An approach to counseling and psychotherapy that places much of the responsibility for the treatment process on the patient, with the therapist taking a non-directive role.
Developed in the 1930s by the American psychologist Carl Rogers, client-centered therapy—also known as non-directive or Rogerian therapy—departed from the typically formal, detached role of the therapist common to psychoanalysis and other forms of treatment. Rogers believed that therapy should take place in the supportive environment created by a close personal relationship between client and therapist. Rogers's introduction of the term "client" rather than "patient" expresses his rejection of the traditionally authoritarian relationship between therapist and client and his view of them as equals. The client determines the general direction of therapy, while the therapist seeks to increase the client's insightful self-understanding through informal clarifying questions.
Rogers believed that the most important factor in successful therapy was not the therapist's skill or training, but rather his or her attitude. Three interrelated attitudes on the part of the therapist are central to the success of client-centered therapy: congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Congruence refers to the therapist's openness and genuineness—the willingness to relate to clients without hiding behind a professional facade. Therapists who function in this way have all their feelings available to them in therapy sessions and may share significant ones with their clients. However, congruence does not mean that therapists disclose their own personal problems to clients in therapy sessions or shift the focus of therapy to themselves in any other way.
Unconditional positive regard means that the therapist accepts the client totally for who he or she is without evaluating or censoring, and without disapproving of particular feelings, actions, or characteristics. The therapist communicates this...
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