Developed by Carl Rogers in the middle of the last century person centred therapy is neatly encapsulated by the man himself:
According to Rogers:
For constructive personality change to occur, it is necessary that these conditions 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 in 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 endeavors 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, 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
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