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The Person Centered Approach to Counselling

By: Anna Martin - Updated: 28 May 2017 | comments*Discuss
Counselling Client Counsellor

This method of supportive therapy was developed by Carl Rogers, in the 1940s. He pioneered this non-directive approach to counselling, which focuses on the ‘here and now’ principle, and encourages counselling clients to explore and create positive change for themselves.

Person centred counselling focuses on the personal relationship between a counsellor and his/her client. The development of trust and understanding within this counsellor/client relationship encourages self-realisation, and enables the client to acknowledge the problems and issues they are disclosing, and to think up solutions, with gentle encouragement and guidance from the counsellor.

Express Yourself

Working with clients in a person centred way allows the client to explore their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a confidential environment. It gives him/her the opportunity to express concerns and problems and to achieve clarity of thought.

Person centred counselling is a non-directive method of providing therapeutic support, and enables the client to utilise free-association and free-thinking during disclosure. It is based on the humanistic philosophy that every individual has the ability to create a more positive, and satisfying, way of living. By actively listening and mirroring, during the one-to-one counselling session, the counsellor provides the client with sufficient positive feedback to encourage him/her to further explore their difficulties.

Having exposed feelings and emotions the client is then more able to think the issues through, until clarity is achieved. This allows the client to understand the meaning behind their feelings and emotions, and to decide what positive steps, towards change, to take next. It also increases self-awareness and offers personal insights.

Understanding the Approach

Although counselling in a person centred manner does not have as much structure, as some other methods of providing counselling support, it is a highly effective way of encouraging personal growth and understanding in a client. It is a non-judgmental, non-directive approach to assisting the client to find personal solutions, and avoids analysis.

The benefits a client receives, from a counsellor during person centred therapy, include unconditional positive regard, empathy and genuineness. All of these things combined create a positive, firm foundation for a trusting counselling relationship between the counsellor and his/her client.

Therapy Goals

The main goal of any form of counselling therapy is to release the client from any emotional distress, mental confusion and/or limiting beliefs. Person centred counselling arms the client with the opportunity to become more self-aware, and more in control of creating the sort of positive changes they want to see in their life.

A counsellor’s positive attitude is important in facilitating a progressive counselling relationship, and it is their job to encourage, challenge and support the client at all times. Demonstrating empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard, throughout the one-to-one counselling relationship with a client, will provide the client with understanding, clarity and support, in order to make steady progress to self-realisation.

Advantages of Person Centred Counselling

  • This type of therapy concentrates on the here and now, and encourages the client to think in present time.
  • It recognises and values the client.
  • It encourages self-expression, self-awareness, self-development and a greater understanding of self.

What to read next - investigate active listening skills - a vital technique for any good counsellor.

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[Add a Comment]
Where can I attend a intense workshop or 1:1 therapy from Carl Rogers and Carl Jung?
tere - 28-May-17 @ 11:44 PM
I can not wait to be acouncellor,because it is avery helpfull career
NYITERA - 12-May-17 @ 1:22 PM
What are the implications of the person-centred approach to Counselling?
Liz - 17-Dec-16 @ 4:25 PM
what are the disadvantages of this approach to counseling?
UGANDA - 8-Apr-16 @ 9:57 AM
this is a good article.keep it up
UGANDA - 8-Apr-16 @ 9:51 AM
What are some the benefits of a counsellor during a counselling session?
Eddy - 6-Apr-16 @ 4:30 PM
can someone help to clarify the relevance of counselling skills in professional social practice
Mcky - 3-Mar-15 @ 7:56 AM
Found this website by chance.I'm a counsellor, and I'm enjoying the articles. I love the way the different school/approach to counselling is illustrated. They are very easy to understand, in particular for newly qualified counsellors. Thank you.
MadgiePooh - 26-May-14 @ 11:27 PM
can you please help with a man aged 65 who has suffered from depression in past 2 years. he has thought of suicide many times. he has had CBT and DBT did not help. he was in a mental home for 6 weeks and he was ok for a couple of months then one day it all came athim.
matilda - 16-Apr-14 @ 10:29 AM
Im so much interested on guidance and counseling. I've found this text very interesting, can you kindly post for me some materials to assist me on this my copy when i am now doing under the Open university of Tanzania!Thanks
LWENYAGILA - 19-Jan-13 @ 6:58 PM
Interested in counselling studies , any suggestions
carjamss - 10-Dec-12 @ 4:35 PM
Found this page by chance what a great read. So easy to read andunderstand.
libby - 3-Jan-12 @ 6:16 PM
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