Person centered therapy


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Person centered therapy

  1. 1. Person-Centered TherapyWhat is Person Centered Therapy?Person Centered Therapy (PCT) implies a form of therapy whereby the therapist takes thebackseat and allows the client to play the major role during the counseling session(Minddisorders, 2012). This form of therapy is also known as client-centered or non-directivemethod of counseling as it does not involve any prominent role of the therapist who onlyassists the client.Initial DevelopmentPerson-Centered Therapy (PCT) is also known as Rogerian therapy because it was developedby Carl Rogers, American psychologist in 1930s when he enumerated the role ofpsychoanalysis in treating clients. According to Rogers, patients should be called clients toeradicate the hierarchical relationship between patients and therapists, and establish arelationship of equals. Since 1960s, client-centered therapy became popular as it wasassociated with the human potential movement, which believed humans to be inherently goodand always seeking self-actualization (Minddisorders, 2012). Self-actualization turned into animportant concept underlying Rogerian therapy as it implied that human beings alwayssought to act in honest and dependable manner so as to benefit others. Carl Rogers believedthat self-actualization could only be blocked by unhealthy thoughts or attitudes as it did notfocus on human strengths but rather derived force from human deficiencies.Carl Rogers developed the concept of self-actualization to coin terms such as ‘person-centered therapy’ and ‘way of being’ that focused on the growth and development ofindividuals by focusing on problems rather than persons. In the 1950s, Rogers was alsoinfluential in adapting the sensitivity training methods of Kurt Lewin and engaging inresearches at the National Training Laboratories (Minddisorders, 2012). In his later year,
  2. 2. Rogers was also involved in humanistic causes and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prizein 1987.Purpose of PCTThe importance of PCT cannot be over-emphasized as it serves two primary goals ofincreasing self-esteem in clients and helping clients open up to new and better experiences. Italso helps clients to understand and accept their real and perceived selves as well as aids inreducing client’s level of guilt, insecurities and defensiveness. PCT also aids clients toengage in better and positive relationships with others and express feelings in coherentmanner with increased capacity to experience other’s feelings (Minddisorders, 2012).The ProcessCarl Rogers established that Person-Centered Therapy (PCT) should focus on the client andcounseling sessions depended more on the attitude of the therapist rather than his/herqualifications (Minddisorders, 2012). According to Rogers, success of PCT sessions dependson three key factors which are: congruence, unconditional positive regard and empathy.Congruence implies the therapist’s genuineness while discussing issues with clients. It meanstherapists should not hide behind the professional mask and should present a real face thatwould connect with the clients.Unconditional positive regard implies that the therapist must accept the client withoutquestioning his/her feelings and actions. The therapist must be willing to listen to the clientwithout judging or giving advice that might threaten the client. The positive regard should beearned by the therapist when the client willingly accepts the therapist and does not feelostracized.Thirdly, the therapist must show empathy towards the condition of the client by showingemotional understanding and sensitivity of the client’s situation (Minddisorders, 2012).
  3. 3. Therapists can achieve this by actively listening to the client and responding coherently to thesituation of the client.Application and ResultsRogers established that by conveying the above mentioned three attitudes, therapists can hopeto achieve better results with persons suffering from schizophrenia, depression, anxiety orother personality disorders (Minddisorders, 2012). One hour PCT sessions once a week hasbeen proved to be effective to treat clients and the results have been positive, with clientsshowing improved self-esteem and trust in feelings. Over a period of time, PCT can makepeople stable and responsive to new experiences. However, if the client is not interested inPCT then the results will not be positive as some clients may get bored or frustrated withnon-directive form of therapy.ConclusionToday, PCT is very effective in treating clients suffering from various ailments. Recently,two major variations of PCT have been developed – a) experiential therapy, developed byEugene Gendlin in 1979 and b) process-experiential therapy, developed by Leslie Greenbergand colleagues in 1993 (Minddisorders, 2012). However, Carl Rogers’ influence in theseforms of therapy and modern research in PCT would always be valued and treasured bytherapists and counselors.ReferencesMinddisorders. (2012). Person-Centered Therapy. Accessed March 24 2012, from<>.