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Client-Centered Therapy in Psychology


Global studies reveal that there has been an ignited on the best strategy to apply in rehabilitation for patients with mental problems. It was found that, in the past, the majority of psychotherapy strategies focused on behavior and psychodynamics. In the 1940’s Carl Rogers realized that some patients did not necessarily need a lot of consultation. Instead, they just needed personal advice and guided support for the healing journey. In response to the situation, Carl Rodgers innovated client-centered therapy to remedy the problem Client-centered therapy is a stretch to mental healing strategies since, unlike other strategies, it uses the therapist as the direction for mental healing. The approach recognizes that everyone is an expert in his own life. It assumes clients’ inbuilt motivation to achieve growth and self-actualization. This article focuses on client-centered therapy, also referred to as nondirective therapy or person-centered therapy.


The client-centered therapy approach is a theory of mental healing therapy proposed by Rogers in a psychology conference involving psychiatrists and educators. It recommends the use of talk and self-action therapy whereby the clients are actively engaged in psychoanalysis sessions. The therapist acts as a source of support for the patients through the healing process. The approach lacks a specific program whereby it supports mental health by use of empathy during all counseling sessions. In most instances, the client does not need to be at the same location as therapists for the healing process to occur. This article presents a discussion of client-centered therapy.

Basic Human Assumptions

The basic human assumptions are that the therapist can actualize their potential naturally. The theory assumes that optimum healing can be obtained when a patient is fully conscious of what is happening to guide them. The condition of self-growth should occur quickly without the aid of psychologists through provision for support and advice. Lastly, it is postulated that an unconditional positive attitude can be developed from assimilation, showing love, and being empathetic about clients’ inner being. The key concepts of this theory help the researchers understand the theory’s assumptions.

Key Concepts

The theory’s key concepts are the person, therapist, relationship, and core conditions. The client is perceived as a self-regulatory, disciplined, and active human. The therapist is assumed to understand and trust the patients’ motivation for growth, positive attitude, commitment, and self-awareness. It perceives risks involved and the need for collaboration. Lastly, the theory bases the relationship between client and therapist on the concept of freedom and safety. The core conditions are congruence, unconditional positive regard, and empathy. Empathic tries to understand the patient’s point of view: Congruence implies that the counselor is a genuine person and aims at assimilating and integrating the knowledge on awareness. At the same time, unconditional positive regard requires the counselor to avoid being judgmental (Wedding and Corsini, 2013). The counselor has to accept the patient’s emotions, wishes, and intentions. The role of therapists also varies with the strategy chosen for therapy.

Role of a Therapist

The role of a therapist comprises an empathetic guide and a source of directive information to the client. The therapist must set goals and be persuasive and tolerating. Additionally, they need to have the urge to motivate the clients to commitment, self-awareness, and cultivate a positive attitude. The therapist creates the assimilation of new changes in behavior, emotions, and motivations in the patients. The psychiatrist should watch the patient’s actions, assist them in developing a verdict, and then allow the clients to try the solutions without intervention.

They also help them develop a strategy to speak to the patients and train them to adopt the same way a teacher or a facilitator does. Therapists ask questions to the clients, interpret, advise, and narrate their reflection of the issue to the clients. Telling involves encouraging the patients, for instance, by confrontation and music (Corsini, 2017). The variance in understanding the therapist’s role creates a difference in the therapist’s relationship.

Therapeutic Relationship

Client-centered therapy creates a collaborative relationship between the therapist and the client. It builds on an association similar to a helper and a client. Implementing the attitudes relating to client-centered therapy creates a climate of safety and freedom. The relationship builds upon two unique persons, the client, and the counselor, where the counselor initiates the healing process by creating goals and intentions for the client to achieve. It aims at utilizing the motivation of the clients to treat the patient. The key element to the relationship is trust and the desire to actualize. The clients are the architects of their own lives, and thus they are given a chance to change their behaviors. There is a close link between client-centered therapy and therapeutic alliance. However, it should not be confused with alliance therapy. Therapists are expected to motivate the clients by accommodating clients’ inquiries. It requires therapists to change time allocation and make contact with clients by responding to their questions. The healing process is a journey shared between the counselor and the patient, which requires a lot of trust in achieving the strategy.

The Process of Psychotherapy

Rogers postulates that clients know the cause of harm and thus have experience about their lives. Therefore psychiatrists only need to provide directions for them to follow. The therapy process moves from lacking the expertise to gaining knowledge to control one’s emotions and achieve growth. According to Kelly (2021), the change process in client-centered theory involves seven basic experiential stages, as proposed by Rogers. There should be no direct interventions from the counselor. These stages are one among the three central pillars of the client-centered approach. The rest are the19 propositions of Carl Rogers’s theory of personality and, second, the six conditions that necessitate therapeutic personality change. The client-centered therapeutic process comprises;

Stage 1

The practice of person-centered therapy begins immediately with the therapist’s commitment to understanding the patients’ world. The therapist then allows the client to share his story the way they would like without judging them. At first, the client is unwilling to speak openly about their feelings. Instead, they tend to blame other people for being the source of their problems. For instance, they will use statements such as ‘If only my relatives would stop putting pressure on me, then I would be in a better place. Therapists are often very open to clients’ negative and positive feelings. At first, the counselor tries to understand whether the client has questions and responds to the questions from the patients. It is infrequent that clients at this stage of fixity and loneliness will consult psychiatrists or counseling services at this stage.

Stage 2

This stage is characterized by a slight increase in rigidity, with clients making a small move towards speculating their responsibility in their condition. However, the patient takes no action to solve the problem. The perception is that ‘it is not my mistake; it is other peoples’ fault, isn’t it. In most circumstances, the patients feel that other people subscribe to the miseries they are going through. The patient will, in most instances, only recognize their speculations about the causes of the problems.

Stage 3

In the third stage, the client starts accepting self-responsibility but concentrates more on accepting past emotions than present feelings. Typically, most clients commence therapy at this stage. Statements describing this stage include ‘I had feelings of committing suicide in the past, but everyone feels this at some stage, isn’t it? The fourth stage involves patients making self-criticism about their feelings.

Stage 4

At this stage, patients tend to describe themselves and their feelings but tend to be critical about themselves. For instance, ‘I feel innocent about that, shouldn’t I? the clients are very willing to participate in a therapeutic relationship actively. However, they may be deficient in trusting the counselor. The counselor should avoid colliding with patients’ humor to separate themselves from the full impact of their current emotions. At this, stage the patient recognizes self and other people’s processes towards self-actualization.

Stage 5

At stage 5, clients confirm that they perceive things more comprehensibly and take ownership of their circumstances. For instance, ‘I’m not shocked. I’m just irritated with the manager after what I have gone through. They may question, ‘how will I be able to get out of this mess? I have already lost hope?’ A therapist needs to recognize and acknowledge this statement. It is the most crucial and the most productive stage of the healing process since patients can express their emotions and make decisions in their own lives. The counselor should consider allowing the clients to take action in their lives.

Stage 6

The client recognizes their feelings and those of others towards self-actualization. For instance, ‘I accept the pain inside my heart and what I and others contributed. I perceive warmth and passion towards myself and my friends for the place I am. Upon attaining this stage, the client is improbable to regress. They may also choose to cut short the therapy since they can now treat themselves with love and self-care.

Stage 7

It comprises the majority of patients who are healed by engaging in person-centered therapy. The final output is that everyone in society should see a person who is flexible to changes presented to them by life. Lastly, it is rare to see patients showing signs of one stage, and at times, the patient may retrogress. Additionally, clients who reach stage 6 are most likely to progress with self-growth. The psychotherapy process is always guided by goals and objectives to achieve success.

Goals and Objectives

The goals of person-centered therapy are; to facilitate trust from clients and the capacity to be in the current moment. This encourages the client to be honest without creating a judgmental feeling on the client during therapy. The process helps to abolish mitigating effects of misery. Person-centered therapy increases self-esteem, openness, and self-awareness in the client. This is since the first stages of the process require the patient to be willing to disclose their feelings and the causes of their pains. It motivates congruence in the patients’ behavior and emotions. The process of person-centered therapy aids people with the potential to control their lives and achieve self-actualization. (Seligman, 2006). The success of the goals of psychology therapy depends on the ability to apply the techniques and methods effectively.

Techniques and Methods

The therapist utilizes different techniques during the treatment process to achieve the result, which is self-dependence for growth and decision-making. Carl Rogers majorly contributed these techniques, but over time more styles have been added to help boost the time used in obtaining the final results. The following are the techniques and methods of client-centered therapy.

First, Carl Rogers noted that most of the time, we tend to think that we are listening to create understanding. However, it is not at all times that people make understanding. Active listening is one of the active components of change therapy. Client-centered therapy recognizes that when a person is in psychological distress, they feel good to realize that someone listens to them without being judgmental. This is since most clients are already struggling with their emotions of guilt, low self-esteem, and the perception that they are not good enough.

Therapists need to set clear boundaries for their relationships. The limit needs to be clear to avoid the contemplation of unhealthy or ineffective relationships, for instance, eliminating specific topics. These boundaries include concepts such as setting the length of therapy sessions. Psychiatrists need to recognize that patients know themselves better, and thus they are the best source of knowledge and insight about their problems and creating potential solutions.

Psychiatrists should avoid making decisions for their patients. This kind of therapy perceives making a decision as a risk. Instead, they should concentrate on their tones since it has a detrimental effect on what they listen to, understand, and the application of guided actions. A psychiatrist should use their voice to emphasize their thinking, reflections, and understanding of the situation. For instance, therapy can involve the use of tone to slow down the discussion at key points.

Therapists should make the clients believe that they are trustworthy for personal details. In order for the patients to share their information, they need to feel secure and comfortable. Counselors should then concentrate on accepting negative emotions from the clients and exercising not taking them personally. This is a vital technique in the expression of clients’ emotions. In most instances, an exemplary mental health professional must recognize their limits. There is no loss in revealing to the clients that they are not experts in some areas. However, there should be an attempt to make the clients feel that the therapist can is capable of providing them with resources that can assist them in the healing process.

In conclusion, World Health Organization reveals neglect for people with tropical diseases such as leprosy. Victims involved mostly resulted in stress and finally suicide from stigma and discrimination in society. The organization proposes using collaborative actions using person-centered therapy in combination with policy creation and collaboration with stakeholders. Finally, person-centered therapy is a vital tool in solving mental problems in society today, especially where social distancing is applicable.


Corsini, R. (2017). Role-Playing in Psychotherapy. In Roleplaying in Psychotherapy pp. 2-23. New Brunswick, London: Transaction Publishers.

Seligman, M. E., Rashid, T., & Parks, A. C. (2006). Positive psychotherapy. American Psychologist,61(8), 774-788. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.61.8.774

Wedding, D. (2013). Current Psychotherapies. In Current psychotherapies 10th ed., pp. 1-656. Belmont, Canada: Cengage Learning. doi:9781285687490

Kelly, K. (2021, November 13). The 7 stages of process • counseling tutor. Retrieved December 04, 2021, from

World Health Organization. (2020). Mental health of people with neglected tropical diseases: towards a person-centered approach. [Case study]

Wedding, D., & Corsini, R. J. (2013). Current psychotherapies. Cengage Learning. pg 1-624.


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