Working with People: Carl Rogers – Carl Gustav Jung

Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to compare Person-Centred Therapy, formulated by Carl Rogers, with Analytical Psychotherapy, originated by Carl Gustav Jung.  First, the basic concepts of these two approaches will be summarized, and then both psychotherapists’ theories will be examined in greater detail.  Finally, similarities and differences between the two approaches will be discussed, as well as my own personal experiences as a patient/client.

Basic Ideas

Carl Rogers’ Person-Centred Therapy approach works by helping persons and groups who find themselves in conflict.  Its hypothesis is that “a self-directed growth process would follow the provision and reception of a particular kind of relationship characterized by genuineness, non-judgmental caring, and empathy.”(1) There is a strong relationship between the therapist and the client.  Note that Carl Rogers uses the term client instead of patient.  Person-Centred Therapy is based upon trust, which is an essential condition for freedom because only when we are able to trust can we truly be ourselves.  Not only must the client trust the therapist, but also the therapist must trust the client.  When this state of trust exists, personal development can occur.  Person-Centred Therapy allows clients to set their own goals and supervise their progress from the beginning.  Rogers believed that “the person has within himself or herself enough resources for self-understanding and for altering their self-concepts, behaviour, and attitudes toward others”. (2)

On-the-other-hand, Analytical Psychotherapy tries to work on reintegration, self-knowledge, and individuation by “healing and self-regulating (the) potential of the psyche by means of a profound encounter between the interacting personalities of patient and therapist” (3).  It should be noted that Jung usually uses the term doctor in lieu of therapist and patient for client.  In any event, Analytical Psychotherapy “serves as a catalyst to promote balance, growth and integration”(4) that is more focussed on all of a person’s psyche and not just on the problems of any given day.  Analytical Psychotherapy works with a particular technique which looks inside a person to foster his or her own capacity for self-healing.  As a result, the doctor helps the patient to engage in profound and growth-promoting experiences.

Theories and Processes

In Person-Centred Therapy, the therapist is trying to convey congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathy.  The client should respond with constructive changes in his or her personality.  Empathy is the ability to feel another person’s feeling and emotions as if they were your own.  This is an axiom of Person-Centred Therapy: “The counsellor makes a maximum effort to get within and to live the attitudes expressed instead of observing them or diagnosing or simply thinking to make the process faster.”(5)  This causes the relationship between the therapist and the client to deepen.  Unconditional Positive Regard refers to the therapist’s non-judgmental acceptance of anything and everything which the client shares, completely disregarding his or her personal mores and beliefs.   Congruence means that not only is the client allowed to speak openly and freely, but also that the therapist is equally free to express genuine feelings and reactions to what the client has said at any moment during the therapy session.  The therapist does not have to be “professional”.

On-the-other-hand, a psychotherapist must always be professional for he or she is a doctor and the client is a patient.  In Analytical Psychotherapy, the therapist delves into a patient’s psyche to promote their capacity to heal themselves.  The doctor has to be prepared to understand the mechanisms of the psyches of the patients.  According to Jung, the psyche is a self-regulating system, and a person’s unconscious mind has a creative and compensatory component.  A doctor must keep this in mind in order to facilitate self-awareness and healing.  Corsini summarizes Jung’s theories and methods by saying “Analytical Psychotherapy is, in essence, a dialogue between two people undertaken to facilitate growth, healing, and a new synthesis of the patient’s personality at a higher level of functioning.  By means of the analytic relationship, one works through personal problems and gains greater understanding of one’s inner and outer worlds.”(6)

The healing process in Person-Centred Therapy starts in the first session.  The therapist will try to know his or her client’s world as it is presented, without doubting or second-guessing the client’s motivations and trustfulness.  Indeed, the first session can be compared to making a good impression in order to win over someone’s heart: The therapist shows respect and does all that he or she can to make the client comfortable, secure and relaxed.  However, this is more than just being “sweet” for a therapist has to be trained to encourage trust and openness and to control all negative reactions to what might emerge in a session.  For example, a client may share something that would repulse most people, but the therapist must maintain an open mind while burying personal feelings.  When this atmosphere of intimacy has been established, the therapist’s duty is not to give answers to a client’s questions, but rather to recognize what feelings are involved in those questions and then to help the person find the answers on their own.  The therapist has to be open to every kind of feeling expressed by the client, and he or she must deal with any counter-transference which may occur.  As well, the therapist must stand by the client in any situation, but not to give them a solution for that is not his duty.  Easy answers from the therapist not only fail to help a client’s self-growth, but also demonstrate a lack of respect for the client.

In contrast to the “looseness” and “informality” of Rogers’s methodology, Jung’s Analytical Psychotherapy has four distinct stages: Confession, elucidation, education and transformation.  In the first session, the doctor will invite the patient to reveal his or her personal history.  This is called confession and a catharsis occurs by getting rid of unhappy memories or strong emotions, such as anger or sadness, by expressing them in some way.  This sharing of conscious and unconscious moments as a patient transfers past feelings to the doctor will give the therapist insights into the person’s psyche. “Analytical personality theory provides a map of the psyche that values the unconscious as much as consciousness, seeing each complementing the other.”(7) The doctor must now enter stage two, elucidation, and bring the transference relationship from an affective level to an intellectual level: The patient must be able to see the infantile origins of his or her feelings.  The goal of the third stage is education:  To guide the patient towards a health-promoting role in his or her life.  While the previous stages focus on cognitively understanding the unconscious mind of the person, this third stage focuses on cognitively knowing what to do with this discovery to better one’s life.  The four stage, transformation, is one at which not all people arrive for whatever reason.  Jung was vague when he explained this.  In any event, he recognized that some patients, particularly those in the second half of life, begin to value both the conscious and unconscious, and enter a period of self-actualization in which the patient can distinguish himself or herself as a unique person.  In this stage, doctor and patient should go deeper and deeper into transference and counter-transference, meaning that the experiences of the patient will be felt by the therapist and lead to a greater understanding between them.

Transference and counter-transference play a central role in Analytical Psychotherapy.  Jung described this process in four steps.  First the patient remembers all his or her problems with old relationships and then imagines the therapist as if he or she were one of them.  In the second step, they have to establish, through the analyses of these projections and transferences, which are in their own sphere and which are from the unconscious collective, and then work on it.  The third step is that in which the therapist will work to consolidate the personal consciousness to enable self-healing.

Similarities & Differences

             One similarity between the two means of psychotherapy is that both recognize the individuality of the patient and his or her problems and the need for a strong relationship between doctor/therapist and patient/client.  In Person-Centred Therapy, this is recognized and worked upon in the very first session.  The therapist has to be present, accessible and open at any moment to whatever unique feeling or issues the client shares and the therapist should experience all the feelings that his or her client is communicating during the session. “It is to be focussed on the phenomenological world of the client.”(8)  Jung also acknowledged the truth of all of this.  He insisted upon devotion to the patient, and upon seeing him or her as an individual and unique person.  This complete dedication by the doctor to his or her patient engages the both of them in a growth-promoting experience.

Although both men believe that each person has self-healing capacities inside, this is achieve through very different mechanisms.  Person-Centred Therapy can change the process of personality and Analytical Psychotherapy can change the structure of personality.  The processes of these two therapies are completely different.  If we recall some of the ideas discussed earlier, Person-Centred Therapy is more interested in what it is happening now while Analytical Psychotherapy wants to go deep inside the patient from the beginning.  A practitioner of Person-Centred Therapy believes in pursuing and exploring the thoughts and feelings of the actual moment.  When the therapist starts the conversation, he or she does not steer the session in any direction, but rather follows the moment to moment thoughts and feelings of the client.  However, the followers of Analytical Psychotherapy, with its four stages, clearly orient their patients in a particular step by step methodology:  Confession, then elucidation, then education and finally transformation. The aim is not to explore the “now”, but rather to delve deep inside the past and then bring that to the present, working with the conscious and the unconscious collective and trying to interpret connections between the past and the present for that patient.  It should be mention that often the doctor may feel that it is his duty to be the “expert”, especially when compared to Person-Centred Therapy.  This is because the latter aims to build an interpersonal relationship in which the therapist authentically cares, listens, and show both empathy and genuineness.  However, the former, Analytical Psychotherapy, is much more “clinical” and the atmosphere is more like being in a laboratory in which both the patient and the doctor go into the inner world of the psyche.

My own experiences with both therapies effectively highlight some of the differences.  While the Analytical Psychotherapy provided me with all the information about my past days and unlocked some unconscious attitudes that affected my behaviour, it did not work on the present issues at that time, nor on my goals or my vocation.  In my short experience with Person-Centred Therapy and in role play in this course, I can only say that it really helps to have somebody listening to my problems-of-the-day in a non-judgemental and sympathetic manner.

Notes

1. Corsini, R. and Wedding, D. Currents Psychotherapies. (Itasca, Ill.: F.E. Peacock

Publishers, 1995), p.128.

2. Ibid., p.136.

3. Ibid., p.95.

4. Ibid., p.97.

5. Ibid., p.142.

6. Ibid., p.108.

7. Ibid., p.124.

8. Ibid., p.131.

Bibliography

Corsini, R. and Wedding, D. “Analytical Psychotherapy.” Chap. in Currents Psychotherapies.

95-126. (Itasca, Ill.: F.E. Peacock Publishers, 1995).

Corsini, R. and Wedding, D. “Person-Centred Therapy.” Chap. in Currents Psychotherapies. 128-160. (Itasca, Ill.: F.E. Peacock Publishers, 1995).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s