Viewpoints of the person centered theory

5 May 2016

According to Rogers, “Individuals have within themselves vast resources for self-understanding and for altering their self-concepts, basic attitudes, and self-directed behavior; these resources can be tapped if a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided” (Rogers, 1980).

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Developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940’s, the Person-centered method is a supportive type of therapy where trust is the most essential concept and clients are encouraged to create positive changes for themselves. It focusses on the here and now where everything is self-regulated such as self-awareness, self-development, and self-expression. It is an emotional and psychological approach to the person; a ‘way of being’, from which perception of self, reality and behavior may be reorganized (Rogers, 1947).

The limitations of person-centered therapy reside not in the approach itself, but in the limitations of particular therapists and their ability or lack of it to offer their clients the necessary conditions for change and development (Thorne, 1991), as the therapist will begin to draw inferences that may represent the therapists own projections rather than the client’s actual experience (Schultz & Schultz, 2013).

Person-Centered theory differs from the psychoanalytic theory in that the person-centered theory is based on the humanistic philosophies whereas psychoanalytic theory is mostly deterministic. A difference between the humanistic view and the deterministic view is that humanism is based on the concept that the client has the freedom to make conscious choices and will automatically grow in positive ways (Corey, 1996), whereas the deterministic theory of Freud’s proposes that only after the client gained insight into the unconscious could he or she operate by choice rather than that of habit (Corey, 1996).

Rogers’ theory states that human nature is driven by the inherent desire for positive self-actualization, and places the client in direct control as the therapist takes a backseat. Freud’s theory emphasizes the unconscious where people are selfish and violent by nature and if allowed would pursue pleasure at all costs.

According to Rogers three core conditions must be present for the counseling relationship to be effective and they are unconditional positive regard, genuineness, and acute empathetic understanding. The main two goals of Psychoanalytic therapy are to bring the unconscious to a level of conscious and to strengthen the ego (Corey, 1996).

The person-centered approach is empathetic, humanistic, and non-judgmental;however this learner feels that it is limited to non-verbal clients, It’s unrealistic because not all therapists can be non-directive, and it can be somewhat annoying or irritating because clients may not want to hear their words repeated back to them.


Corey, G. (1996). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy (5th ed.). Ca: Brooks/Coles Publishing. pp. 167-195. Rogers, C. R. (1957) The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21, 95-103. Rogers, C. R. (1980). A way of being. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2013). Theories of personality (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage/Wadsworth. Thorne, B. (1991) Person-Centred Counselling: Therapeutic and Spiritual Dimensions. London: Whurr Publishers.

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