The Person Centered Approach to Counselling
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 YourselfWorking 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 ApproachAlthough 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 GoalsThe 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.