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Carl Rogers Meets the Neurosciences: Insights from Social Neuroscience for Client-Centered Therapy

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Interdisciplinary Handbook of the Person-Centered Approach

Abstract

Empathy, the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person, a major component of what has been termed “social intelligence,” is one of the crucial elements of Carl Rogers’ therapy. In the past few years, social neuroscience has started to shed light on the neural mechanisms underlying empathic brain responses, by defining the neuronal networks underlying the cognitive and affective processes associated with this complex social ability. Similarly, cognitive mechanisms, such as self–other distinction, emotional awareness, and regulation of your own emotion, all concepts postulated in the theoretical framework of the client-centered therapy, have been the focus of interest of social neuroscience in the last decade. In this chapter, we will give an overview of the state of the art of brain research on empathy and related concepts, in order to support the case that neuroscientific research can inform client-centered therapy (and the other way round).

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Silani, G., Zucconi, A., Lamm, C. (2013). Carl Rogers Meets the Neurosciences: Insights from Social Neuroscience for Client-Centered Therapy. In: Cornelius-White, J., Motschnig-Pitrik, R., Lux, M. (eds) Interdisciplinary Handbook of the Person-Centered Approach. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7141-7_5

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