Person-Centered Therapy

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Person-centered therapy (PCT), which is also known as client-centered, non-directive, or Rogerian therapy, is an approach to counseling and psychotherapy that places much of the responsibility for the treatment process on the client, with the therapist taking a non directive role. Two primary goals of PCT are increased self-esteem and greater openness to experience. Some of the related changes that this form of therapy seeks to foster in clients include closer agreement between the client’s idealized and actual selves; better self-understanding; lower levels of defensiveness, guilt and insecurity; more positive and comfortable relationships with others; and an increased capacity to experience and express feelings at the moment they occur. Rogers(1977) describes therapy as a process of freeing a person and removing obstacles so that normal growth and development can proceed and the client can become independent and self-directed. During the course of therapy, the client moves from rigidly of self-perception to fluidity. Certain conditions are necessary for this process. A “growth promoting climate” requires the therapist to be congruent, have unconditional positive regard for the client as well as show empathic understanding (Rogers, 1961). Congruence on the part of the therapist refers to his or her ability to be completely genuine whatever the self of the moment. While it is necessary during therapy he or she is not expected to be a completely congruent person all the time, as such perfection is impossible (Rogers, 1959). Empathy refers to understanding the client’s feelings and personal meanings as they are experienced and communicating this back to the person. While unconditional positive regard encourages the therapist to treat the client as worthy and capable, even when the client does not act or feel that way. The therapist needs to treat the client not as a scientist to an object of study, but as a person to a person. He feels this client to be a person...
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