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Person-Centered Therapy

What is Person Centred Therapy?

Person-centred therapy is a humanistic approach proposed by a Psychologist called Carl Rogers. This approach to PCT focuses on a client’s unique and significant life experiences and empowers them to be proactive in their sessions, which in turn helps them to create their own solutions. Rogers believed that each individual is unique, and has the ability to create the best solutions for themselves to make appropriate adjustments in their lives.  The humanistic approach highlights the value of an individual’s personal growth and subjective experience. It also focuses on comprehending their unique qualities, which encourages self-improvement and self-awareness. 

What are the five principles of PCT?

Five principles of PCT guide this type of therapy, which helps to build a therapeutic relationship between the client and therapist. These are; empathy: the therapist does their best to understand their client’s emotions and experiences and emphasise them, unconditional positive regard: the therapist accepts and values their client for who they are, by creating a warm and non-judgemental space, congruence: the therapist aims to be true to themself, and is genuine and authentic as they interact with their clients, non-directiveness: the therapist avoids asking their clients questions or guiding them, enabling them to take the lead and evaluate their own feelings and thoughts, and focus on the client’s perspective: centering therapy based on the client’s unique experiences, thoughts, and emotions. 

What’s the key focus of PCT?

The main focus of PCT is for clients to alter their self-concept to ensure their ideal self and life experiences are consistent. Self-concept is the way individuals perceive themselves and is influenced by several factors. For example, how we interpret our characteristics and abilities, and how we interact with others. Overall, the main focus of PCT is for clients to gain a rational perception of themselves and their world. 

Who benefits from PCT?

Many individuals may benefit from PCT. For example, those who are diagnosed with mental health disorders such as; dementia, psychosis, mood disorders, anxiety, depression, negative thoughts associated with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), or those who experience relationship problems or low self-esteem. Furthermore, PCT may also be beneficial for individuals who want to improve their self-awareness or personal growth and gain an in-depth understanding of themselves and their world. This can help empower them to value their unique own life experiences. 

What can you expect from a PCT session?

The therapist will discuss the resources and tools available for the client to help build their confidence and work through their problems independently. The therapist will treat their client as a unique individual, and allow them to take the lead during the sessions. The therapist will listen to their client actively and attentively, to ensure they fully understand their perspective. In addition, the therapist will empower their clients to take their time to explore their thoughts and feelings. In a PCT session, the main focus will be on the client’s experiences, and the therapist will be expected to be empathetic, understanding, and non-judgmental. 

Why is the relationship between client and practitioner so important in PCT?

The practitioner must build a good rapport with their client, as it creates a safe environment for them to establish their thoughts and feelings. Creating a safe space for clients enables them to be more open and honest with their practitioner. Furthermore, providing a non-judgemental and empathetic approach can enable clients to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, experiences, and emotions and express themselves freely. Understanding and valuing clients for who they are can also boost their confidence and promote self-growth. As a result, the practitioner needs to ensure they strive to build a positive relationship with their client. 

What are the seven core values of PCT?

There are seven core values of PCT, which help therapists guide this form of therapy. These are; showing respect for their client: every client should be treated with respect and valued for their uniqueness, empathy: the therapist aims to understand their client's feelings and experiences, and emphasise them, authenticity: the therapist should strive to be authentic and honest whilst they interact with their clients, confidentiality: the therapist must ensure that their client’s personal information and experiences are kept confidential, and not be shared with anyone, non-directiveness: the therapist must not attempt to lead therapy in the sessions so that clients are proactive, helping them to analyse their own thoughts and feelings independently, non-judgemental attitude: the therapist must ensure they employ a non-judgemental approach and create a safe space for their client to express their emotions, and client autonomy: clients have a right to make their own decisions based on their lived experiences, and the therapist must respect these decisions. 

What’s the main technique in PCT?

The main technique used in PCT is active listening. The therapist ensures to listen to their client actively and attentively and attempts to understand their experiences from their point of view, without being judgemental. Rather than asking questions, the therapist reflects on their client’s thoughts and experiences and paraphrases them back to their client to demonstrate their understanding and empathy for them. This in turn helps the client to examine their thoughts and feelings independently. 

Is PCT the same as CBT?

PCT and CBT have some similarities, as well as a few differences. For example, CBT is a form of psychological therapy that focuses on amending unhelpful thoughts and behaviours associated with mental health disorders. The goal is to help individuals manage their symptoms and create healthy coping strategies. However, PCT is a non-directive approach, focusing on the client’s intrinsic ability to heal themselves. One similarity is that CBT and PCT are both person-centred. In CBT, the client and therapist work collaboratively to address their issues. In PCT the therapist demonstrates unconditional positive regard to support their client’s growth. On the other hand, CBT specifically focuses on current problems and how they can be controlled. However, PCT focuses on experiences from the past, which may currently be affecting them, 

What is PCT in simple terms?

Person-centred therapy is about creating a non-judgemental and safe space for clients to freely express themselves. The therapist listens to their client with empathy using a non-directive approach, which helps them explore their goals, thoughts, and feelings. PCT is guided by the humanistic belief that clients are intrinsically motivated to grow and reach their full potential, strive to create their own solutions, and make positive changes in their lives. PCT puts clients at the centre and values their unique life experiences.