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What is left of the person-centred approach in the Anthropocene? Rogerian and neoliberal ideologies informing human service delivery and education
journal contributionposted on 22.11.2019, 00:00 by Josina van den AkkerJosina van den Akker
“What is a person?” ask Short et al. (2018) when they embark on a cross-disciplinary investigation around notions of personhood and how these apply to field education. This article affirms the significance of this investigation in light of the Anthropocene, which confronts people across the globe with ethical questions as to how, and for what purposes, we do the work we do. Human beings have taken over and transformed the world as if we are disconnected from it. The “person-centred approach” is widely adopted in human services work and promoted in government discourse, but the definition of “personhood” remains unclear. Moreover, there are two opposing poles of thought that influence the definition of personhood and person-centred care. To date, the literature has been silent around these opposing thought-systems. After a discussion on the need for practitioners and educators engaged in human services industries to reflect on those opposing perspectives in light of the Anthropocene, this paper homes in on the philosophical incongruities between the neoliberal idea of person-centredness and the original, Rogerian notion of person-centred care, to provoke dialogue in the community around the purpose and ways of doing human services work.