therapy was developed by Carl Rogers in the early 1940’s (Corey, 2009). It is an approach to psychotherapy which focuses on the client’s internal frame of reference and its relation to the presenting problem. Person-centered therapy posits that the client is capable of, and desires change, and that the intense therapeutic relationship acts as a catalyst to this change. The therapeutic relationship includes three main components: unconditional positive regard, congruence, and accurate empathic understanding. According to person-centered therapy unconditional positive regard, congruence, and accurate empathic understanding are necessary to promote and foster change in the client. If these three elements are present in the therapeutic relationship, the client will begin the growth process on his or her own because, according to person-centered therapy, it is basic human nature to move forward and improve oneself if provided a means to do so. Feminist therapy emerged in the 1980’s as a grassroots effort to respond to the changing needs of women and the various challenges they may face as a result of their gender (Corey, 2009). Feminist therapy is an approach to psychotherapy which posits that problems within an individual are products of the oppression endured by the individual throughout his or her life. Feminist therapists believe that gender-role expectations have profound effects on our identities and begin influencing us at birth. If an individual does not fit into his or her expected gender-role then he or she is likely to experience severe backlash from society, which in turn results in problems within the individual. Feminist therapists believe “the personal is political,” meaning that the individual is not separate from society and all behaviors serve a function within the larger context. As such, feminist therapists engage in activities, such as voting on relevant legislation and joining community boards, which have an effect on society at large and have the potential to alleviate some of the pressures and oppressions clients face. If society does not change, clients will continue to have problems because they will still encounter oppression as a result of not fitting into societal norms. Feminist therapy is a gender neutral, flexible, interactional, and life-span-oriented approach to psychotherapy which works towards societal modification as well as individual transformation. My view of human nature is a positive one; I consider all humans to be inherently good or at least have the desire to be good. I consider every individual to be capable of change if it is desired. Person-centered therapy has an identical view of human nature. The theory posits that humans are good-natured, trustworthy, capable of self-understanding and self-direction, and capable of making positive changes in their lives. In addition to believing all humans