Essay Example on Person-Centered, Gestalt and Behavior Therapy

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  797 Words
Date:  2023-01-23

Carl Rogers introduced the person-centered approach in the 1950s, as a form of therapy that relies on personal experience, values, and judgment, rather than the ideas of a counselor (Counselling Tutor, 2013). This approach is a humanistic therapy that can be used to treat maladaptive behavior; behaviorism and Gestalt psychology can be used to manage the same problem (Cherry, 2019). This article analyzes the fundamental principles of person-centered, Gestalt, and behavior therapy.

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According to an article by Counselling Tutor (2013), the vital elements of person-centered therapy are empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard, which helps build a good therapeutic relationship. The article explained that a counselor should show empathy by trying to understand his/her client's thoughts and point of view. On the other hand, congruence refers to being authentic by being genuine about a personal experience and maintaining a connection with the client (Counselling Training Liverpool Ltd, 2015). Unconditional positive regard refers to being non-judgmental, and showing acceptance and support to clients, no matter what their actions are (Cherry, 2019). These principles help clients to experience self-healing and to decide the course of their personal lives by themselves (Counselling Tutor, 2013).

According to Psychology Today (n.d.), Gestalt therapy helps clients to focus on current events, rather than perceptions based on the past and also creates awareness of one's negative thoughts that prevent happiness. The main principles of Gestalt are similarity, continuity, closure, proximity, and figure and ground (Thompson, 2017). The principle of similarity holds that objects are seen as part of a group if they have a similar appearance. According to the article by Thompson (2017), anything that is not similar to the rest becomes the visual focal point. The article explains continuity as a law that describes how people find relationships between units; therefore, they follow patterns or a known order, instead of going beyond the already established ideas. The article also stated that according to the law of proximity, people tend to group objects that are close to one another. For example, when a person is reading, he/she sees words, instead of individual letters. Also, according to the law of closure, even when there are gaps or missing information, sometimes human beings might perceive figures as whole and complete. According to Thompson (2017), this phenomenon occurs when a piece is missing from a known pattern. The article by Thompson explained that according to the principle of figure and ground, in human perception, objects and their surroundings are separated.

Behavioral therapy is used to eliminate maladaptive behavior and support more desirable ones (Cherry, 2019). Cherry (2019) explained that the major principles of this approach are classical and operant conditioning; the later involves establishing a relationship between stimuli, whereas the latter focuses on how punishment can be used to regulate how often a behavior occurs. Based on classical conditioning, after stimuli are repeatedly linked to a given object or association, a response occurs naturally. On the other hand, based on operant conditioning, an action that attracts positive consequences is likely to be repeated, and the opposite is valid (Cherry, 2019).

One of the methods used to eradicate maladaptive behavior using behavioral therapy is modeling; the client learns by observing the behaviors of the people they admire (Cherry, 2019). Just like in person-centered and Gestalt therapy, there is no punishment in this method; individuals are only encouraged to learn new skills and adopt more acceptable behaviors (Cherry, 2019). However, according to Cherry (2019), behavioral therapy is not the best approach to enhance changes in behavior, especially for people with depression; therefore, the person-centered is more reliable since it encourages people to case their situation on their terms, with the help of a counselor.

The basic principles of person-centered therapy are empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard; they are instrumental in building a stable relationship between a counselor and a client. On the other hand, the five laws of Gestalt focus on how human perception sees objects, groups, or units, and establishes relationships between them. The behavioral approach is used to eliminate unwanted behavior using either the classical or operant conditioning principles. The first law relies on repeated stimuli to show the desired behavior while on the contrary, the operand conditioning focuses on behavioral change as a result of the consequences of an action.


Cherry, K. (2019, March 17). How Behavioral Therapy Is Used in Psychology. Retrieved from

Cherry, K. (2019, March 31). Unconditional Positive Regard in Psychology. Retrieved from

Counselling Training Liverpool Ltd. (2015, November 23). Being Congruent - What Does It Mean? Retrieved from

Counselling Tutor. (2013, January 17). The Person-Centered Approach to Counselling. Retrieved from

Psychology Today. (n.d.). Gestalt Therapy. Retrieved from

Thompson, G. (2017, April 24). The 5 Principles of Gestalt. Retrieved from

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Essay Example on Person-Centered, Gestalt and Behavior Therapy. (2023, Jan 23). Retrieved from

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