Person Centred Values

Person centred values put the values of the individual client at the centre of the therapeutic relationship. 

The client’s privacy and confidentiality are key to how work develops.  Fundamental to this approach is the recognition that the client, their needs and concerns are unique to them.  In counselling and psychotherapy the work is carefully tailored and built around an understanding of the clients’ needs and the issues that have brought them to get help now. 

Counsellors and psychotherapists may have learnt and internalised a particular approach to how they work, but in practice all clients’ needs are particular and the therapy needs to develops in line with these needs. It is helpful to work with a therapist who can adapt their work to fit around you and your situation.

You Are Under No Obligations

As a person seeking counselling or psychotherapy it should be clear to you that there are no obligations that you have to meet at the outset. 

In the first instance you will be offered to come to a session, you will know how long that session lasts and what it costs.  At this stage there are no obligations beyond that. 

At the first meeting you might decide that it would be a good idea to speak more.  As these conversations develop, so a mutual understanding of the contract between you and your therapist will become clear. 

Confidentiality – Person Centred Values

Everything that you discuss in your therapy is confidential.   You are free to speak about it with your friends and partner if you choose to, but your therapist keeps what you say in confidence.

  • The basis of the work is that trust is developed. 
  1. It may be that you have never felt safe to trust anyone. 
  2. You may have grown up in a home in which trust was missing and you could never take your safety and care for granted. 

Psychotherapy and counselling is a genuine attempt to develop trust.  If that can happen then it may follow that you will feel free to develop parts of your personality that have hitherto been held back.  

Consistent care

One of the crucial differences between psychotherapy, counselling and other types of relationship is that it is consistent. 

In your session you come to experience the fact that you get the same level of consistent care. 

Your sessions, once you have agreed to enter into on-going work, happen at a clearly specified time.  They last for the same amount of time (usually 50 minutes).  The price of the sessions is the same.  These facts of the work offer an experience of consistent care.  It is through the experience of these consistent qualities that you may find you start to relax and develop.

Carl Rogers and Person Centred Therapy

Rogers, an American Psychologist and Psychotherapist was interested in what conditions were necessary to facilitate personal change?

Carl Rogers viewed his work on the basis that it was less about what could he do to fix someone’s problem and more from the position of wondering how he could provide a relationship which the client might use for his own personal growth. 

Rogers felt that he could not be of help to clients through and because of some particular knowledge or training.  Therapists who try to encourage a client to behave in particular ways at best only support a short-term solution. 

In the longer term what it more useful is if the client can be supported to find the resources within themselves to identify and facilitate the changes that they wish to create and sustain.

Rogers felt that there were certain person centred values that he could attempt to embody to help facilitate such development.

Be genuine, it is extremely important to be real. 

Carl Rogers, 1967

Person Centred Values – Sensitive Empathy to the Client

Rogers recognised the need to be sensitive to the myriad ways in which the client might perceive threat in the counselling sessions. 

A vital question remains how the counsellor is able to monitor themselves and the ongoing work so as to understand the ways in which a comment or a gesture might be taken as evidence of hostility. 

Unconditional Positive Regard

The therapists’ genuine willingness for the client to be feeling whatever is going on in him at that moment… the therapist cares for the client in a non-possessive way … The term we have come to use for this is unconditional positive regard.

Carl Rogers 1967

It is these nuanced changes that can have such a profound effect on how work develops or breaks off.

In Rogers view it was key to develop freedom within the counselling work, so that the client might feel able to safely explore their thoughts, memories and feelings, including the difficult, dark and upsetting ones.

Person Centred Values the characteristics of a Helping Relationship

“… if the counsellor is congruent or transparent, so that his words are in line with his feelings rather than the two being discrepant; if the counsellor likes the client, unconditionally; and if the counsellor understands the essential feelings of the client as they seem to the client – then there is a strong probability that this will be an effective helping relationship.”

Carl Rogers, 1967

By congruent Rogers is referring to the counsellor’s capacity to accept himself.  By being able to accept himself, in Rogers’ view he is able to accept his clients.

Psychotherapy and counselling and Person Centred Values

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I think many of the person centred values that Carl Rogers described are important and relevant, particularly in the early stages of developing work.

Having the chance to speak in a confidential setting is key to developing a genuine sense of personal freedom. Out of this you may be able to develop a clearer understanding of how your problems have developed, and of what you can do to change the way your life develops.

  • Out of these beginnings, psychotherapy and counselling may be the starting point to developing greater insight into yourself.
  • To being able to change things and so to release yourself from your present situation.

Contact me to arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss how my approach might help you.