top of page

Person Centred Therapy

What is Person Centred Therapy?

Person Centred Therapy (PCT) places a Counsellor in a role where they support clients to identify their own natural self-healing by focusing on a client’s own experiences and view of themselves. The idea is that people are best placed to make decisions on what they would like to do with their own lives. This puts PCT in stark contrast with more traditional forms of therapy where a counsellor is an expert who identifies what issues a client has and advises the client on what they require to do to recover.

What is the basis for Person Centred Therapy?

Carl Rodgers developed PCT in the 1940s. Rodgers’s started from the premise that it is not helpful to view people with mental health and psychological conditions, as patients who require treatment from a Counsellor.[1]

Traditional forms of Counselling tend to focus on analysing past experiences which give rise to the difficulties people are suffering from.  Rodgers’s suggests that the difficulties people have, to some extent, can be caused by past experiences. However, he felt that it is more helpful to focus on the present and the future because this approach allows a person to overcome their past difficulties whilst also working towards what Rodgers’s termed ‘Self-Actualization’ (when a person reaches their full potential).[2]

How does Person Centred Therapy Work?

Unlike other modern approaches which adopt well defined therapeutic techniques PCT adopts a unique approach for each client.[3] Rather than being concerned with techniques PCT argues that the most significant factor is the relationship between a Counsellor and a client. The core principles which form the basis of the therapeutic relationship include:

  1. Empathic Understanding:  The Counsellor places themselves in the client’s shoes to get insight into how the client feels.

  2. Congruence: The counsellor will be honest about how they view the client within the therapeutic relationship.[4

  3. Unconditional positive regard: The Counsellor maintains a positive view of the client regardless of the client’s actions and shortcomings.[5]


PCT maintains that when these core principles are present in therapeutic relationship then Counsellors can work with clients to tailor an approach that allows clients to improve how they view themselves and to lead more fulfilling lives.[6]

What is Person Centred Therapy suitable for?

Research has shown that Person Centred Therapy is at least as effective as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in treating a range of conditions.[7] Some of the conditions which Person Centred Therapy is suitable for include Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Bereavement, and Panic Attacks.

If you are ready to explore if this type of therapy is suitable for you or if you want learn more about what we offer by way of Counselling in Dundee and throughout the UK we offer a Free Counselling Consultation by telephone for 20 Minutes to see if we are good fit for you.

(Created: 27/03/2022)

  1. Cooper.M , O’Hara.M, Schmid.P, & Bohart.A (2013).  “The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy & Counselling”.  Palgrave McMillian. Hampshire. P. 18

  2. Ibid

  3. For instance, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

  4. This is straight forward concise definition for clients to understand the idea behind congruence in therapy. It is not a consensus definition.  For a full analysis of the definition of congruence see Sutanti. N (2020).  “Understanding congruence in person-centred counselling practice: A trainee counsellor’s perspective”.  Journal of Professionals in Guidance and Counselling, 1 (2), 2020, 47-55.

  5. Ibid. P.19

  6. Ibid. P.19

  7. British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website, Accessed online 1/3/22.

Anchor 1
bottom of page