Wednesday, March 21, 2012


NAME OF THEORY:  Person Centered (Client Centered) Theory

BASIC PREMISES AND PHILOSOPHY:  Create a warm, caring, and nurturing environment for clients to facilitate trust and openness to structure a climate for clients to learn. Core conditions for change to take place are:  contact, genuineness, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Focus should remain on the human experience, not on the problem (person centered vs. problem centered). 

FOUNDERS OR IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTORS:  Leslie Greenberg and colleagues, Robert Carkhuff and colleagues, Carl and Natalie Rogers, Theodore Reik, Otto Rank

COUNSELING GOALS:  To make clients feel valued, understood and empowered. Offer a sense of hope and potential for clients to move past their dilemmas.

ROLE OF COUNSELOR:  Provide warmth and human contact. Be fully and completely attentive. Have and demonstrate openness and unconditional POSITIVE regard for clients. Provide support, trust, and caring through authenticity, warmth, and genuineness. Immediacy—pointing out ways behavior is unfolding in the moment. Demonstrate empathy and congruence. Focus on affect and feelings. Use active/reflective listening.

ROLE OF CLIENT:  Be willing to discuss feelings and develop trust and good repoire with counselor. Be prepared to discuss abstract concepts and explore ambiguity. Be self-directed and motivated.

USEFUL WITH WHAT POPULATIONS AND TYPES OF PROBLEMS:  Best with clients who are willing to take time for therapy and are not as interested in quick fixes or especially goal focused. Also effective for clients who are willing to be self-directed and motivated. Good for a large variety of populations and agencies or environments. Generally serves as an effective basis for communicating with others and problem solving by establishing positive relationships.

EXAMPLES OF TECHNIQUES:  Reflective listening; building relationship with trust and authenticity; immediacy intervention (pointing out issues as they arise and are unfolding); focus on affect and feelings. Provide full and complete presence as therapist to the client. Show full acceptance of clients, not necessarily their behaviors; verbally and non-verbally communicate respect and caring.

TERMS:  reflective listening, immediacy, authenticity, empathy, acceptance, unconditional positive regard, person-centered vs. problem centered

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