Άννα Αρχοντοπούλου | Anna Archontopoulou

Anna Archontopoulou

Address

Peloponnisou 3, Thessaloniki, Greece

What is person-centred counselling & psychotherapy?

The person-centred approach was developed by Carl Rogers, who is considered one of the most influential and important psychotherapists of the 20th century. Carl Rogers was one of the founders of the Humanistic psychology and contributed to the development of psychotherapy itself (Merry & Lusty, 1995).

One of the main reasons that he was ‘led’ to create a new psychotherapeutic approach was how he saw some of his colleagues behave towards people who were seeking therapy. They were treated as objects whose main purpose was to be studied consequently, the communication lacked understanding and empathy. On the contrary, Rogers treated them as equals who deserved respect, compassion and needed to be understood (Merry & Lusty, 1995).

 

This is probably why the person-centred approach has a unique and unbreakable rule, before all others. It is based on the respect and deep trust that the therapist has in the client. This is also related to the fact that, according to Carl Rogers, every person has an inherent tendency to actualize, meaning that if he has the right conditions, he can ‘flourish’ and become the best and most authentic version of himself.

 

All the above can also be considered as the main reasons that at the core, of the person-centred approach lie the following three concepts, which are defined as the necessary and sufficient conditions for any therapeutic relationship to be effective, and that ‘through them’ the person can ‘solve’ the issues that trouble or make his life difficult in any way:

 

Empathy (toward the client)

The psychotherapist’s effort to put himself in other person’s ‘shoes’ aiming to understand and feel the other’s hidden ‘world’ – hidden ‘reality’ (Haugh and Merry, 2001).

 

Unconditional positive regard (toward the client)

The psychotherapist accepts the client without criticism or rejecting behaviour (Bozarth and Wilkins, 2002). This is summed up in one phrase: ‘I will accept you (and your reality) just as you are’.

 

Congruence (of the psychotherapist)

The psychotherapist does not pretend and does not ‘put on’ any ‘mask’ i.e. of the all-knowing person. He chooses to remain himself although he never allows his own issues or beliefs to influence what he says and how he ‘is’ during the session, as the client and not himself, is the focus (Wyatt, 2001).

In summary, we can say that the ‘job’ of the person-centred psychotherapist is not to dictate what the client should do. What the psychotherapist aims to do is to create a relationship based on trust and understanding. Only then change can be achieved.

 

References

Bozarth, J. and Wilkins, P., 2002. Rogers’ therapeutic conditions: Evolution, theory and practice. Unconditional positive regard. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS.

Haugh, S. and Merry, T., 2001. Rogers’ therapeutic conditions: Evolution, theory and practice. Empathy. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.

Merry, T. and Lusty, B., 1993. What is person-centred therapy?. Essex: Gale Centre Publications.

Wyatt, G., 2001. Rogers’ therapeutic conditions: Evolution, theory and practice. Congruence. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books

Skip to content