Person Centered Therapy – Understanding What It Is

What is Person Centered Therapy?

Person Centered Therapy is a unique type of psychotherapy that is becoming increasingly popular as a way to facilitate profound change in people.  The core values of this approach include:

  • Unconditional acceptance of the client by the therapist
  • Empathy and understanding
  • Trust in our inborn nature toward growth and change for the better
  • Viewing the client as a complex individual and not as a symptom.

Within the field of psychology, person centered therapy is accredited and valued as one of the major psychotherapeutic approaches.  In many places in Europe it is now covered by insurance.  And it also beginning to gain popularity in the U.S. and other developed countries as well.

Person Centered Therapy

How Is Person Centered Therapy Different From Other Approaches To Psychotherapy?

Person centered therapy is highly individualized, seeing each person as he or she is in the moment.  The focus is on the “person” and no on their “issue.”  For this reason, this  approach is much more flexible than other models.   Person centered therapy is neither directive nor invasive but rather offers a space for self exploration and growth. The therapist is not seen so much as an all knowing expert who tells you what to do, but instead is a facilities who helps you discover for yourself who you are, what’s important for you, what the best way to deal things is for you.

Read more in the book “A Person-Centered Approach and the Rogerian Tradition: A Handbook

How Can Person Centered Therapy Help?

The first thing that you notice in a  session is that the therapist mirrors your own thoughts and concerns back to you with a lack of judgment.    As you share, the therapist will listen empathically and reflect your circumstances back to you in a way that will help you understand them better.   By becoming aware of these circumstances, gently and with kindness, you begin to deepen your understanding of how you work.   Often you may discover new things about yourself and also:

  • Find that your issue is not all that “serious”
  • Gain a lightness and insight into how you work
  • Feel less alone with your “issue” or problem

Through cultivating your own awareness, profound changes in behavior and life quality are possible while issues are resolved with the least effort possible.

Why I Use A Person Centered Therapy Approach

Although I am trained in a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches, I do prefer person focused therapy for a variety of reasons.  First, I feel much more comfortable in approaching my clients in a completely non-judgmental and empathic way.   This allows me to see him/her as a complete and complex whole instead of as a series of “symptoms.” Second, I simply find that person centered therapy is the most effective of all approaches for facilitating profound and long term change. I believe that this is because the changes created come from within each client and are not imposed from the outside.    In that way, person centered therapy is also the friendliest approach to overcoming issues and obstacles.