Person-Centered Counselling

The person-centered counsellor facilitates three core conditions to provide a climate conducive to growth and change. These core conditions are:

  1. Unconditional positive regard 
  2. Empathic understanding - acceptance
  3. Congruence

The first, unconditional positive regard means that the counsellor accepts the client unconditionally and non-judgementally. The client is free to explore all thoughts and feelings, positive or negative, without danger of rejection. Crucially, the client is free to express without having to do anything in particular or meet any particular standards of behaviour.

The second, empathic understanding means that the counsellor accurately understands the client’s thoughts, feelings, and meanings from the client’s own perspective. When the counsellor perceives what the world is like from the client’s point of view, it demonstrates not only that that view has value, but also that the client is being accepted.

 

The third, congruence means that the counsellor is authentic and genuine. The counsellor does not present an aloof professional facade, but is present and transparent to the client. There is no air of authority or hidden knowledge, and the client does not have to speculate about what the counsellor is ‘really like’.

From the person centered perspective, these three core conditions enable the client to develop and grow in his/her own way, strengthen and expand his/her own identity and to become the person that he/she ‘really’ is independently of the pressures of others to act or think in particular ways.

The person-centered counsellor acknoledges clients as their own best authorities. The focus of person-centered therapy is always on the client’s own feelings and thoughts, not on those of the therapist and not on diagnosis or categorization. The person-centered therapist makes every attempt to foster an environment in which clients can encounter themselves and become more intimate with their own thoughts, feelings and meanings.
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