Nondirectivity: Attitude or Practice?


Frankel, Marvin and Sommerbeck, Lisbeth


The authors reconsider the rationale for the exclusive use of empathic reflections to ensure a nondirective psychotherapeutic relationship. This model of nondirective therapy is contrasted with the view that the nondirective therapist can be defined in terms of a state of mind rather than by way of specific behaviors. The authors argue that in viewing nondirectivity as an attitude it becomes difficult to exclude any kind of therapeutic exchange since all may be said to emanate from a nondirective attitude. The result is that Rogers’ nondirective therapy turns into Person-Centered Anything (Merry, 1990) and can consequently be insidiously directive.