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Carl Rogers: Disclose Technique

Book cover for Carl Rogers

Rogers’s Technique from the book Carl Rogers, Control Freak

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Rogers’s Technique Presented with Full Disclosure

  • This page presents an example for professional counselors on how to use Rogers’s technique with openness.

Carl Rogers’s Technique: With Full Disclosure

Suggest & Explain an Experiment Based on Person-Centered Therapy

Let us engage in an experiment (counselor talking to a client). This experiment is based on the technique of perhaps the most famous counselor of all time, Carl R. Rogers. The main difference, from what Rogers would do and what we are going to do, is that we will be explaining the technique to you rather than just applying it to your problem without your understanding what is going on ahead of time.

Your problem is ideally suited to this experiment because your problem has two opposite and conflicting positions. First, what I want you to do is to verbalize both sides of the conflict. For example, you might say, “I hate my mother because she loves my older sister and brother more than me,” and “I love my mother because she took good care of me when, as a child, I was home sick which happened fairly often.”

Check the Client’s Intention

First, let’s check your intention. Do you want to resolve this conflict? Yes, I know you came in complaining about it and the feelings of anxiety and depression it brought with it. However, sometimes people have reasons for hanging onto problems because the problems fulfill hidden needs. For example, you might like to feel superior to your mother in your parenting of your children. Perhaps you need an excuse to behave dysfunctionally in some area of your life like over-drinking or gambling. At any rate, do you intend to end this conflict right now? Yes, right this minute. If not, we can put this experiment off until another time.

Okay, you want to resolve the conflict. We are going to help you to find your own solution to the conflict. That is the point of the experiment. I assist and encourage you to confront your conflict, and by facing it fully, you resolve it to your satisfaction. Bearing the battle, of course, requires that you have the emotional skills to handle facing your problem. However, I think you have them after our previous sessions. Do you agree that you are emotionally capable of handling this experiment? Yes? Great.

Begin the Exercise, Technique, & Experiment

Now take each side and hold it firmly in mind and feel it as strongly and emotionally as possible. If it helps, you can put each side into one of these two chairs that I put in front of you and facing each other. However, the chairs are just a prop and are not necessary. You can do this entirely inside or with the chairs to help separate the sides. Whichever you prefer is the best way for you right now.

Please feel the tension and conflict from your opposite points of view (hate and love). You need to stand and feel that pressure as fully as possible. It is that pressure which will push you to find your own solution to your problem. We have time, just sit with the pressure, remain on the hotspot until you reach an integration or balance that both sides can share in or agree to.

After Some Time Has Passed in Silence

You now look less tense and more relaxed. I am wondering what you figured out while you were facing your problem head-on in this safe and supportive space?

Confirm & Reinforce the Client’s Solution

So what you are saying is that you can accept your mother as a flawed human being because we are all flawed. Moreover, because you love your mother, you can choose to focus on her good points and to forgive her bad points. Well, that sounds like a sound philosophy considering we all need acceptance and forgiveness. I know I do.

End the Counseling Session on Success

Thank you for risking facing your conflict. I think you should take some time sitting in the waiting room, your car, or walking in a nearby park before you go home.

For one thing, it is not good to drive a car when you are too emotional. However, more importantly, I think you need some time to let this settle in and to make peace with it. Let’s finish our paperwork, schedule a followup visit, and end our session on this positive work. Congratulations for solving your own problem. Thank you for letting me help with and witness your success.

Openness Comes from Sharing & Disclosure

For all of Rogers’s claims of genuineness and openness, I think you will find that disclosing the nature of the technique to clients before using it is more genuine and open.

Book cover for Carl Rogers