What is Person-centred counselling ?

Person-centred counselling (sometimes called client-centred or ‘Rogerian counselling ’) counselling is a non-directive talking therapy based on the theory that you are the best authority on your own life and that given the right conditions you can use your own inner resources to grow and make changes.

Dr Carl Rogers developed this approach during the 1940s, 50s and 60s, believing that it is better to help someone resolve their issues from their own perspective (that is, subjectively) rather than by a professional delving into any unconscious motives, interpreting their issues or problems for them or being prescriptive.

The counsellor must provide three core conditions: empathy, unconditional acceptance and a commitment to be genuine and honest.  You can then express yourself freely, without fear of being judged or rejected, with someone who is your equal, rather than with a distanced ‘expert’. The focus is on your thoughts and feelings, not the therapist’s. The answers you seek lie within yourself.

It can help if …

Person-centred counselling works best for people who wish to explore their feelings without a counsellor or therapist analysing them, making any diagnoses or offering advice.  It’s used for issues including depression, stress, bereavement, major life changes, low-self esteem, relationship problems and personal growth.

What happens?

During your sessions, you will build up a close relationship with the counsellor. He or she will listen to what you say, ask for clarification if necessary in order to understand what you are saying but won’t direct you, give you a diagnosis or offer a treatment plan. This approach may be used alongside other therapies, like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) [link]

For more information, see The British Association for the Person-Centred Approach.