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Person-Centred Therapy (PCT) is a concept that places the individual being treated at the centre of decisions in health, social care, and education. It emanates from the work of Carl Rogers, who developed his theories in person-centred psychotherapy from the 1940s onwards. His theories have shaped care in almost every part of the health, social care, and educational systems, with many abridged concepts stemming from his ideas. The purpose of person-centred therapy is to support each person to self-actualise, connected as it is to other humanist theories of psychology. In PCT, each person is seen as the expert of themselves, leaving the role of an STH practitioner in this guise to enable the person to aspire to the change they would like to make to move from the current self to the ideal self (a journey Rogers saw as never-ending).

A person-centred practitioner tries to utilise three core components to support this:

  • Empathy: being able to understand the client’s position through, as much as possible, understanding their frame of reference
  • Unconditional positive regard: assuming that growth is always possible and that the volition for growth comes from within each client
  • Congruence: ensuring that the practitioner’s actions and principles align (a type of authenticity or honesty)

Rogers also emphasised the importance of psychological contact, that is, that the practitioner and client connect with a degree of rapport, where the client can share and be honest with the practitioner because of the trust developed. Additionally, PCT is aimed at those currently incongruent, i.e., those whose behaviours and principles do not align.

It aligns with STH in the way that practitioners, although often working towards specific outcomes, are working with a holistic medium and not usually working in clinical care but supporting recovery. Additionally, it supports the practitioner in assisting the client in the different relationships that occur in STH.

Original reference: Rogers, Carl R. (1951). Client-centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications, and Theory.

Updated reference: Rogers, Carl R. (2003). Client-Centred Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications, and Theory. ISBN: 9781841198408