Evaluate the Claim That Person-Centred Therapy Offers the Therapist All That He/She Will Need to Treat Clients.

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In order to evaluate the above claim it is first necessary to look at the historical context from which it emerged, and the basic premise on which its theories rest, before looking at how this model effects change in the client, and then considering whether this approach is enough to achieve results in all types of client problems. Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) is one of the humanistic models of therapeutic practice that emerged from the 1940’s to the 1960’s, developed as a ‘third force’: an alternative to the prevailing models of psychoanalysis (Freud, Jung, Eriksson and Adler) on the one hand, and behaviourism (Watson, Pavlov and Skinner) on the other. Behaviourism and Psychoanalysis are almost polar opposites in theory. Psychoanalysis is based on the theory that everything humans do is completely controlled by the unconscious mind at some level, whereas behaviourism is based on the theory that almost every human emotion is conditioned by habit and can be learned or unlearned. However both are deterministic in their approaches, both in effect reduce the client to an aspect of their life or personality (behaviourism focused on reinforcement of stimulus-response behaviour; psychoanalysis on unconscious irrational and instinctive forces determining human thought and behaviour) and both tended to use directive approaches by the therapist to resolving the problem issues. In 1943, Abraham Maslow published his paper A Theory of Human Motivation which posited that people have a hierarchy of needs, from the most basic, physiological needs, through ‘safety’ needs; love and social needs and ‘esteem’ needs, ending with the need for self-actualisation. This hierarchy is often depicted as a triangle, with ‘physiological needs’ at the bottom, and ‘self-actualisation’ at the summit. The theory is that the ‘lower’ or more basic needs must be met before a person can
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