We cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed.
Carl R. Rogers On Becoming a Person, Constable, 1961: 17
Person-centred therapy was developed by the American psychologist Carl R. Rogers and it builds on the idea that everybody has an innate and accessible ability to reach their full potential and to overcome obstacles, when they are surrounded by the right conditions of empathy, acceptance and authenticity on the part of the therapist.
Everybody experiences reality in a distinctive way according to their particular circumstances. Nobody can claim to have an absolute perception of the world that is valid for everyone because each person is unique. Your way of seeing the world, yourself and your future is your most efficient way of responding to your personal circumstances.
Following this principle, the idea that anyone can have any authority over someone else regarding the way they should see reality or feel about themselves is untenable. A third person, no matter how well trained and sensitive, can never perceive the world of another with the same degree of realness or accuracy as the person themselves. Personal growth can never come from an external source of authority, because that source, by definition, will always be partially blind to the particularities and potential of the person seeking growth.
What are these right conditions that the therapist must provide to activate inner change in the person?
- The therapist works to understand the client’s individual perspective, rather than adopting the position of an expert. This means always striving to see the world through the client’s eyes, while working with them.
- The therapist must accept and value the client for what they are without conditioning his acceptance to the display of particular opinions, for example those aligned to his or her particular viewpoints.
- Lastly the therapist must also be genuine in connecting to their own emotions and feelings, and communicating them to the client without distortion or deceit. This means that the therapist must be real and transparent.
In person-centred therapy you will feel free and supported to share whatever is troubling you at your own pace, and the sessions won’t be directed by me but by your own intuition. You will be able to explore your own feelings, thoughts and behaviours so you can gain greater self-awareness and autonomy.