Response-Centered Therapy: The Good, Bad, and Ugly


Bozarth, Jerold D.


In the article: “Non-Directivity: An Attitude or a Practice?” behaviorism once again becomes the representation of client-centered therapy in an extension of a paper presented by Frankel in 1988 and further outlined in a more recent article by Frankel and Sommerbeck (2005). The fundamental premise of the authors’ argument is that client-centered therapy consists of “rules of engagement” that are adhered to by the therapist without deviation. These rules of engagement are embedded in therapist response repertoire and referred to as unwavering “empathic reflections.” Any deviation from this response style is considered to be a “prod,” which is defined as “any comment made from an external frame of reference (unempathic) that is made to enable the client to either gain insight or give psychological support” (p. 48). With this bit of behavioral sophistry, the authors become the definers and evaluators as well as the dictators of what constitutes the nondirective approach of client-centered therapy.