chapter  33
Person-centred theory includes ways of understanding psychopathology. These differ from the predominant `medical model'
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For the most part, in the West the treatment of people experiencing mental and/or emotional distress has been dominated by practitioners who adhere to the medical model whether they are medically trained or not. That is to say that a way of thinking about and responding to physical ailments has been applied wholesale to disorders of thought and feeling. However, the applicability of a model which goes something like (`symptoms)± diagnosis±treatment±cure±(lack of symptoms)' has, at least from a person-centred point of view, not been proved. A second in¯uence on understanding psychopathology has been psychoanalysis. It is from this source that some of the familiar terms associated with psychological distress arise ± for example, `borderline' and `narcissism'. Historically, both these ways of thinking about people have been opposed by person-centred practitioners although more recently there has been some move towards developing a common or inclusive language especially by person-centred practitioners who work in medical settings. This rejection by person-centred practitioners has been criticised largely on the basis that person-centred theory lacks a model of child development and a model of psychological distress. This is easy to refute (see Wilkins 2003: 99±107, 2005b: 43±50). From the outset there has been a model of child development as part of person-centred theory (see Rogers 1959: 222) and a linking of this to the development of distress (Rogers 1959: 224±230). This has subsequently been re®ned and developed by (for example) Biermann-Ratjen (1996: 13±14). There are in fact four major contemporary positions with respect to mental ill-health within the person-centred tradition. These are those based on:

1. (psychological) contact (see Point 34) 2. incongruence (see Point 35)

to devel-or philosophical attitude.