The Analysis of Behavior Centered and Person Centered Therapy and the Benefits of the Integration and Synthesis of Both in Counseling

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The long-term goal of any counselling session is to aid the client in their overcoming and defeat of obstacles they may face through the facilitation of psychological tools and theories. The evolution of psychology over the last 100 years has seen numerous theories put forth for application to therapy in the clinical setting. Two widely used and well-founded methods include Behaviour Therapy and Person Centered Therapy. The dynamics of Behaviour Therapy were first discovered by the famous researcher and psychologist B.F Skinner, through his findings on operant conditioning (Lindsley; Skinner & Soloman, 1953). The behaviour modification component of Behaviour Therapy utilises techniques founded in Skinner’s discovery of operant conditioning, such as reinforcement; to both encourage adaptive and extinguish maladaptive behaviours (Öst, 2008). Carl Rogers, a famous and historical psychologist believed in a more self-directed approach to counselling, encouraging empathy, genuineness and non-judgemental caring. This approach was aptly named Person Centered Therapy, its foundation relying heavily upon the Rogerian hypothesis of one’s self actualising tendency towards the realisation of their full potential (Raskin & Rogers, 2000). Despite the diametrically opposed nature of both theories, the integration and synthesis of the best attributes of both behavioural methods and person-centred values would lead to a more efficient and successful counselling experience, for both the psychologist and client.

Using the Behavioural approach to therapy, guidance by the psychologist is very structured and direct. Goal setting is an important process in Behaviour Centered Therapy; it is about establishing with the client their maladaptive thinking...

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