What is client-centered therapy?
Client-centered therapy, also known as person-centered therapy or talk-therapy, is a non-directive form of talk therapy that was developed by humanist psychologist Carl Rogers. When a therapist utilizes the non-directive approach they are listening to his or her client without judgment which allows the client to feel safe. This approach emphasizes genuineness and transparency in the therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. Today, it remains of the most widely used approaches in psychotherapy in conjunction with other psychological modalities.
What does client-centered therapy treat?
Client-centered therapy can be applied to individuals suffering from anxiety, depression, substance abuse, cognitive dysfunction, trauma, and other mental illnesses.
How does client-centered therapy help?
Client-centered therapy works to help an individual understand the importance in seeking assistance, controlling their destiny and overcoming their difficulties. Self-direction plays a vital part of client-centered therapy. (Psychology Today, 2014)
Rogers emphasized three different areas where centered-therapy helps. The first is a non-directive approach meaning that the client leads the discussion and is not steered in a particular direction by the therapist. This allows feelings of safety and trust in the relationship.
The second area of help is the therapist’s use of unconditional positive regard, meaning that the therapist shows complete acceptance and support for his or her client. This eliminates fear of rejection and judgment. Genuineness from the therapist is essential, meaning that therapists will share their feelings openly with clients. This transparency helps build a therapeutic bond and often time helps teach clients how to develop this important skill.
“Unconditional positive regard means that when the therapist is experiencing a positive, acceptant attitude toward whatever the client is at that moment, therapeutic movement or change is more likely. It involves the therapist’s willingness for the client to be whatever feeling is going on at that moment – confusion, resentment, fear, anger, courage, love, or pride…The therapist prizes the client in a total rather than a conditional way.” ~Carl Rogers
Lastly, therapists have empathetic understanding, meaning therapists need to be reflective, acting as a mirror of the client’s feelings, and thoughts. The goal of empathetic understanding is to allow the client to gain a clearer understanding of his or her own inner thoughts (gut feelings), intuition, perceptions, and emotions.
When these three characteristics are exhibited, therapists can help clients grow psychologically, become more self-aware, and change their behavior via self-direction. (Psychology Today, 2014) Using this modality in addition to brainspotting, ego state therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and mindfulness, allows clients to develop a healthier view of the world around them.
Paddy & the Tree Image. (2014). Retrieved from http://board.jokeroo.com/funny-jokes/8771-paddy-trees.html
Psychology Today. (2014). Client-centered therapy.
Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/typesofpsychotherapy/a/client-centered-therapy.htm