In order to do this, I plan to firstly look at the theory of person-centred therapy, examining its roots and fundamental principles. Secondly, I will look at key criticisms of the model and evaluate the “weight” of such criticisms.
Underlying Theory of Person-Centred Counselling
The Person-Centred approach to counselling was pioneered by Carl Rogers in the 1940’s and 50’s. Rogers worked as a psychotherapist for most of his life and through years of working with clients developed the belief that people continually strive “to become a person”, and that this activity never ceases. His methods aimed to help his clients to regain their ability to be aware of what they are feeling and to then discard any negative aspects of those feelings. He believed that a strict upbringing resulted in the repression of emotions so accordingly, he developed a warm and caring regard for every client, regardless of their problem or condition. He saw the role of the therapist as offering warmth and empathy and accepting what the client says, without judgement. The therapist should encourage the client to become fully aware of their feelings, without advising or making suggestions.
The Rogerian, or Person-Centred approach to counselling views the client as their own best authority on their own experience, and it views the client as being fully capable of fulfilling their own potential for growth. It recognizes, however, that achieving potential requires favourable conditions and that under adverse conditions, individuals may well not grow and develop in the ways that they otherwise could. In particular, when individuals are denied acceptance and positive regard from others, or when that positive regard is made conditional upon the individual behaving in particular ways. Over time a person may begin to lose touch with what their own