Person-centred counselling was first developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940s and 1950s and is one of the most widely practiced forms of therapy in the world today. The approach is rooted in the humanistic philosophy that, given the right conditions, each person has the ability to move in the direction of a more fulfilling and satisfying way of being in their lives. It is based on a trust in the inner resources of the client to find their own answers and direction.
This is achieved when the client can fully understand how they interact with the world around them, how they experience themselves in relation to that world. This leads to greater self-awareness and acceptance, thus empowering the client to make their own choices and take control over their own lives. It is the client who is the expert in their own lives and has the capacity, within the safety of a therapeutic counselling relationship, to begin a healing or change process.
The essential qualities which I believe create a safe, supportive and challenging therapeutic environment include:
- A deep acceptance of the person
- A desire to understand that person
- A commitment to being genuine in the relationship.
These qualities offered consistently and professionally are the central characteristics of the Person Centred Approach.
What does it mean in practice?
Person-centred counselling allows the client to work at their own pace and in their own direction. This means that I strive to help clients discuss and explore whatever it is they choose to bring to each session and this often leads to connections being made that prove valuable in moving forward. Unlike some other forms of counselling, it does not require clients to undertake specified tasks during the sessions or complete 'homework'.
Sometimes clients find it difficult to make sense of what they are feeling or what is going on in their lives and by working together counselling can help to shed light on this.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
― Carl R. Rogers