Carl Rogers proposed that therapy could be simpler, warmer and more optimistic than that carried out by behavioural or psychodynamic psychologists.
Rogers strongly believed that in order for a client's condition to improve therapists should be warm, genuine and understanding. The starting point of the Rogerian approach to counselling and psychotherapy is best stated by Rogers himself:
"It is that the individual has within himself or herself vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his or her self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behavior - and that these resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided" (1980, p.115-117).
"As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the best experts on ourselves" (Rogers, 1961).
Anyone who would be better off gaining more self-confidence, a stronger sense of identity, and the ability to build healthy interpersonal relationships and to trust his or her own decisions could benefit from person-centered therapy. This approach, alone or in combination with other types of therapy, can also be helpful for those who suffer from grief, depression, anxiety, stress, abuse, or other mental health conditions.
Person-centered therapy is talk therapy wherein the client does most of the talking. Your therapist will not judge or try to interpret what you say, but may restate your words in an attempt to fully understand your thoughts and feelings. When you hear your own words repeated back to you, you may then wish to self-edit and clarify your meaning. This may happen several times until you decide that you have expressed exactly what you are thinking and how you feel. There may be moments of silence to allow your thoughts to sink in. This client-focused process facilitates your self-discovery, self-acceptance, and a provides a means toward healing and positive growth.
Person-centered therapy, also known as Rogerian therapy, originated in the work of the American psychologist, Carl Rogers, who believed that everyone is different and, therefore, everyone’s view of his or her own world, and ability to manage it, should be trusted. Rogers believed that all of us have the power to find the best solutions for ourselves and make appropriate changes in our lives. Person-centered therapy was a movement away from the therapist’s traditional role—as an expert and leader—toward a process that allows clients to use their own understanding of their experiences as a platform for healing. The success of person-centered therapy relies on three conditions:
Unconditional positive regard, which means therapists must be empathetic and non-judgmental to convey their feelings of understanding, trust, and confidence that encourage their clients to make their own decisions and choices
Empathetic understanding, which means therapists completely understand and accept their clients’ thoughts and feelings
Congruence, which means therapists carry no air of authority or professional superiority but, instead, present a true and accessible self that clients can see as honest and transparent.
"This is helping me to get my head in order, if my head is not in order then I don’t know what I am doing. This is leading me to organise my thoughts, it makes me feel looked after and you are helping me to understand, it is an intellectual discussion in which I discover more about myself and my thoughts. It seems that I am teaching you about me, and you taking a genuine interest in me. I liked it when you asked “can you help me to understand this?” and you waited for me to think through it, instead of jumping to conclusions, unlike what happens when I talk to other people..."
"You are very kind and calm and I felt comfortable with you"