Brief Introduction to Carl Rogers Person Centred Therapy

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Person-centred counselling originated in the thinking of Carl Rogers, an eminent American psychologist. He believed that each individual human being had more knowledge and resources to promote their healing and growth than any therapist could ever have – so that the therapist’s job was to create conditions whereby the client could begin to explore and uncover these resources in themselves, rather than directly influence the client from a position of “expertise” or “greater knowledge”. These conditions, often referred to as the “core conditions” for therapeutic change, are Congruence, Empathy, and Unconditional Positive Regard. Congruence refers to a quality of “realness” or “genuiness” on the part of the therapist within the therapeutic relationship. In a world where people wear masks, the congruent therapist is not an actor, but a real person, someone who is self aware, has knowledge of their own person and individual issues, but who is not confused or anxious about being and expressing their true self as it is in that moment. In a world of facades, it is vital for the client to see the therapist as someone who will be true, who will be real, who will have the courage to honestly be and express who they are. Empathy refers to the quality of the therapist being able to move around in the client’s frame of reference, to understand the client’s unique position and perspective. Not simply on a “I know how you feel” level, but by sharing the client’s feelings, by identifying what is going on for the client, by communicating this understanding to the client. Rogers considered it vital that this understanding was communicated to the client, so that the client knew they were being understood. This part of the therapeutic relationship is, like congruence, something that the client may rarely have experienced before. Unconditional Positive Regard refers to the therapist’s ability to “prize” the client as a uniquely valuable person in their own right, without applying...
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