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Person-Centered Therapy

Person-centered therapy (also known as person-centered counselling or client-centered counselling) is a humanistic approach that deals with the ways in which individuals perceive themselves consciously, rather than how a counsellor can interpret their unconscious thoughts or ideas.

 

This theory (developed by Carl Rogers) ultimately sees human beings as having an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential. However, this ability can become blocked or distorted by our life experiences - particularly those that affect our sense of value.

 

The counsellor or psychotherapist works to understand an individual's experience from their point of view. The counsellor must positively value the client as a person in all aspects of their humanity, while aiming to be open and genuine. This is vital to helping an individual feel accepted and better understand their own feelings - essentially helping them to reconnect with their inner values and sense of self-worth. This reconnection with their inner resources enables them to find their own way to move forward.

 

How does Person-Centered therapy work?

The person-centred approach facilitates the personal growth and relationships of an individual by allowing them to explore and utilise their own strengths and personal identity. A person-centred counsellor will aid this process and provide vital support.

 

 

Carl Rogers stated that there are six necessary and sufficient conditions required for therapeutic change:

  1. Therapist–client psychological contact - a relationship between client and therapist must exist, and it must be a relationship in which each person's perception of the other is important.
  2. Client incongruence - that incongruence exists between the client's experience and awareness, the client is emotionally upset.
  3. Therapist congruence, or genuineness - the therapist is congruent within the therapeutic relationship. The therapist is deeply involved him or herself — they are not "acting"—and they can draw on their own experiences (self-disclosure) to facilitate the relationship.
  4. Therapist unconditional positive regard (UPR) - the therapist accepts the client unconditionally, without judgment, disapproval or approval. This facilitates increased self-regard in the client, as they can begin to become aware of experiences in which their view of self-worth was distorted by others.
  5. Therapist empathic understanding - the therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client's internal frame of reference. Accurate empathy on the part of the therapist helps the client believe the therapist's unconditional love for them.
  6. Client perception - that the client perceives, to at least a minimal degree, the therapist's UPR and empathic understanding.

From the above, three of these conditions are known as the Core Conditions.

  1. Congruence – the willingness to transparently relate to clients without hiding behind a professional or personal facade, and to be completely genuine.
  2. Unconditional positive regard – the therapist offers an acceptance to their client for who he or she is without conveying disapproving feelings, actions or characteristics and demonstrating a willingness to attentively listen without interruption, judgement or giving advice.
  3. Empathy – the therapist communicates their desire to understand and appreciate their client's perspective.

 

Rogers believed that a therapist/counsellor who embodies these three core conditions will help liberate their client to more confidently express their true feelings without fear of judgement.

 

The therapist is careful to avoid directly challenging their client's way of communicating themselves in the session in order to enable a deeper exploration of the issues most intimate to them and free from external referencing. Rogers believed that the answers to the patients' questions were within the patient and not the therapist. Accordingly, the therapists' role was to create a facilitative, empathic environment wherein the patient could discover the answers for him or herself.

 

How is Person-Centered therapy beneficial?

Person-centered counselling can help individuals of all ages with a range of personal issues. Many people find it an appealing type of therapy because it allows them to keep control over the content and pace of sessions, and they do not need to worry that their therapist will be evaluating or judging them in any way.

 

The non-directive style of person-centered counselling is thought to be of more benefit to individuals who have a strong urge to explore themselves and their feelings, and for those who want to address specific psychological habits or patterns of thinking.

 

The approach has been found particularly useful in helping individuals to overcome specific problems such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, eating disorders and alcohol addictions. These issues can have significant impact on self-esteem, self-reliance and self-awareness, but person-centred therapy can help individuals to reconnect with their inner self in order to transcend any limitations.

 

 

At GoMentor.com we have many verified psychologists who can help you with any psychological issues that you are struggling with.

 

If you or another person have suicidal thoughts or are in some way a hazard to your own health, then you should not use GoMentor.These resources can help you with immediate assistance.