Table of Contents
It is a special pleasure, as well as a reflective personal experience, to 'forward' my old friend Cecil Holden Patterson. How old is this friendship? Fifty eight years ago, we met at an air force base in Texas, as 'aviation psychologists' - a new classification invented to describe newly inducted soldiers assigned to the new task of selecting army air force cadets for training as pilots, navigators, bombardiers. We never knew him as 'Cecil' - I never have called him by that name. Only 'Pete', or 'Pat'. His professional persona belies a warm and friendly man. The psychologists in those 'Psychological Research Units' were mainly trained in learning theory, experimental and statistical methods. Some of the younger men were interested in other aspects of psychology, even including counseling and clinical. Someone in the Unit had a copy of Carl Rogers' book. Pat says that he did not see it (nor did I, who had not even heard of Rogers) but we both heard his ideas reported scornfully - 'dumb treatment for dumb people', and 'let the patient keep his secrets until the pain of keeping is worse than the shame of confessing'. (This from the large New York contingent. It sat well enough with me - a Midwestern novice who knew nothing but the intriguing case studies and psychoanalytic interpretations of Freud and Jung. )
Later, the unit was re-assigned; Pat and I went separate ways, but our lives have crisscrossed on paths that came close, had many similarities, yet missed connections. Toward the end of the war, the military was being converted to meet the oncoming problems of the armed forces - millions of men and women being re-intergrated into civilian society. Not only hospitals for cases of injury and combat related trauma, but problems of new careers, jobs, education - all needing a vast corps of counseling psychologists. Pat was one of those 'directly commissioned' before the end of the war, to start delivery of such services. Thus he became an officer, a gentleman, and a 'clinical psychologist' (exactly the title) all at once, and by order of the President of The United States!
Note that he, (Pat) was in Sociology at the University of Chicago in 1938, several years before Rogers arrived there, and had not been trained in psychotherapy. But his wartime appointment carried over into the Veteran's Administration, the 'VA!, a powerful political force with huge sums of money and influence. It was the main source of support for university training programs and practicum placements. In fact, many of us were in school thanks to the 'GI Bill of Rights', which just by itself created a need, a staff, and new justification for Counseling Centers. This 'VAš was the source and the impetus for a growing profession, now the 'mental health industry'.
Citizen Patterson worked in that government-civilian service enterprise for roughly a decade, (1947-56) a period of intensive practical clinical experience.
By 1947, Rogers was a special force in many ways. For instance, he and colleagues started a program of training, (VA supported), later reported in the small book, 'Counseling Returned Servicemen'. Around 1948, Pat was sent there for that very training. I was nearby, just starting my first year of graduate school. We were in the same vicinity, but unbeknownst. That was the pattern for years. Here, too, Pat came close to knowing Rogers, but the press of affairs was so great that Rogers delegated most of the program to younger colleagues. One of them, E. L. Porter, was Pat's special faculty, and a few years later, was my first practicum supervisor.
So what? The 'what' is, how close the parallels - how separated our connection. It was several years before we met again, and discovered - happily but much to our surprise - that we had both become 'Rogerians'. Who would have predicted? Not I. Why, with the range of possibilities available, did we choose this? That must be a question for many who will read this book. For any of us, what is or was the attraction? Not for easy entry, but for commitment? Perhaps to sincerely held convictions, based on ethical, political or moral principles? Where did we learn, how did we know enough to recognize the voice Rogers gave to our thoughts and feelings?
And the other 'what' is that Patterson, becoming the academic, with Distinguished Professorships appointed, and large contributions made, and honors received, and high offices held, did all this at somewhat remote move from the center', or the 'inner circle' - Chicago, Wisconsin, California - wherever Rogers was. Contrast this with the many who rested on sought-after personal affiliation with 'Carl', and some of those who made their reputations by renegade departures, or by proclaiming that they had never read Rogers at all. Reading Patterson's book, you will see how true to principle and theme (but far from copy-cat) is his published work. Central, but independent - probably somewhat lonely for Pat. Given the volume and quality, that situation of distance might be recommended.
Later he traveled and taught in distant places - in Turkey, at the Chinese University in Hong Kong, in Ireland, the UK. In Turkey, I met some of his former students. We visited the site of Tarsus, home of Saul of Tarsus, the '13th disciple' who became St. Paul. In writing this foreword, I had thought to suggest the likeness of Pat to Paul (not so much to Saul, a brute) - but it seemed a bit too weird. While reading Patterson's acceptance of the Leona Tyler Award, one finds that he has made that comparison himself! Not too far out, not a bad fit. This weighty volume, collection of a life time of work, constitutes a whole course of instruction in theory and practice. But how does it look, feel, sound, in action? There is at hand a wonderful answer.
Beside his occupational productions, Pat has a family of loving adult children. Not only his, but the issue of his beloved wife, and of their own creation. One of them, Francine ('Penny' to her familiars) came with Pat to visit us in Big Sur. An exquisite person in every way, she is famous in her own right, for her research in human-primate communication, and for the establishment of the Gorilla Foundation. You may have seen televised Conversations with Koko. In one, really a profound example of 'grief counseling', this is the scene - Koko, a large, female gorilla, had been given a kitten, a baby to love. Kitten has died. Koko cradles the lifeless infant in her arms; she does not want to let it go. With unmistakable expressions of anguish, she communicates her grief to Penny, who is providing every condition - whether three, six, or even seven - that Rogers proposed as the essence of the therapeutic relationship. When you hear Penny say to Koko, 'Oh, Honey', you will know the full meaning of 'empathic understanding'. And it flows right across all the boundaries we often see as impediments: race, class, color, culture, country and language of origin - it is unforgettable. Then, take the course.
The papers included in this collection cover a period of over 50 years. They were selected from some 200 journal articles and book chapters. They represent a half century of study, practice, research, teaching and writing in the field of client-centered counseling or psychotherapy (the terms are used interchangeably). The first paper was published a year after my brief period of study with Carl Rogers and his staff at the University of Chicago. I have said that it was then that I was inoculated against directive counseling, and that I have never needed a booster shot. I have also suggested that I have tried to be to Carl Rogers as Paul was to Christ: I have preached one gospel, the gospel of Carl Rogers. In recent years, with the falling out of favor of client-centered counseling, I have felt more like John the Baptist--a voice crying in the wilderness. Not all of the papers focus on client-centered therapy, but they are all relevant in some way to the theory and practice of client-centered therapy.
As I have reread these articles in preparing this book, I have been struck by their current relevance . They deal with problems and issues that are still present but have been neglected in the current literature in psychotherapy. They will eventually have to be addressed--certainly when client-centered therapy becomes recognized, as I believe it must, as the universally effective form of psychotherapy. The presumption on which these papers are based, and the motive for reprinting them at this time, is that client-centered therapy will be again accepted. The basic principles of client-centered therapy are the essential common elements of all the major systems of psychotherapy. These elements are currently recognized by most therapists as being necessary, but not sufficient for successful psychotherapy. Yet the research evidence for their sufficiency as well as necessity is compelling. But many, if not most, therapists are resistant to giving up the belief that there are techniques that are also necessary. Curiously, psychotherapy has been moving toward and active, interventionist approach, while at the same time medicine is moving toward minimally invasive processes.
The papers are not in chronological order, but have been grouped in three sections on the basis of similar content. There is inevitably some repetition of content, but it occurs in different contexts.
Copyright 1998, C.H. Patterson