Person-centered approach

The person-centered approach was invented by Carl Rogers. Rogers was a man living in USA. and who originally began his training in religion. Being dissatisfied with this, he began to look into counselling and developed his own method of counselling; this became very popular.

Rogers was a prolific writer and taped (video and audio) many hours of counselling. This YouTube link will take you to one of the most recognised sessions Rogers did, with a woman named Gloria. A search on YouTube will find you many others that might be of interest. The person-centered method although it began in the USA is currently more popular in the UK, possibly because most level two and level three counselling courses have a person-centered base, and becoming a psychotherapist is organised and regulated differently in USA.

The person-centered approach holds a non-directive attitude. This doesn’t mean that a counsellor will never offer a directive comment (because even when that’s what we aspire to, we are human and things don’t always go to plan), but the approach believes that the ‘client’ is the expert, and therefore, the client’s process is what will move them forwards. If the counsellor imposes their will and direction on the client, the client may still achieve what they want to, but they might have been hampered by the counsellor’s direction-taking.

Some might think that the person-centered approach is ‘easy’, but in fact, it has a lot of theory behind it, and when sitting in the room with the client, the counsellor only has themself to lean on – no ‘tips and tricks’ learnt in training. This can be an unnerving experience and not one to be taken lightly!