What is Person Centred Counselling?
“In my early professional years I was asking the question: How can I treat, or cure, or change this person? Now I would phrase the question in this way: How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for his own personal growth?”
― Carl R. Rogers
A brief introduction
Person centred counselling was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1930’s. Roger’s believed that it is the client who knows what they need to talk about. What memories are causing them pain and what experiences need healing. This approach has a big focus on the relationship between client and counsellor. The theory suggests that clients will only feel able to reveal previously hidden parts of themselves, when they feel heard, accepted and cared for. This is what the counsellor is working to achieve. The counsellors self awareness is key to successful outcomes. If I have not faced myself at any depth, how will I comfortably be able to be alongside someone else?
What person centred working means
- Showing you empathy – putting myself, as much as possible in your shoes.
- Being genuine – not patronising you, admitting when I don’t quite understand and offering you what I’m feeling and thinking.
- Accepting you as a person – allowing you to talk about whatever you want. Be whoever you want.
- Being guided by you – I work in a flexible way allowing your uniqueness and individuality to be taken into consideration.
- Believing in you – I trust that you know what you need to talk about.
What person centred counselling looks like
Person centred Counselling is about providing a space in which you can be yourself in. You are free to use the space to talk about what you want to talk about. At your own pace, in your own way. I will be beside you, listening and sensitively reflecting back what I am understanding to help you find your way. We can adapt the session structure to meet your needs. This could include having a recap at the beginning. It could mean being aware of specific goals and targets you may want to achieve. A lot of the time clients find it useful to let the sessions unfold naturally as generally what needs to be spoken about finds it’s way to the surface.
Interacting with a counsellor is very different to talking to friends and family. The space is for your exploration, your topic and your insights. I am not in any other part of your life, meaning I will only know what you want me to know about you. With no invested interest in what decisions you make about your life, you have no obligation to please me in any way. Being trained to listen without judgement or expectation I am able to hear you without trying to change you.
We live in a World of stress and pressure where generally those around us are quick to offer advice, rather than the space we can use to hear ourselves. Counselling is a space in which you are free to express yourself, as openly and honestly as you wish.