Rogerian Psychotherapy and the Problem of Power: A Foucauldian Interpretation
(2020) Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 60 (1), pp. 130-143.
Guided by Foucault’s argument that “knowledge is an ‘invention’ behind which lies something completely different from itself: the play of instincts, impulses, desires, fears, and the will to appropriate,” this study considers the possibility that “nondirectivity” in Rogerian psychotherapy operates as a trope for power. This is partly based on Edwin Kahn’s observation that nondirective therapists may be less mindful of their own fallibility than other therapists, less wary of their capacity to influence clients, and therefore, less prepared to interrogate the ways they might actually be influencing them. Nondirective, client-centered therapists, in short, may be less likely to have doubts about their comments and interventions, and thus more likely to exercise influence. What I show in this study is how Rogers did just this in his famous session with Gloria, how—without telling Gloria about his personal and theoretic biases, without first discussing them with her to see if and how they fit her goals—he continually pushed her to view herself through the lens of those biases. © The Author(s) 2017.
Carl Rogers; Gloria; Michel Foucault; nondirective psychotherapy; Rogerian psychotherapy