Person Centred Counselling

Our identity – our personal judgments, meanings, and experiences – can be displaced over time by others’ standards. 

Person-centred counselling strives to help clients attain self-actualization and personal growth for this reason. 

This is fostered by providing a supportive environment in which clients can strengthen and expand their own identities while also beginning to detach themselves from their preconceived views of how they should be.

What are the key concepts of Person-Centred Counselling?

The person-centred approach, developed in the 1950s by psychologist Carl Rogers, regards human beings as having an inbuilt desire to develop to their greatest potential. However, certain life experiences, particularly those that affect our feeling of worth, might obstruct or distort this ability.

In this method, the therapist attempts to understand a client’s experience from the client’s point of view. While striving for transparency and authenticity, the therapist must positively view the client as a person in all aspects of their humanity. This is crucial in helping the client to feel accepted and to better understand their own emotions.

Person-centred counselling can be typically summarised using three key concepts, as outlined by Rogers; 

  • Empathic understanding: The counsellor attempts to comprehend the client’s perspective.
  • Congruence: the counsellor being a genuine person.
  • Positive, unconditional respect: the counsellor is nonjudgmental.

Person-centred counselling’s main goal is to aid one’s ability to self-actualize and to reinforce the concept that we can all grow and achieve our full potential. By helping a client to explore and utilise their own talents and unique personality, this technique aids their personal growth and relationships. As the client makes their way through this process, the counsellor assists them by offering crucial support.

What is the difference between Person-Centred Counselling and traditional counselling?

Carl Rogers describes the starting point of person-centred counselling thusly; “It is that the individual has within himself or herself vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his or her self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behaviour – and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided”. 

Both psychoanalysis and behaviourism are deterministic, according to Rogers, and we behave the way we do because of how we perceive our situation. “As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the best experts on ourselves”. With this in mind, Person-centred counselling was developed to eschew the more traditional idea of counsellors forming clinical diagnoses based on their own interpretations, rather than the clients’. 

One significant distinction between humanistic counsellors and other therapists is that they refer to their clients as ‘clients’ rather than ‘patients.’ This is because they consider the therapist and the client to be equal partners rather than an expert treating a patient.

Unlike other therapies, the client, not the therapist, is in charge of improving his or her life. This is a deliberate departure from psychoanalysis and behavioural therapies, both of which require a doctor to diagnose and treat the patient.

Who is the Person-Centred Counselling method suitable for?

Clients who desire the flexibility to communicate their concerns in a friendly and facilitative environment rather than taking a more structured, directive approach are ideal for person-centred counselling. 

It is particularly suitable for people who are driven by self-discovery and want to take charge in solving their problems. The person-centred therapist will encourage clients to bring their own difficulties to the table during a person-centred counselling session. Instead of the counsellor, the client is in charge of the entire counselling session. Because of its personal approach, person-centred counselling is a versatile form of therapy. As a result, it’s utilized to address a variety of disorders and conditions, including anger, relationship challenges, sexuality, depression, anxiety, loss of loved ones, addictions, and major life transitions.

What are the ideal outcomes of Person-Centred Counselling?

By empowering clients in a safe, comfortable setting, the person-centred therapy model can help clients recognize how their experiences have influenced how they feel about themselves and subsequently take positive and effective actions to improve their self-esteem.

By the end of the sessions, the client should ideally be able to obtain;

A higher level of self-confidence.
A clearer picture of their idealized and true selves.
Improved self-awareness and comprehension.
An observable increase in self-expression.
Lowered feelings of guilt, insecurity and defensiveness.
Improved interpersonal relationships.