Person-centred therapy (PCT), also known as client-centred and Rogerian therapy, is a non-directive, client-led humanistic approach to psychotherapy (Raskin, Rogers & Witty 2011). Often considered a philosophical ‘way of being’, the focus of PCT is upon the therapist’s facilitation of an accepting and empathetic relationship, which gradually empowers the client to embrace their own internal resources for change (Kirschenbaum & Henderson, 1989; Rogers, 2011). Developed by psychologist Carl Rogers, PCT arose from the clinical constraints inherent in psychoanalysis and behaviourism, which placed a diminished value upon subjective conscious experience (O’Hara, n.d.; Moore, 2011). Rogers felt compelled to refute the concept of applying an objectified theory upon the uniqueness of human experience, whereby intuitions and personal experience were overlooked to uphold theoretical models (Thorne & Sanders, 2013). Thus, during a cavalier period in the 1940s, Rogers shifted therapeutic emphasis completely upon subjective experience, whereby the client’s personally perceived reality, as well as the opportunity to openly express it, became the focus of therapy (Rogers, 2011).
Essentially, Rogers reached out in trust toward an innate human drive, that he coined termed the “actualising tendency”: the drive and capacity in every individual to grow and fulfil personal potentials, via a rich set of internal resources and meaningful relationships (Manu, 2012). Suffocated by the traditionally held hierarchical relationship of flawed patient and professional therapist, Rogers liberated the actualising tendency, emphasising a therapeutic relationship of equals, directed by the client’s own goals and objectives (Thorne & Sanders, 2013). In doing so, he placed a high value on the worth of the individual, their capacity for change and huge trust in their internal process and the positive view of the essential goodness of people.
In person-centred therapy, the only discrepancy between reality and one’s steady path of self-actualisation within that reality, is their ‘need for positive regard’ (Standal, 1954): the drive to know and validate oneself via another’s embracing acceptance and appreciation of who they are and how they conduct themselves (Thorne & Sanders, 2013). Positive regard can be problematic as it is the only need greater then self-actualisation, and when not received adequately, it diverts one’s focus towards living a particular way that is worthy of positive regard (known as ‘conditions of worth’) (Standal, 1954; Rogers, 2003). Unlike self-evaluation based upon the actualising tendency, self-evaluation based on ‘conditions of worth’ infer a raft of flawed self-concepts and, according to PCT theory, individuals seek therapy because of this incongruence between experience and self-concepts (Thorne & Sanders, 2013; Van Kalmthout, 2007). The aim of PCT is to facilitate an environment whereby these ‘conditions of worth’ can be realised and questioned through an unconditionally supportive and empathetic relationship that encourages the re-emergence of one’s actualising tendency (Rogers, 2011).
Psychodynamic Psychotherapy allows for an internal investigation that explores the areas of the self that are not completely known. If you are in need of Psychodynamic Psychotherapists in Perth to guide you in this discovery process, get in touch with Chad Monger, a professional Counselor and Psychodynamic Psychotherapist, on 0413 818 775 or visit our contact page for more details.