Client Centered Therapy
Client Centered Therapy, developed by Carl Rogers is a non-directive approach to conducting therapy in that the therapist is not “in charge” of the session, the client is. The client decides what to bring up and how they would like to work on issues. A client-centered therapist is less interested in performing treatments, or diagnosing and more interested in helping you find your own answers.
This approach is non-threatening and usually quite appealing to most clients because for the most part they get to maintain control over the content and pace of the sessions.
Okay, so what is the value of this approach, you may ask, if the therapist is not interjecting or imposing their own agenda or technique?
The answer is, whatever the client brings into the sessions and takes from them. The key reason this approach is effective is the fundamental belief that people tend to naturally move toward healing and growth, and have the innate capacity to discover their own answers. This natural strength of people is nurtured along in this model by an accepting, non-judgmental and understanding therapist.
Client Centered Therapy may on its face sound limited or simple because there are no particular structures or techniques the therapist is attempting to apply. However, if you observe this approach you will see a very rich and intricate process. People will unravel their own stuff when they are ready. People will, when they are in an atmosphere of acceptance and safety: discover new things about themselves and take brave steps toward positive change. The therapist’s job is to understand and accept the client where they are. As the relationship develops and unfolds over time, the client also works toward understanding and accepting themselves.
Hallmarks of this approach include:
- The therapist treats the client with the utmost respect and highest regard.
- The therapist listens and tries to understand things from the client’s point of view.
- The therapist will check his/her understanding with the client when unsure.
- The therapist must be “transparent” – meaning self-aware, in acceptance, and having no false persona or agenda.
- The therapist knows who he/she is and is open to being known.
The effectiveness of the Client Centered Therapy model has been proven through years of research. Interestingly, more recent research has suggested the most important factors in the effectiveness of therapy and counseling are particular aspects of the therapeutic relationship itself and the therapist’s own personal development; not the techniques they employ or any particular discipline they practice.