OTTO RANK, THE RANKIAN CIRCLE IN PHILADELPHIA, AND THE ORIGINS OF CARL ROGERS' PERSON-CENTERED PSYCHOTHERAPY

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Abstract

Otto Rank's will therapy helped shape the ideas and techniques of relationship therapy developed by the Philadelphia social workers Jessie Taft, Virginia Robinson, and Frederick Allen in the 1930s. Rank's work and these ideas and techniques in turn strongly influenced the formulation of Carl Rogers' person-centered psychotherapy. This article compares and contrasts will, relationship, and person-centered approaches to psychotherapy and discusses the social factors—primarily the professional conflicts between a male-dominated psychiatry and female social workers over the independent practice of psychotherapy—that were crucial in the dissemination of Rank's psychological thought and the early popularity of Rogers.

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