This is the 2007 version. Click here for the 2017 chapter 13 table of contents.

Directions of Movement in Successful Therapy

Rogers saw a consistent pattern in almost all cases of successful therapeutic change. He described this progression of events in his book Client-Centered Therapy (1951). First, Rogers said, clients go through a phase of getting behind the mask. The mask or persona is the face we show the world. Getting underneath a habitual false front is not always easy. Rogers noticed that a client first coming to a therapist is usually defensive and unnatural, anxious to please or worried about being rejected. The good therapist creates a climate of safety and freedom in which the false fronts start dropping away. The client may even start to examine them, as if from another person's perspective.

What were trends Rogers saw in successful therapy?

Another trend Rogers saw in successful therapy was a movement in the client toward appreciation of life as a process rather than a thing. Clients become "tolerant of their own complexity" and of change.

Clients seem to move toward more openly being a process, a fluidity, a changing. They are not disturbed to find they are not the same from day to day, that they do not always hold the same feelings toward a given experience or person, that they are not always consistent. They are in flux, and seem more content to continue in this flowing current. (p.171)

In successful therapy, according to Rogers, clients find openness to all experience, including elements of the personality that might have been hidden before.

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