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 focused 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 Here for a podcast on Carl Rogers, founder of the person-centered approach to counselling.
The key features of the Person – Centered Approach are
- Empathy (the counsellor trying to understand the client’s point of view)
- Congruence (the counsellor being a genuine person)
- 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.
The key concepts and principles of person -centred counselling, are;-
- The Six conditions for therapeutic change. Although the ‘Core Conditions’ are well known, there are three ‘Hidden conditions’
- The Seven Stages of Process How clients start to emotionally grow through the process of therapy.
- The 19 Propositions Rogers theory of personality based on the philosophy of Phenomenology.
- Locus of Evaluation How as humans you sometimes trust others judgments over your own experience.
- The Organismic Self Who you are and wish to become.
- Conditions of Worth How conditional love and approval impacts your view of self and others.
- Introjected Values How living to other people’s view of self can stop you becoming the person you wish to be.
- Configurations of Self A new idea in the Person Centred approach developed by the well-known therapist and writer Dave Mearns.
- Recent Developments in Person Centred Therapy Such as Fragile Process by Margret Warner
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.
Carl Rogers – Humanistic Theory
Carl Ransom Rogers (January 8, 1902 – February 4, 1987) was an influential American psychologist, writer and contributor to educational theory.
Considered one of the founding fathers of Humanistic Psychology ( also known as the client centred approach) and his contribution to psychotherapy research.
He is widely acknowledged as one of the main contributors along with Abraham Maslow and Otto Rank to what is known as the ‘Humanistic’ School of Psychology or the ‘Third Force in Psychology’ a phrase coined by Abraham Maslow.
Honoured for his work in 1956, by the American Psychological Association for his groundbreaking research, with the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions, Rogers also gained and award in 1972 from the APA for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Psychology.
In later life, Rogers was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with differing groups in places such as South Africa and Northern Ireland
One of the other terms Rogers ‘coined’ was the ‘organismic self‘, a reference to how an individual uses their thoughts and feelings to develop an emotional picture of who they are. He named this process ‘the internal locus of evaluation‘.