The aim of this paper is to introduce the Person-Centered therapy approach to the counseling procedure. The concept of Person-Centered therapy was founded by Carl Rogers in the mid-1940s. The approach is based on the concept that the person is the focus of the counseling sessions and not the problem. The emphasis is placed on the positive aspect of the person and his or her unique situation. Since no two people are alike; no two counseling sessions are the same. Each has a unique perspective and solution to overcome the obstacles in the individual’s life that brought him or her to seek assistance through counseling in the first place. This paper will explore many different circumstances in which Person-Centered therapy can help to empower the client to have an active role in his or her recovery. This paper will also explore the strengths and weakness associated with the concept of Person-Centered therapy and the expansion of the therapy into a different phase called Expressive Arts Therapy developed by Natalie Rogers.
Keyword: Carl Rogers, Person-Centered therapy, Unconditional positive regard, Expressive Arts Therapy, Natalie Rogers
Person-Centered therapy is one of many different styles of therapies obtainable and used throughout the world of psychotherapy (Corey, 2013). It has origins dating back to the mid-1940’s. It is a well-known approach that is still used in today’s counseling settings. Carl Rogers was the originator of this type of psychotherapy. This kind therapy can be used to treat many different types of psychological difficulties in many different settings. There are many different strengths in applicative use associated with Person-Centered approach to therapy, including an extension of Person-Centered therapy approach called Expressive Arts Therapy (Kim, 2010). Although the Person-Centered therapy has quite a few strengths, Person-Centered therapy is not the best choice in certain therapeutic circumstances due to inappropriateness in some areas of the approach (Rae, 2010).
History of Theory Carl Rogers developed Person-Centered therapy–originally termed as Client-Centered therapy (Corey, 2013). Rogers viewed this psychotherapy as an evolutionary formula in the field of humanistic psychology (Corey, 2013). He developed a unique theoretical theme to this classification of counseling using three essential notions. The first concept is congruence, followed by unconditional positive regard and then, empathetic understanding (Traynor et al., 2011). These three values along with a few others make up the platform of Person-Centered therapy. Congruence, or the genuineness, is the presence the counselor shows towards the client in the therapeutic association. The counselor does not put forth a fake front. The counselor shows realness in the process of counseling. The next core value developed by Carl Rogers is the concept of unconditional positive regard (Rae, 2010). This was a very powerful and forward-thinking idea that Rogers established in his counseling practice (Corey, 2013). The idea of unconditional positive regard was not a common practice during Rogers’s era. The acceptance of the client unconditionally is non-judgmental in approach. The client can be free to be him or herself. The counselor can also recognize the client’s beliefs even though the counselor may not share those same said beliefs (Corey, 2013). Empathic understanding rounds out the top three concepts developed by Carl Rogers in conjunction with Person-Centered therapy. Empathy is the idea that the counselor goes beyond sympathy with the client. The counselor has the skills to really relate to the client and feel the client’s experiences as if the experiences were his or her own (Corey, 2013).
The empathic structure operates on three different levels of understanding. These levels include interpersonal or relational