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Some Observations on the Organization of Personality

listen to it, without finding more than a half-dozen instances in which the therapist's
views on
any point are evident. One would find it impossible to form an estimate as to the
therapist's
views about personality dynamics. One could not determine his diagnostic views, his
standards
of behavior, his social class. The one value or standard held by the therapist which
would
exhibit itself in his tone of voice, responses, and activity, is a deep respect for the
personality
and attitudes of the client as a separate person. It is difficult to see how this would bias
the
content of the interview, except to permit deeper expression than the client would
ordinarily
allow himself. This almost complete lack of any distorting attitude is felt, and sometimes
expressed by the client. One woman says:
It's almost impersonal. I like you -- of course I don't know why I should like you or
why I shouldn't like you. It's a peculiar thing. I've never had that relationship with
anybody before and I've often thought about it.... A lot of times I walk out with a
feeling of elation that you think highly of me, and of course at the same time I
have the feeling that "Gee, he must think I'm an awful jerk" or something like
that. But it doesn't really-those feelings aren't so deep that I can form an opinion
one way or the other about you.
Here it would seem that even though she would like to discover some type of
evaluational
attitude, she is unable to do so. Published studies and research as yet unpublished bear
out
this point that counselor responses which are in any way evaluational or distorting as to
content
are at a minimum, thus enhancing the worth of such interviews for personality study.
The counselor attitude of warmth and understanding, well described by Snyder (9) and
Rogers
(8), also helps to maximize the freedom of expression by the individual. The client
experiences
sufficient interest in him as a person, and sufficient acceptance, to enable him to talk
openly,
not only about surface attitudes, but increasingly about intimate attitudes and feelings
hidden
even from himself. Hence in these recorded interviews we have material of very
considerable
depth so far as personality dynamics is concerned, along with a freedom from distortion.
Finally the very nature of the interviews and the techniques by which they are handled
give us a
rare opportunity to see to some extent through the eyes of another person-to perceive
the world
as it appears to him, to achieve at least partially, the internal frame of reference of
another
person. We see his behavior through his eyes, and also the psychological meaning
which it had
for him. We see also changes in personality and behavior, and the meanings which
those
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