10 Person-Centered Therapy Techniques Inspired by Carl Rogers [+PDF]

Client-Centered Therapy + Carl Rogers' #1 Person-Centered TechniqueThe idea of client-centered therapy might seem redundant – after all, when is therapy not centered on the client?

This term seems redundant now, but when it was first developed, it was a novel idea.

Before the humanistic therapies were introduced in the 1950s, the only real forms of therapy available were behavioral or psychodynamic (McLeod, 2015). These approaches focused on the subconscious or unconscious experience of clients rather than what is “on the surface.”

Many of today’s popular forms of therapy are more client-centered than the psychotherapy of the early 20th century, but there is still a specific form of therapy that is set apart from others due to its focus on the client and aversion to giving the client any type of direction.

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.” – Lao Tzu

So, how does this Lao Tzu quote apply to client-centered therapy? Read on to learn about how knowing one’s self and others is key to the person-centered approach.

Before you read on, we thought you might like to download our 3 Positive CBT Exercises for free. These science-based exercises will provide you with a detailed insight into Positive CBT and will give you a new set of tools to apply in your therapy or coaching.

You can download the free PDF here.

What is Client-Centered Therapy? A Definition

Client-Centered Therapy, also known as Client-Centered Counseling or Person-Centered Therapy, was developed in the 1940s and 50s as a response to the less personal, more “clinical” therapy that dominated the field.

It is a non-directive form of talk therapy, meaning that it allows the client to lead the conversation and does not attempt to steer the client in any way. This approach rests on one vital quality: unconditional positive regard. This means that the therapist refrains from judging the client for any reason, providing a source of complete acceptance and support (Cherry, 2017).

There are three key qualities that make for a good client-centered therapist:

  1. Unconditional Positive Regard: as mentioned above, unconditional positive regard is an important practice for the client-centered therapist. The therapist needs to accept the client for who they are and provide support and care no matter what they are going through.

  2. Genuineness: a client-centered therapist needs to feel comfortable sharing his or her feelings with the client. Not only will this contribute to a healthy and open relationship between the therapist and client, but it also provides the client with a model of good communication and shows the client that it’s okay to be vulnerable.

  3. Empathetic Understanding: the client-centered therapist must extend empathy to the client, both to form a positive therapeutic relationship and to act as a sort of mirror, reflecting the client’s thoughts and feelings back to them; this will allow the client to better understand themselves.

Another notable characteristic of person- or client-centered therapy is the use of the term “client” rather than “patient.” Therapists who practice this type of approach see the client and therapist as a team of equal partners rather than an expert and a patient (McLeod, 2015).

 

Carl Rogers: The Founder of Client-Centered Therapycarl rogers client-centered therapy

Carl Rogers is considered the founder of client-centered therapy, and the godfather of what are now known as “humanistic” therapies, While many psychologists contributed to the movement, Carl Rogers spearheaded the evolution of therapy with his unique approach.

If his approach were to be summed up in a quote, this quote would be a good choice:

“Experience is, for me, the highest authority. The touchstone of validity is my own experience. No other person’s ideas, and none of my own ideas, are as authoritative as my experience. It is to experience that I must return again and again, to discover a closer approximation to truth as it is in the process of becoming in me.” – Carl Rogers

The individual experience of the client is paramount in client-centered therapy.

 

The Rogerian Approach to Psychotherapy

Rogers’ approach to therapy was a simpler one than the earlier approaches in some ways. Instead of requiring a therapist to dig deep into their patients’ unconscious mind, an inherently subjective process littered with room for error, he based his approach on the idea that perhaps the client’s conscious mind was a better focus.

In Rogers’ own words:

“It is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried. It began to occur to me that unless I had a need to demonstrate my own cleverness and learning, I would do better to rely upon the client for the direction of movement in the process.” – Carl Rogers

This approach marked a significant shift from the distant, hierarchical relationship between psychiatrist and patient of psychoanalysis and other early forms of therapy. No longer was the standard model of therapy one expert and one layman – now, the model included one expert in the theories and techniques of therapy, and one expert in the experience of the client (the client themselves!).

Rogers believed that every individual was unique and that a one-size-fits-all process would not, in fact, fit all. Instead of considering the client’s own thoughts, wishes, and beliefs as secondary to the therapeutic process, Rogers saw the client’s own experience as the most vital factor in the process.

Most of our current forms of therapy are based on this idea that we take for granted today: the client is a partner in the therapeutic relationship rather than a helpless patient, and their experiences hold the key to personal growth and development as a unique individual.

In addition to this client-focused approach, Rogerian psychotherapy is also distinct from some other therapies in its assumption that every person can benefit from client-centered therapy and transform from a “potentially competent individual” to a fully competent one (McLeod, 2015).

Rogers’ approach views people as fully autonomous individuals who are capable of putting in the effort required to realize their full potential and bring about positive changes in their lives.

 

Goals of Client-Centered Therapy

client centered therapy carl rogers personal growth

“In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?” – Carl Rogers

Like many current forms of therapy (like narrative therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy, for example), the goals of client-centered therapy depend on the client. Depending on who you ask, who the therapist is, and who the client is, you will likely get a range of different answers – and none of them are wrong!

However, there are a few overarching goals that the humanistic therapies focus on, in general.

These general goals are to:

  • Facilitate personal growth and development
  • Eliminate or mitigate feelings of distress
  • Increase self-esteem and openness to experience
  • Enhance the client’s understanding of him- or herself

As it is, these goals span an extremely broad range of sub-goals or objectives, but it is also common for the client to come up with his or her own goals for therapy. Client-centered therapy posits that the therapist cannot set effective goals for the client, due to his or her lack of knowledge of the client. Only the client has enough knowledge of themselves to set effective and desirable goals for therapy.

Other commonly gained benefits include:

  • Greater agreement between the client’s idea and actual selves
  • Better understanding and awareness
  • Decreased defensiveness, insecurity, and guilt
  • Greater trust in oneself
  • Healthier relationships
  • Improvement in self-expression
  • Improved mental health overall (Person-centered therapy, n.d.)

 

How Does It Work? The Person-Centered Perspective

“When functioning best, the therapist is so much inside the private world of the other that he or she can clarify not only the meanings of which the client is aware but even those just below the level of awareness.” – Carl Rogers

The quote from Carl Rogers above highlights an important point: the success of this form of therapy rests on the extremely important connection between the client and therapist. If this relationship is not marked by trust, authenticity, and mutual positive feelings, it is unlikely to produce any benefits for either party.

Rogers identified six conditions that are required for success in client-centered therapy:

  1. The client and counselor are in psychological contact (a relationship).
  2. The client is emotionally upset, in a state of incongruence.
  3. The counselor is genuine and aware of their own feelings.
  4. The counselor has unconditional positive regard for the client.
  5. The counselor has an empathic understanding of the client and their internal frame of reference and looks to communicate this experience with the client.
  6. The client recognizes that the counselor has unconditional positive regard for them and an understanding of the difficulties they are facing (Person-centered therapy, n.d.).

When these six conditions are met, there is great potential for positive change.

The way client-centered therapy works is a natural extension of these conditions: the therapist and client discuss the client’s current problems and issues, the therapist practices active listening and empathizes with the client, and the client decides for themselves what is wrong and what can be done to correct it (McLeod, 2015).

It is clear from Rogers’ works that he placed a great deal of value on the firsthand experience of the client, and much less in the “cleverness and learning” or technical expertise of therapists – including himself!

 

Client-Centered Therapy Method and Techniques

client centered therapy method active listening

“We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet [active] listening, of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.” – Carl Rogers

The only technique recognized as effective and applied in client-centered therapy is to listen nonjudgmentally. That’s it!

In fact, many client-centered therapists and psychologists view a therapist’s reliance on “techniques” as a barrier to effective therapy rather than a boon. The Rogerian standpoint is that the use of techniques can have a depersonalizing effect on the therapeutic relationship (McLeod, 2015).

In the words of Carl Rogers:

“When you are in psychological distress and someone really hears you without passing judgement on you, without trying to take responsibility for you, without trying to mold you, it feels damn good!”

While active listening is one of the only and most vital practices in client-centered therapy, there are many tips and suggestions for client-centered therapists to facilitate successful therapy sessions. In context, these tips and suggestions can be considered client-centered therapy’s “techniques.”

Saul McLeod (2015) outlines 10 of these “techniques” for Simply Psychology:

 

1) Set clear boundaries

Boundaries are vital for any relationship, but they are especially important for therapeutic relationships. Both the therapist and the client need healthy boundaries to avoid the relationship becoming inappropriate or ineffective, such as ruling out certain topics of discussion.

There are also more practical boundaries that must be set, for example, how long the session will last.

 

2) Remember – the client knows best

As mentioned earlier, this therapy is founded on the idea that clients know themselves, and are the best sources of knowledge and insight about their problems and potential solutions. Do not lead the client or tell them what is wrong, instead let them tell you what is wrong.

 

3) Act as a sounding board

Active listening is key, but it’s also useful to reflect what the client is saying back to them. Try to put what they are telling you into your own words. This can help the client clarify their own thoughts and understand their feelings better.

 

4) Don’t be judgmental

Another vital component of client-centered therapy is to refrain from judgment. Clients are often already struggling with feelings of guilt, low self-worth, and the belief that they are simply not good enough. Let them know you accept them for who they are and that you will not reject them.

 

5) Don’t make decisions for your clients

Giving advice can be useful, but it can also be risky. In client-centered therapy, it is not seen as helpful or appropriate to give advice to clients. Only the client should be able to make decisions for themselves, and they have full responsibility in that respect.

The therapist’s job is to help clients explore the outcomes of their decisions rather than guide them to any particular decisions.

 

6) Concentrate on what they are really saying

This is where active listening can be put to use. Sometimes a client will feel uncomfortable opening up at first, or they will have trouble seeing something just below the surface. In these situations, be sure to listen carefully and keep an open mind – the problem they come in with may not be the real problem.

 

7) Be genuine

As mentioned earlier, the client-centered therapy must be genuine. If the client does not feel their therapist is authentic and genuine, the client will not trust you. In order for the client to share personal details about their own thoughts and feelings, they must feel safe and comfortable with you.

Present yourself as you really are, and share both facts and feelings with the client. Of course, you don’t have to share anything you don’t feel comfortable sharing, but appropriate sharing can help build a healthy therapeutic relationship.

 

8) Accept negative emotions

This is an important technique for any therapist. To help the client work through their issues and heal, it is vital to let them express their emotions – whether positive or negative. The client may even express anger, disappointment, or irritation with you at one point or another.

Learn to accept their negative emotions and practice not taking it personally. They may need to wrestle with some difficult emotions, and as long as they are not abusing you, it is beneficial to just help them through it.

 

9) How you speak can be more important than what you say

Your tone of voice can have a huge impact on what the client hears, understands, and applies. Make sure your tone is measured, and make sure it matches your non-judgmental and empathetic approach.

You can also use your voice to highlight opportunities for clients to think, reflect, and improve their understanding; for example, you can use your tone to slow down the conversation at key points, allowing the client to think about where the discussion has led and where s/he would like it to go next.

 

10) I may not be the best person to help

It is vital that you know yourself as a therapist and are able to recognize your own limits. No therapist is perfect, and no mental health professional can give every single client exactly what they need.

Remember, there is no shame in recognizing that the scope of a specific problem or the type of personality you are working with is out of your wheelhouse. In those cases, don’t beat yourself up about it – just be honest and provide any resources you can to help further the client’s healing and development.

This PDF from the Australian Institute of Professional Counselors also lists some useful techniques for client-centered therapy. Some of them overlap with previously mentioned techniques, but all are helpful!

These techniques include:

  • Congruence: this technique involves therapists being genuine and authentic, and ensuring that their facial expressions and body language match their words.

  • Unconditional Positive Regard: as described earlier in this piece, unconditional positive regard (UPR) is practice by accepting, respecting, and caring about one’s clients; the therapist should operate from the perspective that clients are doing the best they can in their circumstances and with the skills and knowledge available to them.

  • Empathy: it is vital for the therapist to show clients that s/he understands their emotions rather than just feeling sympathy for them.

  • Nondirectiveness: a cornerstone of client-centered therapy, non-directiveness refers to the method of allowing the client to drive the therapy session; therapists should refrain from giving advice or planning activities for their sessions.

  • Reflection of Feelings: repeating what the client has shared about his or her feelings; this lets the client know the therapist is listening actively and understanding what the client is saying, as well as giving them an opportunity to further explore their feelings.

  • Open Questions: this technique refers to the quintessential “therapist” question – “How does that make you feel?” Of course, that is not the only open question that can be used in client-centered therapy, but it is a good open question that can encourage clients to share and be vulnerable.

  • Paraphrasing: therapists can let clients know that they understand what the clients have told them by repeating what they have said back to them in the therapist’s own words; this can also help the client to clarify their feelings or the nature of their problems.

  • Encouragers: these words or phrases, like “uh-huh,” “go on,” and “what else?” are excellent at encouraging the client to continue; these can be especially useful for a client who is shy, introverted, or afraid of opening up and being vulnerable (J & S Garrett, 2013).

 

A Take-Home Message

We hope this information provides you with a better understanding of client-centered therapy, and that it will encourage you to think of yourself as the master and expert of your own experience. You are the only one who understands your problems, issues, needs, desires, and goals, and it is to you that you must turn to solve these problems and reach these goals.

It is an added responsibility when you understand that you are responsible for how your life unfolds, but it can also be extremely liberating.

We encourage all of you to work on building the trust in yourself and in your knowledge and skills that can take your life from “going through the motions” to living a life that is authentic.

As always please let us know your thoughts in the comments! Have you ever tried client-centered therapy, as either a client or a therapist? What did you think of it? We want to hear from you!

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. For more information, don’t forget to download our 3 Positive CBT Exercises for free.

  • Cherry, K. (2017, June 20). What is client centered therapy? A closer look at Carl Rogers’ person-centered therapy. Very Well. Retrieved from https://www.verywell.com/client centered-therapy-2795999
  • J & S Garrett. (2013). Person-centered therapy: A guide to counselling therapies. Counselling Connection. Retrieved from http://www.counsellingconnection.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Person-Centred-Therapy.pdf
  • McLeod, S. (2015). Person centered therapy. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/client-centred-therapy.html Person-centered therapy. (n.d.).
  • Counselling Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/person-centred-therapy.html
  • Person-Centered Therapy (Rogerian Therapy). (2017, April 11).
  • Good Therapy. Retrieved from http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/person-centered

About the Author

Courtney Ackerman, MSc., is a graduate of the positive organizational psychology and evaluation program at Claremont Graduate University. She is currently working as a researcher for the State of California and her professional interests include survey research, well-being in the workplace, and compassion.

Comments

  1. Dave

    This is such a great helpful article – that you so much for writing and publishing it.
    I am a client centred therapist in London but I never saw what I was doing described so intelligently !
    Clarity is vital and this is clear precise and heartfelt.
    Thanks again !

    Reply
    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Dave,
      Wonderful to hear that this article has validated your approach to therapy. Thanks for being a reader.
      – Nicole | Community Manager

      Reply
  2. melissa

    thank you very much I’m training to be a counsellor and I wish I had found this earlier it defiantly would have helped me with a peer practice account. truly appreciated

    Reply
  3. Confidence

    Thank you very much for sharing this article, it’s very helpful

    Reply
  4. Helena

    Thank you very, very much for sharing this article. It’s really help me allot in my practice.

    Reply
  5. Hannah

    Such a wonderful and concise description of my favorite counseling style. Thank you for this article!

    Reply
    • Helen S

      I agree Hannah,I believe we cannot even begin to reach the Person until we have established this type of relationship, some times that is all that is needed to help them on their way. It does help to understand family systems, as well. This helps the Person understand how they formed these coping strategies. Then, of course, the next step is how to untangle oneself from these strategies and replace them with new ones that will serve the Person better today.

      Reply
    • Daniel Inkoom

      I have really enjoyed reading this article. I need more of this especially sample client-centered counslling session if possible. Great work

      Reply
  6. Ebony

    I gained a better understanding of this therapy after reading your article. Thanks a Buch. Please continue to keep sharing!

    Reply
  7. Ayo O

    Hi Courtney,
    I have been asked to produce a worksheet explanation exercise of client-centered therapy that I can share with my peers. Do you have any suggestions I can use? Thank you very much.

    Reply
  8. Chinelo James

    I ways refer to this post. It has helped me allot in my practice. Thanks

    Reply
  9. Linda

    This was extremely helpful. It was presented in a way that made sense and easy to implement with clients. Thanks so much.

    Reply
  10. Stephanie

    I really appreciated the clearly spelled out lists of goals, techniques, etc. as this will be extremely helpful in creating documentation that complies with the medical model requirements, yet allows me to be client-centered in my practice.

    Reply
  11. Matsebo

    This is very informative. Easy to understand

    Reply
  12. Bahati Ondimu

    The content is very insightful. Will practice every bit of it everyday. Thank and continue enlightening readers.

    Reply
  13. Kai

    Thank you for this article on Person Centered theory it was very informative and helped me gain a deeper and practical understanding of this theory. I have read quite a few articles about this theory however this perspective really helped me understand it better so thank you for taking the time to share it.

    Reply
  14. Alfred juma

    What’s are the other counselling theories?

    Reply
  15. Robert Atkins

    I enjoyed reading this very much. I have not long past my counselling exams. And I am very interested in this way of working even tho I covered some of this in my work I am trying to get a deeper understanding of it as I strongly believe we all have the power to heal ourselves inside us if we look deep enough for it and by letting the client discover it for theirselves it becomes clearer to them and a lot stronger for them to follow then being told this is right or this is wrong. If you have anything else like this for me to read I would be very pleased and grateful if you could direct me to it.

    Reply
  16. Kiran

    Hai, Im starting out to learn the subject of Counselling and then reach out several youth in my area to enable and empower them towards better lifestyles. Please let me know what are the books/manuals , you recommend for me. Thanks for the article, it was very inspiring to me.

    Reply
  17. Jean-Claude Tabb

    Existentialism, Person Centered Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing have been the root practices that I attribute my continued effectiveness as a therapist working with those suffering from Substance Use Disorders.
    I believe that the therapist/counselor who has been blessed with the attributes needed to effectively apply these theories and themselves to their clients will yield some of the most successes in the field of psychological therapy.
    Jean-Claude

    Reply
  18. Lisa L Schultz

    This article has helped me develop a foundation for a final paper for grad school. Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Hector Rodriguez

    Her major problem is “low self esteem”. a good therapy would allow her to dig into that situation without using the concept “why”, but allowing her to come to that point by just repeating her own words.

    Reply
  20. fiona

    Please can you tell me which of Carl Rogers books his quotes come from

    Reply
    • Hector Rodriguez

      To me client-centered therapy is completely based on the concept of”Unconditional Positive Regard”. to me that is the starting and finishing point in therapy. that concept covers everything you need to be effective in therapy.

      Reply
  21. Akram

    Rogers, C. R. This is me; 15 own
    learnings

    Reply
  22. D. U. Augma

    Thanks a lot, your article was really helpful.
    Please can you assist me with a sample of counselling manual for person centered therapy?

    Reply
  23. nusrat

    plz help me in this assignmnt 1. What is empathy in the client centered therapy? (3)
    2. State different dialogues where therapist used empathy in the session. (3)
    3. What is congruence/geniuses in the client centered therapy? (3)
    4. State different dialogues where therapist used congruence/geniuses in the session. (3)
    5. What is Unconditional positive regard in the client centered therapy? (3)
    6. State different dialogues where therapist used Unconditional positive regard in the session. (3)
    7. How therapist in this session helped client’s need of self-actualization in a non-directive way? (2)

    Reply
  24. ahmad

    Case:
    Mehak’s mother died of pneumonia and she come back to college after one month. She found that she has missed many important topics from the courses. In class when teacher asked questioning, she started stuttering while answering them. Her class fellows made fun of her for that. Latterly she is experiencing low mood, she has stopped interacting with her friends. Her parents and friends observed that she is no more participating in class discussion, debate, and drama competitions. She is becoming careless about her appearance these days. Most of the time her hair are unkempt and clothes are wrinkled. She reports that she feels crying all the time. Her exact words about this were “I don’t think I am good enough for these activities. I don’t feel like doing anything.”
    Questions:
    1. What would be your point of emphasis in this therapy?
    2. What kind of assessment technique you are likely to use with the client? Explain that technique.
    3. What techniques you are likely to use for counseling and their rationale?
    4. Keeping her symptoms in view what goals you are going to set with her?
    plzz help me in this assignment…

    Reply
    • Syeda farah

      Its very easy to solve. You have to study lecture notes of VU then u can easily complete your assignment.

      Reply
  25. Ahsan Ghumman

    Very nice and useful article.

    Reply
  26. Jhon

    Maam can you give me a brief example of existential therapy?

    Reply
  27. Stefan Paloka

    Dear Ms Courtney. I work as an advocacy officer for Caritas Albania in the disability field. We are recently implementing a fairly complex project where a peer counseling training curriculum is incorporated. In this regard your article was extremely useful and I am so pleased to have “bumped into” it. Thanks so much for your work and my kindest regards.

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Stefan! I’m so happy to hear you could put this information to good use. Best of luck in your peer counseling project!

      Reply
  28. BEATRICE ALUOCH ODUOR

    I am a part time student undertaking certificate in counseling psychology apart from being a secretary by profession. I find this article very interesting especially that it gives me guidelines of how to go about in my assignments. I intend to progress from certificate to Diploma, Higher Diploma and even a Degree and Masters in this program. It is a life long career that every one should think about. Keep up Courtney! May God bless you.

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Beatrice! I’m so glad you found this piece useful. Best of luck in continuing your education!

      Reply
  29. moon

    thank you so much. this article is really helpful !

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome! Thanks for letting us know you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  30. Mark Chaddock

    ditto Nelson (below)- hugs and kisses!
    Well put together article, I shall also use it (with references!) in my discussions/lectures. I wish you a good and life.

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      Thank you Mark! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  31. Nadeem Shoukat

    Really this is very informative article thanks authors….

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Nadeem! Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  32. Ambika

    Thank you Mothy. You have validated my practice. Looking and engaging with my client as spiritual beings has been empowering for both of us. It is self refinemnent practice and is what I reflect back.

    Reply
  33. Piumi Gunarathne

    Wow this was really helpful for me to understand what exactly the Person centered therapy means. Thanks alot Courtney for sharing all these valuable info.

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome! I’m happy you found this piece useful.

      Reply
  34. Cindy

    Very informative! Thank you for sharing it with your readers!

    Reply
    • Courtney E Ackerman

      You’re welcome, Cindy! Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  35. twinamatsiko vanansio

    client centered therapy and client centered theory, are they the same?

    Reply
    • Noela soka

      Yes brother are the same

      Reply
  36. Nelson iwu

    This piece is wonderful. I love the author. Kisses

    Reply
  37. Will Bratt

    Thank you for this excellent discussion. Experience is indeed a vital factor and the establishment of client-therapist relationship is the essential key to success. This is definitely a must-read article for both therapists and patients.

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Thanks for your comment, Will! It’s wonderful to hear that the articles we share are useful for both practitioners and casual readers.

      Reply
  38. Patrick

    On the contrary, this article adeptly summarizes the main points of Rogerian client-centered therapy. I used this article to introduce my literature students to Rogers’ ideas, portrayed by the character Vasudeva as he helps guide Siddhartha to enlightenment. Without Vasudeva’s empathic listening, Siddhartha would never have self-actualized.
    Thank you for so clearly defining and delineating the terms.

    Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Thank you for your comment, Patrick! I’m so glad to hear you found this piece useful.

      Reply
  39. Mothy

    It is good to see PCT/CCT covered here, but this is not the best description of PCT. It is not easy to transparently let the client know what effects their statement has had on you, to be a close companion on their journey. PCT gets closer to the ‘existential’ self than other therapies. And because it works with the client’s forces of organismic actualization, the therapy works at a level far deeper than most therapies. And if the client was central to other therapies then they would all be non-directive. Why not ask a PCT practitioner to help make this article more realistic?

    Reply
    • Choly

      Dear Mothy, what’s the meaning of PCT and CCT? Thanks

      Reply
      • AL

        person-centered therapy and client centered therapy

        Reply
    • Courtney Ackerman

      Hey Mothy, thank you for weighing in on this topic.
      Can you point out which things we got wrong about PCT? We want to make sure we’re putting out reliable information! Thanks in advance.

      Reply
      • Mothy

        Hi Courtney! Firstly, thanks for helping to let people know about CCT / PCT. It is important work and you’re leading the way! Thanks also for inviting feedback.
        CCT/PCT is so poorly taught in most cases. It is difficult to understand, and difficult to implement. It hard to explain, largely because it is so radically different from other therapies. Most therapists really have very little idea about it. The best way to learn about CCT/PCT would be to read Carl Rogers’ book ‘Client-centered Therapy (Parts 1 and 3). Read it slowly. Twice. Make lots of notes in the margins.
        If I had written this article I would have done it in a number of different ways. In the comments below I address some of the specific statements in the article, which unfortunately seem to reflect a number of common misunderstandings about CCT/PCT.
        – Most therapies nowadays are definitely NOT client-centred, as can be concluded by reading Rogers. (The idea that the client can direct therapy should be mind-blowing to us all);
        – The term CCT is not redundant. CCT is as radical a challenge to the dominant medical model as it ever was.
        – CCT arose organically from clinical experience and observation, not as a ‘response’ to any previous therapy.
        – ‘Support’ for the client is not really part of the approach, and could imply directivity (value judgment).
        – ‘Reflecting’ is not a technique – but is likely to arise naturally in a conversation where the 3 therapeutic attitudes (‘core conditions’) are present. ‘Active listening’ is an awkward mechanistic set of behaviours-to-be-remembered that seems the very opposite of therapist transparency, authenticity, congruence.
        – The approach sees the world from the client’s frame of reference. No interpretations, checklists, evaluations or other judgments. Any other way would impose directivity and yet further conditions of worth upon the client.
        – CCT is a one-size-fits-all approach in that everyone is actualizing. Every self is always ‘becoming’ – this is what selves do. A therapist can work with this tendency because it is universal. A diagnosis is a guess about a patient using a concept that is itself a guess about how all humans work. Most good clinicians are rightly wary of the overall value to the client of diagnoses.
        – We can’t really say that ‘the only technique is to listen non-judgmentally’. This might make people think that we haven’t read Rogers, or that there is little skill involved in this approach.
        – I’m not sure that McLeod’s 10 ‘techniques’ and the Australian list actually help in portraying what CCT is about(!)
        There is a lot more that I think needs to be said, but I don’t want to dump a large commentary here. It would be wonderful for us to discuss this offline – maybe you could email me at tim.harvard@yahoo.com?
        Thanks again for leading the charge!
        Tim

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