Person-centred psychotherapy is one of the humanistic therapies. It was created by Carl Rogers and has latterly developed to incorporate configurations work and focusing.
The practice relies on 3 core conditions: UPR (Unconditional Positive Regard), Empathy and Congruence.
UPR is the ability to be with a client in a way that accepts their experience of life, laying aside value systems and so enabling the therapist to be more available for their client’s way of being. It allows the client to be who they are beyond societal or family taboos.
Empathy is the skill of allowing a heart connection to take place between client and therapist. It is the quality of being alongside someone in their present moment experience which expands an individual’s capacity to be more fully themselves.
Congruence is about the therapist being open and accurate about their experience in the therapeutic relationship. It involves being a generous witness to their experience of the client’s world. Sometimes known as transparency, it involves and recognises the value and significance of the therapist for the client. In person-centred terms, it is talked of as working at a relational depth with a client thus deepening the reality of the person-to-person encounter.
One of the key debates in the person-centred community is how non-directive therapy is perceived. For me the ethic takes as given the innate wisdom of the ‘client to be informed by his or her own life experiences’, that is to say the source of their knowledge resides within them. The process of therapy is to empower that relationship between the client’s own witness and their moment-to-moment experience of life. That knowledge/spirituality once contacted, gives rise to a greater acceptance of who they are, where they have come from and a heightened responsiveness to how they choose to engage in their current life situations.
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