Person-Centred Approach to Counselling

Basic Concepts of the Person-Centred Approach to Counselling

The person-centred approach to counselling belongs to the humanistic school of therapy, and was devised by Carl Rogers, an American psychologist who, in the 1950s, proposed a form of therapy that focussed on the clients’ experience of themselves, as opposed to the counsellor being an expert and telling them what to do, or what was wrong with them.

Listen to a podcast on the early life of Carl Ransom Rogers by clicking the play arrow below.
The therapy relies on the quality of the relationship between the counsellor and the client. This is sometimes called a ‘way of being’, with the counsellor demonstrating what is known as the core conditions, which form the basis of the relationship.

Click play for a podcast on Carl Rogers, founder of the person-centred approach to counselling.

The Core Conditions

  1. Empathy (the counsellor trying to understand the client’s point of view)
  2. Congruence (the counsellor being a genuine person)
  3. Unconditional positive regard (the counsellor being non-judgemental)

Person-centred therapy harnesses the client’s natural self-healing process; given the right relationship with the therapist, clients can decide what they want to do with their lives. To this end, person-centred therapy is a personal growth model also known as non-directive therapy; the client is not taught the model of therapy or asked to undertake homework.

Carl Rogers believed that all individuals had the power to live to their own organismic valuing process. This basically means trusting your own judgement, living your life in line with your own values rather than with the values of others.

Click to learn about Carl Rogers’ core conditions.

Click to see other contributors to person-centred theory.