Contributions to Client-Centered Therapy and Person-Centered Approach
Julie Ann Racino, MAPA, BA
In 1977, after working for two years after graduating from Cornell University, I headed for my first choice of our Nation's clinical psychology programs- Northwestern University Medical School. Located off the shores of Lake Michigan, in downtown Chicago, it was there that I met Nat Raskin, whom I later learned worked with the illustrious psychologist, Dr. Carl Rogers, in encounter groups in the US and Europe. Dr. Nathaniel Raskin later became Department Head for Social and Behavioral Sciences, and in his 2004 book he describes his inauguration in 1978 as President of the American Academy of Psychotherapists.
My primary relationship with Nat was with a one semester course in which he taught non-directive counseling, my first semester in medical school (clinical psychology). His 2004 book is exactly about that course and work, and indeed I was unbelievably delighted as Dr. Carl Roger's work was my favorite of all the leading psychologists (e.g., R. D. Laing, Sigmund Freud, Gordon Allport, Carl Jung, Kurt Lewin, B.F. Skinner, Alfred Adler) taught at Cornell University, Liberal Arts Program. Non-directive (client-centered) clinical counseling was "right on" with Dr. Roger's unconditional positive regard, and scientifically-based therapy, clearly superior as an approach for healing and professional helping in the office and clinical settings in which clinical psychologists often work. Later, I would transfer my course credits, together with others, to my Maxwell MPA degree, predating the now joint MPH-MPA degree programs.
Nat's book, which is highly referenced to his and Roger's work for decades, includes his "landmark study of six differing therapeutic orientations" which Dr. Roger's believed deserved much more attention. Nat himself took courses from Rogers his first year in Chicago, with his term paper appearing in the Journal of Consulting Psychology on non-directive attitudes versus the concentation on non-directive techniques. He also describes congruence, as one of the three necessary and sufficient conditions for success in the psychotherapeutic process. The book is a must read for proteges of Rogerian psychotherapy, and I would argue for all community psychologists offering services to the public. Subsequent to Cornell University, my thesis was on the development of generic, community approaches such as family support.
My career, of course took another path in which I was involved in the development of the first community programs in mental health, first in New York State in the 1970s. Later, I would move on to the development of programs in related fields (e.g., intellectual disabilities, traumatic brain injury) and in other sectors and roles (e.g., Executive, Education, Research, Development) and Non-Profit, Governmental, and the Corporate and Business Sectors in the US and internationally. My path, of course, would cross many other leaders and contributors, but always, Rogerian and non-directive counseling approaches, would be core with "existential psychology" undergirding the world gates. All counseling, other than group, dyad or family therapies, tend to be person-centered approaches which is one of the reasons I enjoy clinical work.
I was lucky to meet with Nat while I was in Chicago for the International Association of Persons with Severe Handicaps, where I was chairing a new Committee on Housing (with Elaine Ostroff, who later edited a world book on universal design), and a panel on our national federal center on community living research and developments in the US. He also would write to me when Carl became ill and had a visual impairment before he passed, with Nat having worked with the American Foundation for the Blind earlier in his career in New York City. Carl and Nat claimed each other as friends, and I claimed myself as honored to have met Nat! In 1985, while I joined Syracuse University and the federal Rehabilitation Research and Training Center's network, Nat was teaching courses on clinical interviewing and empathy, and visiting South Africa as part of an international team; Carl Rogers, on the team, was 83 years old!
This month, now 2017, I read Nat Raskin's The first 50 years and the next 10 in which he appraised the person-centered approach; it was published in the Person-Centered Review, 5(4): 364-372 in November 1990. It was the period to which we contributed decades to the dominance of "positivistic" approaches, which at Syracuse University, unwittingly included Bogdan's and Taylor's positivistic evaluation research and social acceptance theories published as part of the work of the national Center on which I served as Deputy Director. Nat cites the Roger's leading book, On becoming a person (1961) which introduced me to him at Cornell undergraduate days, and indicates that his publications with Carl date way back to 1949 on coordinated research in psychotherapy! The next generation is now publishing about Nat and Carl, and I find the interweaving of the generations to be both right and intriguing.
We will miss our colleagues and leaders as we move to the next decades, but positivism is not for just a few decades, but a mainstay to the future for a good planet (i.e., Sustainable Development Goals) and good lives in the "galaxies" (the Star Trek generations). Nat and I respectively in our distinct careers, approved a range of theories (e.g., personality development) and thus, community and university practices in the US. However, in my conversations with Nat, both of us are in our own practices, at the clinical effectiveness of Rogerian therapy and similar foundational sciences to support good personal and societal outcomes. Today,"anti-behaviorism" becomes critical to "purge" the growth in "bad" (e.g., nuclear warfare, growing terrorism and police interventions), societal and personal outcomes that can and do occur in the US and world. Looking forward to reading the transcripts and the further work conducted, published and released!!
Bogdan, R. & Taylor, S.J (1987). Toward a sociology of acceptance: The other side of the study of deviance. Social Policy, 18: 34-39.
Bogdan, R. & Taylor, S. (1990). Looking at the bright side: A positive approach to qualitative policy and evaluation research. Qualitative Sociology, 13: 183-192.
Hall, C.S. & Lindzey, G. (1957, 1970). Theories of personality. NY, NY and London: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Racino, J. (1979). Education of supervisors and managers in community programs in Central New York and New York State. Syracuse, NY: Transitional Living Services of Onondaga County, CNY Training Coalition, and NYSACRA.
Racino, J. (1986). Panel presentation on community living research and development. Chicago, IL: International Association of Persons with Severe Handicaps (TASH).
Racino, J. & Ostroff, E. (1990). Housing that people want and control. TASH-International. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University, Division of Special Education and Rehabilitation.
Racino, J. (2014). Public administration and disability: Community services administration in the US. NY, NY and London: CRC Press.
Raskin, N. J. (1985, February 12). Letter to Julie Ann Racino, Syracuse, NY. Chicago, IL: Northwestern University Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
Raskin, N.J. (1990). The first 50 years and the next 10. Person-Centered Review, 5(4): 364-372.
Raskin, N.J. (2004). Contributions to client-centered therapy and the person-centered approach. Ross-on-the-Wye: PCCS Books.
Rogers, C.R. (1961). On becoming a person. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Rogers, C.R. (2004). A personal message from Carl Rogers. In N.J. Raskin, Conbtributions to client-centered therapy and the person-centered approach (pp. v-vi). Ross-on-the-Wye, Herefordshire, UK: PCCS Books.
Rogers, C.R., Raskin, N.J., et al. (1949). A coordinated research in psychotherapy. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 13: 149-220.