Depression and Person-Centered Psychotherapy

The case under review involves treating depression with person-centered therapy (PCT). The patient is Joanna, a 50-year-old woman complaining of feeling lonely and unworthy of love. She has been divorced for 8 years and has two children of 21 and 24 years old who do not live with her. Joanna says she has poor relationships with her children and does not have any close friends. She devotes much time to her work as a cashier but says that the job does not satisfy her. Apart from that, she complains of trouble sleeping, poor appetite, and increased fatigability. Joanna refused taking antidepressants, so psychotherapy was the only option for her. Psychological treatment is proved to be effective in such cases, provided that the therapist is respectful and attentive, and the patient has realistic expectations of the therapy (Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care). The therapist decided to treat Joanne’s depressive disorder with PCT.

PCT was developed by Carl Rogers in the middle of the 20th century. Its feature is the perception of a human as a constantly evolving organism with the ability “for self-direction, autonomy, and cooperation” (Bazzano 5). The goal of PCT is to establish a trust relationship between the therapist and the patient through dialogue in order to change the patient’s lifestyle and cure the disease (Cloninger and Cloninger 247). To achieve this goal, the therapist should be congruent, meaning able to listen and use the information to improve the client’s well-being (Bohart and Watson 227). The effectiveness of therapy is influenced by the patient’s attitude toward himself; the more negative it is, the more time and effort the therapy will take (Zuroff et al. 164). To treat Joanne’s depression with PCT, the therapist listened carefully to her concerns and feelings. The therapist used the strategy of active listening by rephrasing and repeating Joanne’s words.

The therapist also used narratives describing people in the same situation as Joanne, that is, feeling lonely and having problems communicating with their children. Upon telling how they coped with those issues, the therapist invited Joanne to apply their solutions to herself. During the course of treatment, the therapist was appreciative and encouraged Joanne to share her worries. After several sessions, Joanne reported that she felt better, her troubles with sleep began to bother her less, and she set out to improve relationships with her children.

Works Cited

Bazzano, Manu. “The Conservative Turn in Person-Centered Therapy.” Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, vol. 15, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1-17.

Bohart, Arthur C., and Jeanne C. Watson. “Person-Centered and Emotion-Focused Psychotherapies.” Essential Psychotherapies, Fourth Edition: Theory and Practice, edited by Stanley B. Messer and Nadine J. Kaslow, 4th ed., Guilford Publications, 2019, pp. 221-256.

Cloninger, Robert C., and Kevin M. Cloninger. “Person-Centered Psychotherapy.” Person Centered Psychiatry, edited by Juan E. Mezzich et al., Springer, 2016, pp. 247-261.

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. “Depression: How Effective is Psychological Treatment?” NCBI. 2017, Web.

Zuroff, David C., et al. “Predictors and Moderators of Between-Therapists and Within-Therapist Differences in Depressed Outpatients’ Experiences of the Rogerian Conditions.” Journal of Counseling Psychology, vol. 63, no. 2, 2016, pp. 162-172.