turnbook.gif - 0,93 K The European PCT Book
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Brian Thorne / Elke Lambers (Eds.)

A European Perspective

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Description Contents
Text from: Peter F. Schmid, 'On Becoming a Person-Centred Approach'
Text from Peter F. Schmid, 'Face to face': The Art of Encounter

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London  Thousand Oaks  New Delhi (Sage) 1998
256 Pages

ISBN 0-7619-5154-7
Paper 14.99
• [23 EUR] ISBN 0-7619-5155-5

Contributions by
Eva-Maria Biermann-Ratjen (2) • Ute Binder • Leif J. Braaten • Chris Deleu & Dion Van Werde • Lidwien Geertens & Olga Waaldijk • Sarah Hawtin & Judy Moore • Mia Leijssen • Martin van Kalmthout (2) • Germain Lietaer • Campbell Purton • Peter F. Schmid (2) • Brian Thorne (2) • Dion Van Werde

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This book brings together up-to-date contributions to the development of person-centred theory and practice from leading European practitioners.

The book makes available for the first time in English some of the most significant theoretical ideas and practical applications of a distinguished group of contributors at the cutting edge of the approach. It also gives a valuable insight into a vibrant professional network whose members are making a significant impact on the European world of counselling and psychotherapy. Covering a wide range of person-centred issues, the book provides unique and challenging material that will act as a springboard for debate at many levels between experienced practitioners, supervisors, trainers and trainees. The diverse contributions reflect the vitality and originality of person-centred therapists throughout the European continent and the book will be of immense heuristic value as well as practical relevance.

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Brian Thorne, The Person-Centred Approach in Europe: Its History and Current Significance

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Martin van Kalmthout, Person-Centred Theory as a System of Meaning
Campbell Purton, Unconditional Positive Regard and its Spiritual Implications
Peter F. Schmid, 'On Becoming a Person-Centred Approach': A Person-Centred Understanding of the Person
Martin van Kalmthout, Personality Change and the Concept of the Self
Germain Lietaer, From Non-Directive to Experiential: A Paradigm Unfolding
Peter F. Schmid, 'Face to face': The Art of Encounter
Sarah Hawtin & Judy Moore, Empowerment or Collusion? The Social Context of Person-Centred Therapy
Eva-Maria Biermann-Ratjen, On the Development of the Person in Relationships
Eva-Maria Biermann-Ratjen, Incongruence and Psychopathology

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Mia Leijssen, Focusing: Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Conditions of Growth
Lidwien Geertens & Olga Waaldijk, Client-Centered Therapy for Adolescents: An Interactional Point of View
Leif J. Braaten, A Person-Centred Perspective on Leadership and Team-Building
Dion Van Werde, "Anchorage' as a Core Concept in Working with Psychotic People
Chris Deleu & Dion Van Werde, The Relevance of a Phenomenological Attitude when Working with Psychotic People
Ute Binder, Empathy and Empathy Development with Psychotic Clients

Brian Thorne, Postscript: Person-Centred Therapy – An International Force

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Peter F. Schmid,
'On Becoming a Person-Centred Approach': A Person-Centred Understanding of the Person

For the Person–Centred Approach it is of decisive significance to reflect in a fundamental way on which conception of man its theory and practice should be based and to establish in this way a basic anthropological stance. If we do not do this we would inevitably be exposed to the legitimate reproach that we are merely, as person–centred practitioners, acquiring clinical skills as techniques.

The name of the approach contains the term ‘person’, which is reason enough to ask what this actually means. Even if the name may first have originated for pragmatic reasons (that is, to find a comprehensive term for possibile new fields of application), Rogers also deliberately chose it because of its essential meaning. For, unlike other psychotherapeutic and social–psychological interpretations, the Person–Centred Approach takes a radical look at the human being as a person.

The traditional, problem–centred approach in psychology and psychotherapy ultimately aims at controlling the world and other people; according to this approach, the therapist, the educationist, the group leader, the pastoral worker, the social worker etc. is an expert who, on the basis of his skills and knowledge, can say more or less, ‘where we should go’. Whoever subscribes to a Person–Centred Approach, however, is convinced of and thus has faith in the fact that every human being possesses the capacity to shape his or her own life and that the main objective of every form of aid should be to support this capacity, that is to promote man's freedom and autonomy. This, however, is not to be seen only as an ultimate aim and, so to speak, as the optimal status ‘post therapy’ — as many adherents of other approaches object, saying: in the last analysis independence is also what we aim for, but first the crisis must be eliminated, a problem must be solved, an illness must be cured, and then the ‘cured patient’ can be considered ‘normal’ again and left to his own devices. An approach which takes man — in all stages of life — really seriously as a person believes that all human beings are themselves capable of determining the direction, the nature and the quantity of their change in a constructive way, and they are believed to have this capacity because of the tendency of life to develop and to extend its possibilities — if the human person is offered at least a minimum of suitable interpersonal conditions.

What sounds so simple and obvious turns out, on closer examination, to be a revolutionary change in the philosophy of interpersonal relationships, as well as in the way they are handled in practice. Philosophy took a long time to consider man of sufficient value to be worth asking questions about (Kant was the first to take the step beyond ontology towards anthropology) and only in the twentieth century has philosophy really become serious about the fact that man can never include himself in his questions without entering into dialogue with his own kind. Psychology has not even now really undertaken this paradigm shift. Likewise, psychotherapy still considers its task as one of diagnosis and interpretation. This is exactly what Carl Rogers spoke out against.

Superb. I agree completely about the need to clarify a philosophical position about the person — to make a case for why the client-centered position is humanisticaly essential as an alternative to the more traditional instrumental position of psychology."
Margaret Warner, Chicago

I would like to congratulate you on the two articles in "European Perspectives". I really liked your etymological, philosophical and theological backgrounds. I studied some philosophical psychology through Gendlin and have rudimentary knowledge of Husserl and Heidegger. However I see you are expertly grounded in philosophy and theology. I feel the client-centered movement needs this type of scholarship to add humanistic depth. I hope you publish more in English.
Garry Prouty, Chicago

I have just been absorbed in reading/experiencing your two papers in the Thorne-Lambers volume. Your writing is itself a form of encounter, on more than one level. You engage and connect such a rich tapestry of ideas and meaning from philosophical thinkers that the reader (this reader, for one) feels the connection with fellow-searchers across time, language, context and domains of interest. On another level, there is your own quality of searching that engages me. And, I feel informed by the reach of your knowledge of sources beyond my own ken and linguistic ability.
I think that Rogers himself would have been interested and further informed by some of your careful discriminations and development of meaning regarding encounter and relationship. In a way it is too bad that he is not still around to see how you and others of us have been drawing and building on his work. In another way, perhaps his absence has left us freer to reexamine and 'grow' the approach in further dimensions.
As you know, I am in my own way engaged strongly with some issues that I understand are also axial in your thought. Over time, it dawned increasingly on me that relationships and meetings with the Other are, but are not only, vitally important settings in personal experience and development. More than this, engagement is the stuff of life; we live in and though engagement. Our engagements with fellow humans, direct and indirect, immediate and in memory, personal and collective, symbolic and flesh-and-blood, comprise a great multi-level 'region' we don't merely inhabit but derive our individuality from and extend into, a context in which our very 'self' is rooted and has its life...
I could go on, but I think you can see that your papers are 'fertile ground' for me.

Godfrey Barrett-Lennard, Australia

In this scholarly book, Brian Thorne and Elke Lambers have gathered together significant contributions to the advancement of person-centered theory and practice from leading exponents of the approach in Austria, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. I found the book both stimulating and challenging. The sections on theory stretched me in my understanding of the approach. I strongly recommend it to anyone from within or without the person-centered tradition who wants to achieve a real understanding of the approach 'post Rogers' and get to grips with the vibrancy and vitality of person-centred thought in Europe.
Counselling. The Journal of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

[This book] stimulates reflection... I would recommend it for both students and therapists'
Counselling Psychology Review

Those with an interest in working with adolescents, leadership and team building, and focusing will find riches a-plenty. This book is a treasure-trove that I can recommend to person-centred and non-person-centred trainers and practitioners alike without reservation, in the certain knowledge that they will be enriched by it'
Person-Centred Practice

People commited to the person-centred approach will find this book stimulating, and one that is likely to provoke some internal arguments as they read it. Others, whose understanding of Rogers begins and ends with 'the core conditions' will find new perspectives and an unsuspected depth here
British Journal of Guidance & Counselling

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Peter F. Schmid,
'Face to face': The Art of Encounter

If in a helping relationship the other human being is considered as a person and not as an object which has to be treated or guided, then as a matter of principle there can be no way of instrumentalizing him or her. The ‘helper’ enters into a process of change while letting himself or herself become involved in a relationship on a personal level and as such leaves the protection traditionally provided by the role of expert. Therefore, according to the Person–Centred Approach, psychotherapy as much as other socio–psychological activities is a form of interpersonal relationship which takes into account this fundamental equality. Accordingly the ultimate aim is a ‘personal encounter’ — which is the form of relationship that shows this personal quality, in which there is an immediate communication person–to–person. The term ‘encounter’ as an expression of this quality has finally become established not only in theology and philosophy, but also in psychology and psychotherapy. One of the constituent characteristics of what we understand nowadays by ‘person’ is the encounter with other persons. It is only in the ‘community of personal encounter’ that persons can grow (Tillich, 1956: 208).

Rogers himself describes therapy as an encounter — emphasizing the relationship and the genuineness of the therapist (‘therapy as relationship encounter’; 1962b: 185) which, according to him, have precedence over techniques, theory and ideology. Consequently the Person–Centred Approach makes a high claim: ‘Every form of therapy more or less lives on the encounter between therapist and client and, in group and family therapy, on the communication between clients. But there are not many theories which understand encounter [...] as the central source of healing and not as a subordinate one.’ (Friedman, 1987: 11) At any rate, in the Person–Centred Approach the interpersonal encounter is the basis, the process and the goal of therapy, in the relationship of two persons as well as in the group.

With this short outline of a phenomenology of encounter I here intend to counterbalance the view that Rogers' approach is one–sidedly individualistic. It has to be admitted that the relational aspect was only developed by him at a later stage and was not presented in such a systematically theoretical way as his earlier, more individualistic expositions of theory. (Most of Rogers' theoretical statements concerning the Person–Centred Approach date from his early years, while later on he added significantly to the approach, in particular the relationship dimension, but did not conceptualize it theoretically to the same extent. This makes it necessary to reconceptualize person–centred theory in line with these developments.) Person–centred group work especially has made the immediately present interpersonal relationship central to the image of man and thus has made a crucial contribution to the understanding of what it means to be a person. With the expression ‘encounter–group’ it points to an anthropology of relationality which affirms that the fundamental fact that humans live in groups is integral to the nature of the human being.

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