Person-Centred Therapy

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Rather than viewing people as inherently flawed, with problematic behaviours and thoughts that require treatment, person-centred therapy maintains that each person has the capacity and desire for personal growth and change.

Person-centred therapy was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940’s and 50’s. This type of therapy sees human beings as having an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential. However, this ability can become blocked or distorted by our life experiences – particularly those that affect our sense of value. Rogers strongly believed that in order for a client’s condition to improve therapists should be warm, genuine and understanding.

It diverged from the traditional model of the therapist as the expert and moved instead toward a non-directive, empathic approach that empowers and motivates the client in the therapeutic process. It is a humanistic approach that deals with the ways in which individuals perceive themselves consciously rather than how a counsellor can interpret their unconscious thoughts or ideas.

Rather than viewing people as inherently flawed, with problematic behaviours and thoughts that require treatment, person-centred therapy maintains that each person has the capacity and desire for personal growth and change, something Rogers described as ‘actualising tendency’. He said “Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes, and self-directed behaviour¨.

The therapist avoids directing the course of therapy by following the client’s lead whenever possible. They offer support, guidance and structure so that the client can discover solutions within themselves. Unlike other therapies, the client is responsible for improving his or her life – this is a deliberate change from psychoanalysis where the patient is diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Instead, the client consciously and rationally decides for themselves what is wrong and what should be done about it.

The therapist in this approach works to understand an individual’s experience from their perspective. The therapist must positively value the client as a person in all aspects of their humanity while aiming to be open and genuine. This is vital in helping the client feel accepted, and better able to understand their own feelings. The approach can help the client to reconnect with their inner values and sense of self-worth, thus enabling them to find their own way to move forward and progress.

Rogers believed a therapist had to show concern and respect for the client’s experiential world. The core conditions for this to work are:

  • Congruence – the counsellor must be completely genuine
  • Unconditional Positive Regard – the counsellor must be non-judgemental and valuing of the client
  • Empathy – the counsellor must strive to understand the client’s experience
  By the end of the sessions, I felt unburdened and ready to take on the challenges ahead of me. I particularly liked that Laurent encouraged me to think about what I was doing for myself – having time for my own personal nourishment. I felt the sessions re-balanced me. He made me feel secure through his calm demeanour, and provided warmth and openness throughout.  
Tim
  Laurent is kind, supportive and understanding. I immediately felt completely safe. He has an uncanny knack for knowing what to say at the right time, and has an impressive toolkit whatever the moment. I was really impressed at how quickly I saw improvements.  
Jo
  Genuine, kind, calm, compassionate, empathetic and very knowledgeable. You can see he has a wide range of skills, he always manages to find the right way to make everything clearer.  
Jane
  So easy to talk to, like talking to a friend – only a friend who has no agenda, doesn’t judge, and clearly only has my best interest at heart. I was in a real rut and in what seemed a blink of an eye felt loads better. Laurent is very skilled, and a lovely man.  
Tom
  I want to say thank you so much for being so understanding and supportive throughout this amazing journey. I came away from our sessions with a much more positive image of myself, and feel I have more clarity on the unresolved issues that have given me extreme anxiety for much of my life, and that I now have some tools I can use to try to deal with them.  
Sasha