An International Colloquium on the 100th Anniversary of Carl Rogers
(Nov 23-24, 2001)


Unser Standort - Weiterentwicklungen - Hypothesen
Our position - further developments - hypotheses

Ich will zunächst ein paar allgemeine Gedanken zu unserem Standort und Überlegungen bezüglich Zukunft und Identitätsbildung zur Diskussion stellen. Dann werde ich meine theoretischen Weiterentwicklungen, Präzisierungen und Definitionen anhand von entwicklungspsychologischen Befunden von Empathie vorstellen. Und schließlich in einem dritten Teil einige Hypothesen zu einer störungsspezifischen Krankheitsentwicklung unter dem Aspekt von Empathie darstellen.

At the beginning I want to discuss some general ideas about our position and considerations concerning the future and the development of identity. Afterwards I will present my theoretical further developments, specifications and definitions, particularly using developmental psychological findings about empathy. Finally, in a third part, I will describe some hypotheses regarding a disorder specific development of illness in the light of empathy.

Understanding the actualizing tendency through the recent events

The recent terrorists’ attacks and the bombing of Afghanistan,  have compelled me to re-examine some of my understanding regarding the theory of PCA. Though I embrace the existence of the actualizing tendency I embrace it as a person born and raised in the west within a more or less common set of systems we name freedom and democracy, and as a person whose world perceptions are nurtured by a long intellectual tradition. I am not sure, however, that my concepts are applicable or exportable. The actualizing tendency may indeed be universal, but what is being actualized, in which way and with what results has perhaps to be reconsidered. Maybe we might better address these issues if we take into account the diverse views of different people who might  experience their actualizing tendency and especially their organismic valuing process  in quite different terms, based on their particular environment, physical, social, economical or historical. It  just might be that a Talhiban, just like a Greek in the Thermopile or an American in Los Alamos is not actualizing his conditioned self by killing others and  himself, but  instead expresses his organismic tendency by killing himself and others in order to protect his loved ones, his children, his world, his inherent need for freedom. Is it that the only universality of the actualizing tendency in humans is to nurture this inner freedom that Rogers talks about, especially when all other organismic venues for its expression are blocked? When dying and killing appear as the only possible way?

Another of my questions refers to how is the actualizing tendency regulated.
Is it that unlimited growth, evolution, increasing complexity or expansion may lead to chaos, destruction or disintegration? The human history is full of such examples. Are we having self regulating mechanisms built within us which occasionally protect us from such an eventuality? Or perhaps the regulating mechanism is something like entropy, another universal or better cosmic tendency like the formative tendency, which inexorably leads to deterioration by increasing disorganisation and randomness, thus setting limits to uncontrolled growth. Are these two forces balancing each other?  If so, maybe it is time to embrace the existence of entropy and at the same time to accept the notion of death in humans as we accept it in nature; as a constant companion and as a source of energy and renewal, rather than as a cursed, preferably ignored reality.

Has the emphasis on 'being' become a condition of worth?

My work as a supervisor and trainer offers me a unique perspective on the development of person-centred therapists and person-centred therapy. I see trainees grow into confident practitioners, but I do not see them become confident theoreticians. My thesis is that this is detrimental both to the individual's practice and to the wider development of the approach. Practitioners who are unable to integrate theory and practice are limited in their ability to work at depth with a wide range of clients; they also have difficulty with representing their work coherently to other professionals. Has the emphasis on 'being' become a condition of worth?

Opting-In: Moving from inadequacy to functionality

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the person-centred approach gained heights of popularism which have never been endowed upon any psychotheoretical system. The price of that popularism was a disengagement and, indeed, an apparent conflict with the principles and practices of mainstream society. We included ourselves out. That voluntary social exclusion reflected from within our approach our own predilections for impotence. It is a difficult thesis to face but the person-centred approach may have become a hiding place for inadequates.

The alternative has also existed - numerous powerful examples of the person-centred approach 'opting-into' the mainstream institutions of society. If we have proper confidence in our model then we are not so easily 'put-off' and can argue to have it established. The resulting engagement with the language of psychopathology, the principles of external evaluation, accreditation, development of a pedagogy and the ongoing expansion of theory can and have resulted in the inclusion of the approach without any compromising of its principles or practices. The thesis, then, of this presentation is that we have something powerful to offer if only we can engage our own power in the offering of it. The roots of this thesis exist in published form in the final chapter of 'Person-Centred Therapy Today: New Frontiers in Theory and Practice', Mearns &Thorne, London: Sage (2000).

The present dilemma of the Person-Centered Approach

In this presentation I ask the question of what should be done in order to let the person-centered approach survive in the present cultural and political climate. My central thesis will be that person-centered therapy can only survive, when we succeed in demonstrating that we have a distinctive theme and a distinctive practice. This poses a very complex dilemma to us. On the one hand we have to adapt ourselves to the present demands in order to survive. If we do so, however, we sacrifice the core of our approach and will no longer be distinct from other approaches and therefore survive neither.

It will be my pleasure to discuss this dilemma with you and suggest some solutions.

Erkenntnis oder Anerkennung? Psychotherapie als "Kunst des Nichtwissens"
Knowledge or acknowledgement? Psychotherapy as 'the art of not-knowing'

Indem Carl Rogers nachdrücklich die Person ins Zentrum gestellt hat, hat er Psychotherapie als 'Kunst der Begegnung' begründet. Gegenwärtig erweisen sich ziel- und methodenorientierte Richtungen aufgrund der Forderungen nach Effizienzmaximierung und Erfolgsorientierung als quotenträchtig. Dies erscheint auch einer Reihe personzentrierter Praktikerinnen und Praktiker als anstrebenswert und erweist sich als Quelle für Entwicklungen, die den Ansatz selbst verwässern, verharmlosen oder ganz simpel seinen guten Namen vereinnahmen. Während in den verschiedensten therapeutischen Schulen zunehmend auch ganzheitliche Konzepte und ein beziehungsorientiertes Verständnis Platz greifen — eine Entwicklung, die unzweifelhaft als Einfluss des Personzentrierten Ansatzes zu sehen ist —, gehen einige Orientierungen, die sich auf Rogers berufen, den Weg in die entgegengesetzte Richtung und setzen zunehmend auf Fertigkeiten, "Techniken" und "Methoden".

Aus einem erkenntnistheoretischen Blickwinkel erweist sich dies als der Unterschied zwischen Erkennen und Anerkennen, aus anthropologischer Perspektive als Unterschied zwischen "Haben und Machen" auf der einen und  "Sein" auf der anderen Seite und von einem ethischen Standpunkt als Unterschied zwischen Beeinflussung aus einem überheblichen Expertentum heraus und Antworten aus Ver-antwort-lichkeit. Anlässlich seines hundertsten Geburtstages möchte ich in Weiterführung meines Vortrags in Chicago Rogers' reiches Vermächtnis hinsichtlich des "Standes unserer Kunst" in dieser Hinsicht weiter ausarbeiten — als "Kunst des Nichtwissens". Die Konsequenzen daraus möchte ich mit den Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmern diskutieren.

In focussing on the human being as a person Carl Rogers founded therapy as an art of personal encounter.  Nowadays goal– and skill–oriented approaches are en vogue. They also seem attractive to a lot of person-centered practitioners and are a source of various developments which are watering down or underrating the approach or simply make use of its good name. While in various schools of psychotherapy open and holistic concepts and a relationship–orientated understanding become more important — a development undoubtedly influenced by the Person-Centered Approach — some orientations claiming to stand in the Rogerian tradition go the other way round and increasingly embrace skills, 'techniques' and 'methods'.

From an epistemological point of view this denotes the difference between knowledge and acknowledgment, from an anthropological perspective the difference between 'having and making' on the one hand and 'being' on the other hand and from an ethical stance the difference between directing out of presumptious expertise and responding out of response-ability. On the occasion of his one hundredth anniversary and as a sequel to my Chicago lecture I want to further elaborate on Rogers's rich legacy concerning the state of the art of psychotherapy as 'the art of not-knowing' and discuss the consequences with the participants.

bar.jpg - 0,89 K

English   deutsch

bar.jpg - 0,89 K

wb01343_x.gif - 0,93 K
home.gif - 0,93 K Hauptseite 
  Main page