Between 1940 and the early 1950s the Person-Centred Approach was developed by Carl Rogers, who was
notably a co-founder of the humanistic psychology movement, along with Abraham Maslow and Rollo May. Each
of the co-founders contributed greatly to the movement, inspiring and educating future psychologists and
counselling therapists in their approaches and studies that were in addition to the pre-defined theories made in
earlier years, by people such as Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) with the theory of Psychoanalysis. Somewhat
small changes made by Rogers had major impacts on the success of the Person-Centred Approach, things such
as calling people ...view middle of the document...
He attended the University of Wisconsin to study Agriculture,
however he never pursued further training or a career in this field. Leaving University, Rogers joined the Christian
Ministry and moved to New York City, however he became disenchanted with the stern principals of the Ministry
and took an educational tangent that led him to study psychology, at Columbia University.
Following his studies, Rogers worked as a psychologist for twelve years with the Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children. After a while of feeling discontented with mainstream psychology, Rogers began to foster his
own theories and treatment of clients as whole beings, giving them non-judgemental attention, respect and
understanding; this was a departure from the recognised psychology approach, being predominantly the testing
and treating of clients issues – psychologists reviewing the observable behaviours and conditioning change to
reverse or stop such behaviours.
The use of his sound recordings of counselling sessions and published full transcripts from Rogers, completely
changed the study of counselling and psychotherapy. Originally described as non-directive this type of therapy
highlighted the client as the expert in their own self rather than the therapist, as the therapy evolved so did its
name, Client-Centred therapy was established, later taking on the name of Person-Centred Approach.
Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for
altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes and self-directed behaviour; these
resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes
can be provided. [Carl Rogers, A Way of Being, 1980, p115]
The philosophical foundations of Person-Centred counselling lies with the phenomenological approach to
respecting the person’s individual experience as their personal reality. The way in which a person experiences
life, how they react to their experiences and understanding how it makes them feel; the recognition that our
unique experience is our reality.
The person is to be considered in a holistic regard, reviewing the person as a whole rather than just specific
behaviours. Also, Person-Centred Approach is client led, refuting that the therapist knows better than the client in
what they are experiencing and how it makes them feel. Allowing the client to take the lead is reliant on the
environment and platform provided, this can be achieved by having what Rogers outlined in 1957 as the six
conditions in place. These conditions are;
The helper and the client are in psychological contact.
The client, is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious.
The helper, is congruent and genuine.
The helper experiences unconditional positive regard (UPR) for the client.
The helper experiences empathy.
The client received and experiences the empathy, UPR and genuineness of the helper.
Also, with these conditions...