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What is Person Centred Therapy?

Carl Rogers person centred approach was developed in the middle of the last century. So, what is person centred therapy? The man himself neatly encapsulates person centred theory. According to Carl Rogers person centred therapy:

'For constructive personality change to occur, these conditions must exist and continue over a period of time: Two persons are in psychological contact. The first, whom we shall term the client, is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious. The second person, whom we shall term the therapist, is congruent or integrated into the relationship. The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client. The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client's internal frame of reference and endeavours to communicate this experience to the client. The communication to the client of the therapist's empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a minimal degree achieved.'

Rogers, Carl, 1957, Journal of Consulting Psychology, Vol. 21, pp. Tweet


Carl Rogers - the founder of person centred thera[y

As a person centred therapist, how do I apply the principles above?

  • At the core of person-centred therapy (PCT) is the belief that people possess an innate need to be the best they can be.
  • However, past relationships, family, work, social can feed into our sense of self which can become distorted by a need to ‘fit in’.That is to say, ‘conditions of worth’.
  • I provide a therapeutic environment where the client feels safe emotionally and physically.
  • Three core conditions help to develop and maintain the therapeutic relationship:
    1. First, empathy – I will endeavour to understand your point of view. 
    2. Secondly, unconditional positive regard – I will be non – judgemental and value you as a person;
    3. Finally, congruence in therapy – I will be genuine with you.
  • The therapeutic relationship will help you to be more like yourself – and to like yourself more.
  • PCT considers you to be an expert on yourself.

Firstly, as a person-centred therapist, I will not tell you what to do. Secondly, I will help you to say to yourself what to do. The last point above is worth reiterating: You are the expert on yourself.

What about the person-centred approach and development?

To demonstrate, below is a video by Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton. He does a brilliant job of outlining the person-centred theory of development.

The above is a brief outline of person-centred therapy. If it sounds like a good fit for you and any challenges you are facing, please fill in the form on the Contact page.

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