Person-Centered Theory



Person–Centered Theory

The put forward by Carl Rogers is centered on theprecept that human beings are born with the ability for psychologicalgrowth if external environment creates viable conditions (Bronwyn,2013). Person Centered Approach is at the epicenter of a humanisticmode of psychotherapy. It main approach is to adopt anon-judgemental environment by which the psychotherapist graduallyassists the patients to find a solution for their problem on theirown (Bronwyn, 2013). Therapy and counseling relationship is pegged onthe core principles of congruence, empathy, and unconditionalpositive regard. The idea is that patients should be valued andmotivated to learn to accept they situation and who they are andreconnect with their true self. PCT differs sharply from behavioraland psychodynamic theories in that it suggest that patients can bebetter assisted in solving their current problem if they aresupported and encouraged to focus on their existing subjectiveunderstanding instead of some unconscious motive and understanding ofthe condition (Bronwyn, 2013). Carl held a strong believe that for aclient’s situation to get better, psychotherapist should beunderstanding, warm and genuine.

Congruenceis the most significant condition, and it refers to genuineness. Thismeans that a counselor should reveal their personality as much aspossible to enable the client to experience them they way they are(Bronwyn, 2013). The therapist external and internal experiencesshould be the same. Carl held the principle that for client to be ina position to make positive changes, grow and attain their potentialthey needed to feel valued. Positive regard denotes therapistsgenuine caring and deep concern for the client. Even though in somesituation, a therapist may not approve some of the client actions,but this condition require them to accept the client as they are. Thecounselor should, therefore, maintain a positive attitude towards theclient, even in the situations when disgusted by their actions(Bronwyn, 2013).

Thethird and final condition is empathy, and this refers to the capacityto understand the feelings of the client. Following what the clientis feeling is important in finding the right way to communicate andunderstand the prevailing situation (Bronwyn, 2013).

Comparingand Contrasting PCT and other Theories

ThePsychodynamic theory put forward by Sigmund Freud focuses o aperson`s unconscious thoughts that stalk from experience that takeplace in childhood, and that shapes the current thoughts andbehavior. Psychodynamic theory is pegged on the idea that the urgesthat drive individuals stem our unconscious part and we are driven bysuch urges to repeat pattern of behavior (Bronwyn, 2013). In thislight, therapy encompasses dream analysis, free association, andtransference. The goal is to make the unconscious conscious in a bidto help the client gain insight. On the other hand, CognitiveBehavioral theory is concerned about how a person’s perceptions andthoughts shape their emotions and behavior. Cognitive-Behavioraltheory is based on the concept that people are reactive beings thatreact to a variety of stimuli in the environment. Hence, humanbehavior is as a result of learning and conditioning (Bronwyn, 2013).


BothPCT and CBT deal with the conscious mind and focus on the currentissues that are affecting the client. Both theories have a positiveview of human nature and perceive do not perceive individuals asnecessarily being a result of past experience (Bronwyn, 2013).However, both recognize that an individual can determine their ownfuture. Both theories attempt to alleviate disharmony andpsychological pain through a collaborative therapeutic connectionthat supports healthy coping methods in clients (Bronwyn, 2013).PCTconcept of self-actualization, self-concept, and organismic self caresimilar to the personality structures as illustrated by Freud in thePsychodynamic theory. Both PCT and CBT employ core conditions ofcongruence, empathy, and positive regard. The rapport between thetherapist and client in both approaches is similar by way oftherapist using skills of reflection and congruence (Bronwyn, 2013).


Incontrasting PCT and CBT, it is evident that the latter views behavioras being a learned response whiles the former view is that clientshave not been able to previously self-actualised (Bronwyn, 2013). CBTperceives human experiences as a result of interaction of variouselements emotion, cognition, physiology, and behavior. CBT is thuspegged on the underlying principle that the way in which individualsbehaves and feel is shaped by how we structure and perceive ourexperiences (Bronwyn, 2013). In the PCT, an individual is perceivedas having had diverse experiences and developing a personality as aproduct of these individual experiences. PCT is non-directive whilethe CBT is taught and is goal oriented. Client are taught skillsessential to make the necessary change and lessen emotional anguishand alter behavior (Bronwyn, 2013).

Incontrast to the PA, the PCT’s center of attention is on theconscious mind and what is happening in the here and now whilst PAfocal point is on the subconscious and looks at experience that tookplace at early childhood to inspect unsettled conflicts. The goal ofPCT is self-actualization while that of PA is insight (Bronwyn,2013).

PersonCentered Approach can be very effective method if all the necessaryconditions are provided. PCT has enhanced my understanding of thealternative means that can yield positive results without too much ofintervention (Bronwyn, 2013). Change is achieved by helping a clientlearn to view the world from a new perspective and acquire capacityand ability to self-actualize with felt sense relating to variousphenomena. It is not important to dwell on what has past but to shapethe future by striving to make a positive change in attitude andapproach to life (Bronwyn, 2013).

Inconclusion, the tree approaches have their own merits and demerits.Nonetheless, PCT resonate with me due to the main elements that aholistic and natural environment is all that is required to stimulatepositivism and change in clients.


Bronwyn,J.H. (2013). Whatare They? Comparing and Contrasting Three of the Main CounsellingApproaches.Counseling Directory. Retrieved from[Accessed on 24/10/15]