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What are the strengths and weaknesses of the person-centered model?

Strengths of the person-centered model include that there is a common focus and mutual respect, and weaknesses include that the client must be able to establish goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

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The person-centered approach to psychological therapy was developed by Carl Rogers, who wanted to create a therapeutic model that allowed a client to focus on their own understanding of a situation rather than on a subconscious motive or a therapist's interpretation. Clients are encouraged to recognize their own self-concept (what they perceive and believe about themselves) and compare it to reality in order to overcome the state of incongruence (the difference between one's experiences and one's self-concept).

This person-centered model has both strengths and weaknesses. One of the approach's major strengths is that it allows the client (notice the term client rather than patient) to take responsibility for their own therapy. The therapist serves as guide and partner to the client, focusing especially on treating the client with “unconditional positive regard” (i.e., genuine care and acceptance) while remaining empathic and keeping their own personality and opinions out of the way. The focus is on the client rather than on the therapist's interpretation of the client, and this can be freeing for the client, who is not subject to someone else's often misguided opinions. The therapist concentrates instead on helping the client identify their own feelings, questions, concerns, and issues. The therapist fully encourages the client to express themselves without fear of judgment.

On the other hand, though, the person-centered model does have some weaknesses. It does not, for instance, allow the therapist to challenge the client in any way, and some people need a challenge in order to become motivated to face their issues. Further, therapists tend to be quite passive and even overly optimistic, and this can lead clients to believe that they are not taking issues seriously enough or are downplaying fears and anxieties that need to be dealt with. Clients may believe they are not actually receiving much in the way of help from their therapists. Also, the unconditional positive regard of the therapist will not teach a client to face real-world difficulties with other people, who certainly will not always give them such regard. Finally, the person-centered approach will not necessarily provide tools for behavioral changes, problem solving, or goal setting and fulfillment. Clients may improve their self-concept, but they are not taught to act assertively, improve their interactions with other people, or plan for and work toward the future.

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The main strength of Carl Rogers's person-centered model is that it is based on one's own experience, which, more often than not, provides a firmer basis for knowledge and understanding.

Each individual's experiences are unique, and so by putting the patient at the center of therapy, the therapist in question is better able to get to the bottom of whatever problems the patient might be experiencing.

A further strength of the person-centered model is its universal applicability. By treating people as people, rather than according to their race, gender, or sexuality, the therapist is better able to deal with a wide range of patients.

The main weakness of person-centered therapy could be that it can...

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be seen as too individualistic. In societies and cultures where the collective enjoys primacy over the individual, such an approach may not necessarily be the best. In fact, it may not even be possible.

If the identities of individual patients have been shaped to a considerable extent by society, family, and kinship groups, then it's difficult to see how it is possible, let alone feasible, to place the patient at the center of their treatment. Here it may be difficult to focus fully on the individual.

In turn, this makes a nonsense of the claim, which we examined above, that person-centered therapy is universal and can be applied to patients from different cultures and traditions.

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The person-centered approach, developed in the 1950s and proposed by psychologist Carl Rogers, is a model used in psychotherapy, the medical field, and even in business plans, that consists of serving the client at every level of need, and basing the service provided entirely on who the client is.  To be able to provide a person-centered approach, there must be a strong relationship between client and provider, one where there is open communication, mutual trust, and ongoing interaction. 

The strengths of the model lay in the solid nature of the client-provider relationship. There is mutual respect, good conversations take place, and there is a common focus, which is to help get the client where they want to be. Again this can be either in a therapeutic setting, or in a medical recovery setting, or even in a business setting. When the client is at the center of the strategy the focus is not lost and more can be accomplished. 

The weaknesses of the model will depend on the client and whether the goals that the client wants to reach are SMART, that is, s-specific, m-measurable, a-attainable, r-realistic, and t-timely. It is there that the provider and client's communication is so important. To develop goals that are smart, both parties must be on the same wavelength in terms of strategies and interventions. Goals should reflect that the interventions actually worked.

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The concept of a person centered approach is that the client is the best expert on themselves and is best able to help heal themselves. This is the opposite of the medical approach in which the client is viewed as someone who needs to be fixed by those other than the client.

The strengths of the person centered approach can include that the client is the one guiding the experience while the practitioner reflects what the client is stating or doing and can re-frame ideas and practices. The practitioner does not pass judgement regarding whether the client is right or wrong.

A weakness with this approach could be that as it is client led; it is up to the client to be able to process information and make logical decisions for his/her own well being.  In the event that someone is not able to do this, the cornerstone of the practitioner not passing judgement or making statements when the client is right or wrong could be counter productive to the well being of the client.

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