Person-Centred Therapy is an approach first created by Carl Rogers. He believed in “unconditional positive regard”, or the view that people are inherently good and capable of positive change given the right circumstances. Therapists strive to create relationships where this unconditional positive regard is present for their clients, in hopes that clients will internalize this acceptance and by able to more readily see themselves this way.
PC Therapy suggests that people at their core are driven by positive intentions, and that dysfunction does not result from some deficiency in who someone is. Instead, dysfunction is seen as resulting from “conditions of worth” that people internalize from the implicit and explicit messages about who they are and who they should be. These can lead to a mismatch between the person someone would prefer to be and how they show up in the world. This incongruence is lessened when one is permitted to connect with their core self, particularly in the context of a relationship where they are accepted exactly as they are. Distortions in self-perception can limit one’s potential, and by removing these people are better able to connect with who they truly are rather than who they think they should be.
Person-Centred Therapy suggests that human beings have an innate potential for growth and change, and that by creating a warm and supportive environment, this potential is maximized. This means that in therapy, a large focus is placed on creating a trusting relationship that is characterized by compassion and supportiveness. Person-centred therapists aim to enter fully into the subjective experience of the client, honouring their worldview, beliefs, values and desires and allowing those to guide therapy rather than directing the process based on their own agendas.
References: Rogers, C. R. (1961). On becoming a person: a therapist’s view of psychotherapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
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