Personality And Experiencing In The Context Of Experiential Psychotherapy



In the late nineties an international association was organized, bringing together representatives of the person-centered and experiential approaches, continuing the tradition of C. Rogers and E. Gendlin. The name of the association includes two key categories: personality and experience. In the paper, from the perspective of co-experiencing psychotherapy, the links between these categories are discussed, and options for the relationship between them are analyzed. The contours of the personal character of the experience and the experiential vision of the personality are outlined. In the theory and practice of co-experiencing psychotherapy, such characteristics of experiencing as its active mode, multilevel structure, dialogic way of being, cultural-historical mediation are revealed. This allows us to talk about the relation of the individual to his/her experiencing, about his active participation in the experiencing. Not an experience is doing experiencing, but a person. For psychotherapy, this raises the task of comprehending the criteria of the “desired” attitude of the individual to his experience and the search for methods to help the client to achieve the most productive personal position. The personal nature of co-experiencing as the activity of the psychotherapist is discussed from the point of view of the embodiment of “personal centeredness” in the experiential approach. The paper is written in the genre of theoretical dialogue.

General Information

Keywords: personality, person, experiencing, co-experiencing, empathy, person-centered psychotherapy, experiential psychotherapy, Carl Rogers, Eugene Gendlin, co-experiencing psychotherapy

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology


For citation: Vasilyuk F.E., Karyagina T.D. Personality And Experiencing In The Context Of Experiential Psychotherapy. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2017. Vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 11–32. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2017250302. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Vasilyuk F.E. Ponimayushchaya psikhoterapiya kak psikhotekhnicheskaya sistema: dis. … dokt. psikhol. nauk [Coexperiencing psychotherapy as psychotechnical system. Dr. Sci. (Psychology) diss.]. Moscow, 2007. 407 p.
  2. Vasilyuk F.E. Soperezhivanie kak tsentral’naya kategoriya ponimayushchei psikhoterapii [Сo-experiencing as a key category of co-experiencing psychotherapy]. Konsul’tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya [Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy], 2016. Vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 205—227. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.)
  3. Gendlin E. Subverbal’naya kommunikatsiya i ekspressivnost’ terapevta: tendentsii razvitiya kliento-tsentrirovannoi psikhoterapii [Subverbal communication and therapist expressivity trends in client-centered therapy with schizophrenics.] In A.B. Fen’ko, N.S. Ignat’eva, M.Yu. Loktaev (eds.). Psikhologicheskoe konsul’tirovanie i psikhoterapiya. Khrestomatiya. T.1 Teoriya i metodologiya [Psychological counseling and psychotherapy. Reading-book. Vol. 1. Theory and methodology]. Moscow: Moskovskii psikhoterapevticheskii zhurnal, 1999, pp.185—200. (In Russ.).
  4. Gendlin E. Fokusing [Focusing]. Moscow: Eksmo, 2013. 320 p. (In Russ.).
  5. Gendlin E. Fokusirovanie: Novyi psikhoterapevticheskii metod raboty s perezhivaniyami [Focusing-oriented psychotherapy: A manual of the experiential method]. Moscow: Nezavisimaya firma «Klass», 2000. 488 p. (In Russ.).
  6. Karyagina T.D. Ekspiriental’nye podkhody v sovremennoi psikhoterapii [Experiential approaches in modern psychotherapy]. Konsul’tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya [ Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy], 2015. Vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 126—152. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.)
  7. Karyagina T.D. Empatiya kak metod: tochka zreniya gumanisticheskoi psikhoterapii [Empathy as a method: the modern humanistic psychotherapies’ point of view]. Konsul’tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya [ Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy], 2016. Vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 178—204. (In Russ., abstr. in Engl.)
  8. Nekrylova N.V. Osnovnye napravleniya sovremennoi klient-tsentrirovannoi psikhoterapii [The main directions of the modern client-centered psychotherapy]. Zhurnal prakticheskogo psikhologa [The journal for applied psychologist], 2012, no. 1, pp. 81—101.
  9. Orlov A.B., Langle A., Shumskii V.B. Ekzistentsial’nyi analiz i klientotsentrirovannaya psikhoterapiya: skhodstvo i razlichiya [Existential analysis and client-centered psychotherapy]. Voprosy psikhologii, 2007, no. 6, pp. 21—31. (In Russ.).
  10. Rogers C. Vzglyad na terapiyu. Stanovlenie cheloveka [On becoming a person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy]. Moscow: Progress-Univers, 1994. 480 p. (In Russ.).
  11. Rogers C. Empatiya [Empathy]. In Yu.B. Gippenreiter, M.V. Falikman (eds.). Psikhologiya motivatsii i emotsii [ Psychology of motivation and emotions: textbook]. Moscow: AST; Astrel, 2009. pp. 413—415. (In Russ.).
  12. Tolstoi L.N. Yunost’ [Youth]. In L.N. Tolstoi. Sobr. soch. v 22 tt. T. 1. [Leo Tolstoy. Collected Works: in 22 vol. Vol. 1]. Moscow: Khudozhestvennaya literatura, 1984, pp. 189—339.
  13. Shumskii V.B. Ontologicheskoe i personalisticheskoe napravleniya v ekzistentsial’noi psikhologii: sravnitel’nyi analiz: avtoref. dis. … kand. psikhol. nauk. [Ontological and personalistic directions in existential psychology: A Comparative Analysis. Ph.D. (Psychology) Thesis]. Moscow, 2008. 23 p.
  14. Bohart A.C., Tallman K. Empathy and the active client: an integrative, cognitive-experiential approach. In A.C. Bohart, L.S. Greenberg (eds.). Empathy reconsidered. New directions in psychotherapy. Washington, DC: APA, 1997, pp. 393—415.
  15. Brodly B.T. Client-centered and experiential: two different therapies. In G. Lietaer, J. Rombauts, R. Balen (eds.). Client-centered and experiential psychotherapy in the nineties. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1990, pp. 87—108.
  16. Gendlin E.T. Foreword. In C.R. Rogers, D.E. Russell. Carl Rogers: the quiet revolutionary, an oral history. Roseville, CA: Penmarin Books, 2000.
  17. Gendlin E.T. Experiential psychotherapy. In R. Corsini. Current psychotherapies. Itasca, IL: Peacock, 1973, pp. 317—352. Kirschenbaum H. What is “person-centered”? A posthumous conversation with Carl Rogers on the development of the person-centered approach. Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapies, 2012. Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 14—30.
  18. Kirschenbaum H. What is “person-centered”? A posthumous conversation with Carl Rogers on the development of the person-centered approach. Person- Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, 2012, Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 14—30. doi: 10.1080/14779757.2012.656406
  19. Spinelli E. The interpreted world: an introduction to phenomenological psychology. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2005. 253 p.
  20. World Association of Person-centered And Experiential Psychotherapies and Counseling. Retrieved from (Accessed 1.09.2017).

Information About the Authors

Fedor E. Vasilyuk, Doctor of Psychology, professor, Professor of the Chair of Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Head of the Laboratory of Scientific Foundatuions of Psychotherapy, the Psychological Institute of the Russain Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia

Tatyana D. Karyagina, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor of the Department of Individual and Group Psychotherapy, Faculty of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, online-school "Psychodemia", Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



Total: 4874
Previous month: 30
Current month: 13


Total: 3628
Previous month: 13
Current month: 5