Person Centred Humanistic Therapy

What is Person-Centred, Humanist Therapy?

Person Centred, Humanistic Therapy, was first developed by Carl Rogers and became known as the Third Force in the practice of psychotherapy as it stood in contrast to schools of Psychodynamic and Behavioural Therapy which were dominate at the time of its inception.  The Person-Centred Humanistic Therapist takes a non-judgmental, non-authoritative approach that allows clients to take more of a lead in conversations so that, in the process, they will discover more about their true authentic-self and find their own solutions.  The therapist acts as a compassionate facilitator, listening without judgment and acknowledging the client’s experience without moving the conversation in another direction. The therapist is there to encourage and support the client and to guide the therapeutic process without interrupting or interfering with the client’s process of self-discovery.  This approach is based on the premise that given the right relational conditions the person will become the best version of their authentic self.

How does Person-Centred, Humanistic Therapy Work?

The therapeutic relationship is seen as the critical component in this approach, rather than technique or what the therapist says or does.

If there are any techniques they are listening, accepting, understanding and sharing, which seem more attitude-orientated than skills-orientated.  The Client-Centred, Humanistic approach puts emphasis on the person coming to form an appropriate understanding of their world and themselves.

Client-Centred, Humanistic Therapists see everyone as a “potentially competent individual” who could benefit greatly from this form of therapy.  The purpose of this approach is to increase a person’s feelings of self-worth, reduce the level of incongruence between the ideal and actual self, and help a person become more of a fully functioning person.

What is Person Centred, Humanistic Therapy used for?

Person Centred, Humanist Theory is wary of diagnosis as they are often perceived as problematic and at odds with the philosophy of this approach.  That being said PersonCentred therapy is most effective for individuals who are experiencing situational stressors, depression, and anxiety or who are working through issues related to issues of identity and personality disorders.  Clients are discouraged from viewing themselves as patients or through the lenses of a ‘diagnosis’.

What can I expect from Person Centred, Humanistic Therapy?

In this approach the client can expect to experience not being judged, accepted and helped clarify their thoughts and feelings.

What Mental Health Issues is most helpful for treating?

PersonCentred therapy is most effective for individuals who are experiencing situational stressors such as relationship concerns, depression, and anxiety or those are working through issues related to issues of identity and personality disorders.

This approach can be particularly helpful if the client has grown-up in a context where ‘conditions of worth’ were present in their family, that is they are only valued if they thought, felt and behaved in a particular way.  This kind of upbringing can lead to a person not becoming their authentic self.

When doesn’t Person Centred, Humanistic Therapy work?

This approach can be of limited benefit if the person has problems with verbal communication or comprehension or there is difficulty establishing a therapeutic relationship with their therapist.

Things to consider before choosing Person Centred, Humanistic Therapy.

If you are seeking advice, education or directive guidance then this approach may be a challenge for you.  The therapist trusts that you are the best author of your destiny and they will support you to trust yourself and positively move forward in your life.

This content has been researched, prepared and written by Counselling in Melbourne psychologist Dr Malcolm Winstanley-Cross.

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