Types: Person-Centred Therapy

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Jean Nataro, MIACP, provide an insight into Person-Centered Therapy. Person-Centered Therapy is sometimes also know as Client-Centered Therapy or Rogerian Therapy.

Hello my name is Jean Nataro and I’d like to take some time today to explore person centred therapy with you. Person centred therapy is one of the founding works in the humanistic school of psychotherapy and is widely used in mental health today. It began in the 1930’s and 40’s with a gentleman called Carl Rogers and is sometimes referred to as Rogerian therapy or as client centred therapy. One of the basic tenets of person centred therapy is that every single individual has the internal resources they need to bring about personal growth and change on their own, given the right environment in which to do so. So therefore it might be seen as a non-directive form of psychotherapy and by that we mean that the therapist role is often seen as more of; as a facilitator where they encourage their client to explore every aspect of their situation from their believes, to their experiences, to their thoughts and to their feelings. The therapeutic relationship is, has huge significance in person centred therapy and it is believed that there are three main core conditions, which must be present to provide the best climate which is conducive to the personal change and growth.

The first of these core conditions is unconditional positive regard and what do we mean by that. It’s often referred to as a non-possessive warmth where the client can feel received in a human but non-threatening way and accepted with exactly as they bring, what they bring to therapy. You know… many of us will have learned to adapt to be a certain way, we’ll have leaned to be a good worker, a good girl and in being this way we’ll have felt, we’ll experience acceptance. If a client can come to therapy and be accepted exactly as they are; that’s one of the conditions necessary in order for them to work through to bring about the personal change they need to.

The second of the core conditions is empathic understanding or empathy and by this we mean that the therapist develop an understanding of what the clients experience is been like, in a way to get inside the clients world and see their story through their eyes. If this can happen it shows the, it can show the client what their experiences have been like and, and not judged.

The third of the core conditions is congruence and by congruence we mean a realness or a genuineness in the room. All of these core conditions, will bring about the climate necessary, where the client can reflect on and look at their own story, look at their own, take responsibility for their own parts of that and how they’ve been, see how they’ve adapted certain ways in order to feel accepted and in this way, therapeutic changes can be made, directed by the client.

So what can you expect from person centred therapy?

You can expect a good space, to be received in a human way, in a non-judgemental way, a safe environment, honesty and confidentiality. You can expect no, no direction from your therapist, but in a true believe that you have the resources yourself, internal resources, within that right environment to explore and direct your own changes and your own growth. There have been some criticisms’ of person centred therapy; one of those is specifically its lack of judgement and its lack of direction. Another criticism has been that those core conditions of realness, of unconditional positive regard and of empathy should be or will be present in most good therapeutic relationships anyway.

So two things to consider, if you are looking at person centred therapy and if you might think it might be for you, one is; do you value working through and taking responsibility for and directing your own solutions to your own difficulties. Do you value thorough exploration of your feelings, experiences and thoughts? Or would you value direction, possibly solutions focused work… you know, these two pointers might be good to consider in deciding if person centred therapy is the way you want to work.

In conclusion, just to say, that the person centred approach, is widely used and it is found to be extremely popular and very effective.