Carl Rogers and The “Gloria” Films

Communication, Relationships, Therapeutic Method

There’s a whole complicated background to Everett Shostrom’s “Gloria” films of 1964, much of which we’re not au fait with. The three films, as we understand it, were the first time that then famous psychotherapists worked with a (same) real client, on film – these being Carl Rogers (human -centered), Fritz Perls (old-fashioned not-so-relational Gestalt) and Albert Ellis (rational emotive behaviour).

Notwithstanding the ensuing controversy over the films we think the Carl Rodgers piece still looks good. There’s also a book by Gloria’s daughter (Pamela Burry – Living with the Gloria films), which would make interesting reading, and which takes the story further. (You can pick up aspects of the story in the comments to the videos, links to which appear below.)

Here’s the Carl Rogers piece – an introduction to the half-hour therapy session with Gloria. Watching this we see the ease with which he lays out some of the core tenets of the humanistic approach to psychotherapy – in a way that’s still very current after more than 40 years.

It’s the part where he talks of the “prizing of the person” that are particularly appealing – an attitude that maximises the chances of real work being done between therapist and client. His initial meeting with the client is genuine, understated, and facilitating of the process. And as the interview unfolds (parts 2 to 5) he appears to genuinely prize this person with whom he’s working.

The other parts of the session are here: