What Is Person-Centred Therapy?
Person-centred therapy is a talking therapy which allows clients to take more of a leading role in helping them develop and grow in their own way, discovering their own solutions. It aims to facilitate self-discovery, self-acceptance, and provides a means toward healing and positive growth. The therapist acts more as a facilitator as this therapy is based on a more non-authoritative approach. The therapist is there to listen without judgement and attempt to fully understand the client’s experience, thoughts and feelings. They will not try to interpret what is said but may ask for some clarification or help in truly understanding what the client meant so that the client feels that they have expressed exactly what they wanted to and they feel that the therapist understands this. A focus of Person-Centred Therapy is to help individuals deal with the ways they perceive themselves rather than how a therapist can interpret their unconscious thoughts and feelings. The therapist is there to encourage and support the client and to guide the therapeutic process without interrupting or interfering with the client’s process of self-discovery. Person-centred therapists work with both individuals and groups.
How it works
Rather than being seen as the expert and directing the therapy, the therapist offers unconditional positive regard, empathy and congruence to help the client develop and grow in their own way. These are vital to helping an individual feel accepted and better understand their own feelings - essentially helping them to reconnect with their inner values and sense of self-worth. This reconnection with their inner resources enables them to find their own way to move forward.
The three core conditions of successful therapy:
1) UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD: therapists should be accepting, empathetic and non-judgmental to instill trust and confidence which encourages individuals to make their own decisions and choices.
2) EMPATHETIC UNDERSTANDING: therapists truly understand and appreciate their clients’ perspective.
3) CONGRUENCE: therapists are willing to be transparent and honest when relating to clients as opposed to an unconnected professional self.
What are the benefits of Person-Centred therapy?
Person-Centred Therapy can help people develop self-confidence in making their own decisions as well as develop a stronger sense of identity. It can also help improve people’s build healthy relationships as well as ability to re-connect with their inner-self. One of the main strengths of this therapy is that individual’s feel more control over the sessions and they don’t need to worry that their therapist will be evaluating or judging them in any way.
Who can this therapy help?
Person-Centred Therapy can be used alone or in combination with other types of therapy and has been found to be helpful for people who have been diagnosed with or who are experiencing grief, depression, anxiety, stress, abuse, people who have difficulties managing emotions, eating disorders and alcohol addictions as well as some other mental health challenges. It can help individuals of all ages with a range of personal issues.
The client must do a lot of the work in this therapy therefore it is more likely to benefit those who are motivated to explore themselves and their feelings as well as those who want understand and change specific habits or ways of thinking.
Alternatively, ideas surrounding person-centred therapy can be transferred to areas other than a therapy setting including teaching and childcare. Many people use this to support them through work, relationships and day-to-day life.