What is Person Centred Therapy?

Developed by Carl Rogers in the middle of the last century person centred therapy is neatly encapsulated by the man himself:

Carl Rogers - the founder of person centred therapy
Carl Rogers

According to Rogers:

For constructive personality change to occur, it is necessary that these conditions exist and continue over a period of time:

  1. Two persons are in psychological contact.
  2. The first, whom we shall term the client, is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious.
  3. The second person, whom we shall term the therapist, is congruent or integrated in the relationship.
  4. The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client.
  5. The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference and endeavors to
    communicate this experience to the client.
  6. The communication to the client of the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a
    minimal degree achieved.

(Rogers, 1957 1)

3, 4 and 5 above are Rogers core conditions.

How do I apply the principles of person centred therapy?

  • At the core of PCT is the belief that people possess an innate need to be the best they can be.
  • However, past relationships on a familial and societal level can feed into our sense of self which can become distorted by a need to ‘fit in’.
  • I strive to provide a therapeutic environment where the client feels safe emotionally and physically.
  • There are three core conditions which help to develop and maintain the therapeutic relationship:
    • Empathy – I will endeavour to ‘get’ where you are coming from;
    • Unconditional positive regard – I will be non – judgemental and value you as a person;
    • Congruence – 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 the expert on yourself.

As a person centred therapist I will not tell you what to do. I will help you to tell 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?

I recently saw a really good video by Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton, which 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 below.

1 Rogers, Carl, 1957, Journal of
Consulting Psychology, Vol. 21, pp. 95–103.—LEB

Carl Rogers – the Legacy and the Challenge

A CBT Perspective

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