Congruent functioning : the continuing resonance of Rogers' theory

Stephen, Susan (2023) Congruent functioning : the continuing resonance of Rogers' theory. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, 22 (4). pp. 397-416. ISSN 1477-9757 (

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Based on a keynote speech at the PCE 2022 conference, this paper responds to the conference theme "How can I be of help?" from the perspective of person-centered therapy. I focus on the kind of help (i.e. the kind of change, or outcome) that clients can expect when participating in person-centered therapy through the lens of "congruent functioning", a contemporary reframing of Rogers' concept of the fully functioning person. This model of congruent functioning was developed from an ongoing research program originally focused on the study of a brief self-report instrument, the Strathclyde Inventory (SI). In this paper, I report findings from this program, including a theoretically coherent hierarchical relationship between SI items identified from the pattern of clients' scoring that may indicate a hypothetical pathway for the development of congruent functioning. I present three different types of supporting evidence for the congruent functioning model, highlighting potential cultural differences, and a case example that considers apparent deterioration in congruent functioning by the end of therapy. Finally, I argue that the model of congruent functioning resonates not only with Rogers' theory concerning the change process underpinning person-centered therapy, but also supports the ongoing commitment to personal development required of person-centered therapists.