Person Centred Psychotherapy
Person-centred psychotherapy was created in the 1960’s as a counter-response to the psychoanalytic movement which viewed human “drives” i.e. our responses to life, as inherently pathological and the psychoanalyst was seen as the expert in enabling the client to address such impulses.
Person Centred therapy adopts a different approach, viewing individuals as inherently “good” and presumes that difficult conditions force us to develop “pathological” behaviours in order to cope. It aims to offer clients more control over their therapy viewing the client as expert on their internal experience.
This type of therapy, which is also known as client-centred counselling, is a type of therapy in which the client takes the main role. It is a nondirective approach that gave rise to the humanistic movement in psychology in the 1960’s and has influenced many techniques not only in the realm of therapy but also in education and medicine.
The therapist is not considered to be an expert who has the upper hand and controls everything in this type of therapy. Instead, the therapist aims to understand the client from his or her point of view. The therapist and client have a non-judgmental and empathetic relationship, and ensuring the client feels accepted and at ease is highly emphasised. It focuses on the conscious ways that people perceive themselves as opposed to a therapist’s interpretation of their unconscious ideas and thoughts (traditionally a psychoanalytic approach). It aims to help individuals get in touch with inner values and sense of self-worth.
Maggie Morrow is an award winning psychotherapist, an accomplished life coach and counsellor, and Director of KlearMinds. In 2007 she was awarded the BACP National Award for advancing the quality of therapy service provision to the highest standards in the UK.
Maggie’s experience spans over 20 years helping people overcome problems so they can enjoy more fulfilling and satisfying lives.
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This approach was developed by Dr Carl Rogers, an American psychologist in the 1950s. It is based on the belief that every person has the capacity to fulfil his or her potential in life. Moreover, proponents believe that each person has the desire to grow and change. He refers to this idea as “actualising tendency” or self-actualisation. The idea is that humans are no different from other organisms in striving for order and balance.
What Does Person-Centred Psychotherapy Entail?
Dr Rogers identified five areas that are necessary for personal growth:
- Unconditional positive regard on the part of the therapist. This means that the therapist must accept the client’s experiences without conditions or judgement.
- Therapist empathy. Not only must the therapist convey empathy to the client as he or she relates experiences, but the therapist must also be able to avoid getting emotionally involved.
- Client perception. The client must be convinced that the therapist is empathetic toward him or her and not passing judgment.
- Therapist genuineness. The therapist must be genuine and self-aware within the therapeutic relationship with the client.
- Client incongruence or vulnerability. If there is a discrepancy between a client’s experiences and self-image, he or she could be left vulnerable to anxiety and fear. Often, the client is not aware that there is incongruence in this regard.
Who Can Benefit From Person-Centred Psychotherapy?
What are the Benefits of Person-Centred Psychotherapy?
What are the Limitations of Person-Centred Psychotherapy?