chapter  44
Person-centred therapy is seen as arising from and bound to a particular culture milieu and this limits its relevance and applicability
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Human beings are each products of a complexity of cultural in¯uences. Who we are, how we manifest in the world stems from when and where we were born, our ethnicity, faith, gender, class, sexual orientation and so on. Rogers and his early colleagues and collaborators were, for the most part, well-educated, middle-class, white American men. It is widely held that the theories and practices they developed re¯ect who and how they were. That is to say that person-centred therapy is essentially the product of a mid-twentieth century, white, North American, male perspective. Perhaps (for example) it is true that a cultural emphasis on rugged individualism did contribute to the development of humanistic psychology and thus person-centred thought. However, if this was the sole in¯uence, then the actualising tendency and other theoretical precepts are artefacts of a particular time, place and culture and their relevance to any other time, place and culture is at least questionable. This in turn would mean that the applicability of person-centred therapy is limited because it fails to take note of variations in culture. Needless to say, person-centred practitioners do not accept this criticism wholesale. For some, person-centred theory, because it is organismic, natural and universal (Point 11), is independent of culture and there is appreciation from outside the approach of the anti-intellectual, non-racist, non-sexist qualities inherent in person-centred therapy. However, for other person-centred practitioners, although this is true, culture is something to be consciously taken into account in both theory and practice.