Rogers' Seven Stages of Process


5 Feb 2012 |  for trainees | by Bill, writer at UK & Ireland Counsellor Directory


Carl Rogers' model of therapy stages can be useful to help assess progress in therapy, and for communication with other professionals.

As part of the theory of Person Centred Counselling, Carl Rogers suggested that the client's growth in self-development could be identified as follows:

    Stage One: client is very defensive and resistant to change.

    Stage Two: client becomes slightly less rigid and will talk about external events or other people.

    Stage Three: client talks about theirself, but as an object & avoids discussion of present events.

    Stage Four: client begins to talk about deep feelings and develops a relationship with the counsellor.

    Stage Five: client can express present emotions and is beginning to rely more on their own decision-making abilities and increasingly accepts more responsibility for their actions.

    Stage Six: client shows rapid growth towards congruence and begins to develop unconditional positive regard for others.  This stage signals the end of the need for formal therapy.

    Stage Seven: client is a fully-functioning, self-actualised individual who is empathic and shows unconditional positive regard for others. This individual can relate their previous therapy to present day, real-life situations.

This model should not be regarded though, as a discrete set of steps, more of a general trend over time than a fixed level at which the client will be functioning, with clients perhaps displaying traits and behaviours from more than one stage at a time.

As a therapist. though, it can be a useful model for identifying whether therapy is likely to be effective, where the client is in terms of therapeutic change, and in assessing their progress over time.

One of the advantages of theory is that it provides a standardised language for communication with other professionals, and person-centred practitioners may use this model in supervision to discuss case work and help evaluate client progress.


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