(PCT), also known as Client-centered therapy
or Rogerian Psychotherapy
, was developed by the humanist psychologist Carl Rogers
in the 1940s and 1950s. The basic elements of Rogerian therapy involve showing congruence
, and unconditional positive regard
toward a client. By doing this, the therapist creates a supportive, non-judgmental environment in which the client is encouraged to to reach their full potential.
Person-centered therapy is used to help a person achieve personal growth and/or come to terms with a specific event or problem they are having. PCT is based on the principle of talking therapy and is a non-directive approach. The therapist encourages the patient to express their feelings and does not suggest how the person might wish to change, but by listening and then mirroring back what the patient reveals to them, helps them to explore and understand their feelings for themselves. The patient is then able to decide what kind of changes they would like to make and can achieve personal growth. Although this technique has been criticized by some for its lack of structure and set method it has proved to be a hugely effective and popular treatment. PCT is predominantly used by psychologists and counselors in psychotherapy .
History and influences
Person-centered therapy, now considered a founding work in the humanistic
school of psychotherapies, began formally with Carl Rogers. "Rogerian" psychotherapy is identified as one of the major school groups, along with psychoanalytic
(most famously Sigmund Freud
, Cognitive-behavioral therapy
, and existential therapy
(such as that pioneered by Rollo May
Others acknowledge Rogers' broad influence on approach, while naming a humanistic or humanistic-existentialist school group; there is large debate over what constitute major schools and cross-influences with more tangential candidates such as feminist, Gestalt, British school, self psychology, interpersonal, family systems, integrative, systemic and communicative, with several historical influences seeding them such as object-relations.
Rogers affirmed individual personal experience as the basis and standard for living and therapeutic effect. Rogers identified 6 conditions which are needed to produce personality changes in clients: relationship, vulnerability to anxiety (on the part of the client), genuineness (the therapist is truly himself or herself and incorporates some self-disclosure), the client's perception of the therapist's genuineness, the therapist's unconditional positive regard for the client, and accurate empathy. Both active and passive aspects of empathy in the therapist have been identified. This emphasis contrasts with the dispassionate position which may be intended in other therapies, particularly the more extreme behavioral therapies. Living in the present rather than the past or future, with organismic trust, naturalistic faith in your own thoughts and the accuracy in your feelings, and a responsible acknowledgment of your freedom, with a view toward participating fully in our world, contributing to other peoples' lives, are hallmarks of Roger's Person-centered therapy.
Rogers (1957; 1959) stated that there are six necessary and sufficient conditions required for therapeutic change:
- Therapist-Client Psychological Contact: a relationship between client and therapist must exist, and it must be a relationship in which each person's perception of the other is important.
- Client incongruence, or Vulnerability: that incongruence exists between the client's experience and awareness. Furthermore, the client is vulnerable to anxiety which motivates them to stay in the relationship.
- Therapist Congruence, or Genuineness: the therapist is congruent within the therapeutic relationship. The therapist is deeply his or herself - they are not "acting" - and they can draw on their own experiences (self-disclosure) to facilitate the relationship.
- Therapist Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR): the therapist accepts the client unconditionally, without judgment, disapproval or approval. This facilitates increased self-regard in the client, as they can begin to become aware of experiences in which their view of self-worth was distorted by others.
- Therapist Empathic understanding: the therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client's internal frame of reference. Accurate empathy on the part of the therapist helps the client believe the therapist's unconditional love for them.
- Client Perception: that the client perceives, to a minimal degree, the therapist's UPR and empathic understanding.
- Bruno, Frank J. (1977). Client-Centered Counseling: Becoming a Person. In Human Adjustment and Personal Growth: Seven Pathways, pp. 362-370. John Wiley & Sons.
- Rogers, Carl (1961). On Becoming a Person ISBN 0-395-75531-X
- Rogers, C. (1957) ‘The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change’, Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21 (2): 95-103
- Rogers, Carl. (1959). A Theory of Therapy, Personality and Interpersonal Relationships as Developed in the Client-centered Framework. In (ed.) S. Koch, Psychology: A Study of a Science. Vol. 3: Formulations of the Person and the Social Context. New York: McGraw Hill.
- Rogers, Carl (1980). A Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
- Poyrazli, S. (2003, March). Validity of Rogerian Therapy in Turkish Culture: A Cross-Cultural Perspective. Journal of Humanistic Counseling, Education & Development, 42(1), 107-115. Retrieved October 7, 2008, from PsycINFO database.
- Prochaska, J.O & Norcross, J.C. 2007. Systems of Psychotherapy: A Transtheoretical Analysis. Thompson Books/Cole:New York.