A Study of Rogerian Therapy Essay

A Study of Rogerian Therapy

            Rogerian therapy, or client-centered personality therapy, was at its height during the 1950s and 1960s.  Most of the research on this type of therapy occurred during those two decades, with little research conducted in the last 30 years.  However, that does not mean that it is not used any longer, but new therapies have integrated with the original theory created by Carl Rogers.  This critical analysis of the Rogerian therapy on client first interview shows how the therapy worked and how it differed from psychoanalysis therapy options.

            The study being analyzed was found in the Journal of Consulting Psychology in 1958 and was conducted by Hans H. Strupp.  It is a comparison on psychoanalytic therapies and client-centered therapy in relation to the initial interview of the client.  The focus of the study was based on how the therapists perceived and evaluated the client’s information, how the therapists drew conclusions about the client, and how these phases were explained in therapeutic treatment and goals.   To answer these questions, the study hypotheses were:

Is there a difference in perception between a group of therapists in relation to the client
How does the perception influence the client evaluation
How does communication influence the client evaluation
Are there underlying variables that account for the therapists actions.
The sample used for this study included 235 psychotherapists, 134 psychiatric medical professionals, and 17 psychiatric social workers from Washington DC, Baltimore, MD, New York, NY,  Perry Point, VA and Chicago, IL. From this sample of mental health professionals the study focused on only 14 self-described client-centered therapists and 64 variously centered psychoanalysts.

            The procedure of the study had all the sample watch a 50 minute first interview film created by the Veteran’s Administration for training purposes.  During this film there were 28 preselected 30 second pauses for the subjects to write notes on how they were conduct the portion of the study.  The film was followed by a comprehensive questionnaire that looked at the therapists diagnostic perceptions, treatment objectives, anxiety, prognosis and emotional maturity of the client, plus several other factors normally used in therapy.

            The study used this multidimensional system of analysis, the film and questionnaire to measure the variables of the study.  The questionnaire responses were coded and tabulated into frequency tables.  However, because of the small size of the client-centered group, 14 subjects, many of the variables had to be combined and analyzed using a 2 X 2 table, and then tested with Chi Square with a significance level of 0.05. This type of analysis is consistent in empirical studies and lends itself to giving credible results.

            The main problem with this study was the lack of subjects that were considered to be client-centered therapists.  A study with only 14 subjects is not reliable and cannot be considered representative of the group.  This small sample probably created a skewed result.  The other subject group of 64 psychoanalysts was also relatively small and should not be considered representative of the group.  However,  based on the finding that client-centered therapists were more positive with prognosis and did not want to make treatment plans, can be a starting point for more inclusive studies.  These two variables are the only ones that differed by any significance between the two groups. After reviewing this study, it is obvious that more studies and research need to be conducted on a larger scale to see how therapists interact with the clients and how their training influences their perceptions, evaluations, and treatment plans.


Strupp, H. H. (1958). The performance of psychoanalytic and client-centered therapists in an       initital interview. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 22(4), 265-274.  Retrieved March 20, 2009 from http://search.ebscohost.com.