If you’ve never been in therapy, it’s so easy to have preconceived notions about this process rooted in hurtful stereotypes and urban myths. When discussing therapy with others, the therapist is often painted out to be this cold, emotionally reserved individual, exclusively interested in talking about your childhood at all times. While that might be partially true for some approaches, the beauty of psychology lies in its diversity. There are so many different styles and trends in therapy that you can choose from as a client, each adjustable to your unique needs.
If you’re more interested in working in an environment of authenticity, honesty, unconditional acceptance, and empathy, Person-Centered Therapy (PCT) might be the perfect fit for you. Read on to learn more about the philosophy behind PCT and its three key concepts, which serve as a fundament for the entirety of the therapeutic process.
What Is Person-Centered Therapy?
Historically speaking, PCT, also referred to as the humanistic approach, was the first ever type of therapy to focus not only on the disordered functioning of each individual but also on ways of supporting their well-being and fulfilling their potential.
Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers, the founding fathers of the humanistic approach, revolutionized the therapeutic process forever in the 1940s and 50s by proposing a new, more positive outlook on the human psyche:
- Rather than fixating on the dysfunctional and problematic patterns of clients, PCT emphasizes the role that our inner resources, skills, and personal development play in supporting our mental health.
- PCT is deeply rooted in the belief that, when given the optimal environment of unconditional warmth, empathy, acceptance, and understanding, we all can engage in the ever-lasting process of becoming the best version of ourselves.
- According to PCT, the therapeutic process should focus on aiding the client in embracing their authentic self through increasing their sense of self-worth and cultivating unconditional acceptance of the self.
Over half a century later, PCT has been proven helpful in treating mental health issues like:
- low self-esteem
- suicidal ideation
- substance abuse
- eating disorders
- interpersonal issues
- stress & anxiety
- prolonged grief
Rogeriad Triad: The 3 Key Concepts of PCT
At the core of PCT lies the unique relationship between clients and therapists, rooted in warmth, mutual understanding, and equality. Carl Rogers described its essence in a conceptual frame that divides it into three main concepts – known today as the Rogerian Triad:
Becoming vulnerable and discussing your issues in therapy is a challenge in itself. Yet, it can become increasingly complicated if you feel like you can’t trust or bond with your therapist due to them being emotionally distant, like a blank page, not revealing their true selves.
Rogers counteracted this obstacle by promoting authenticity within the therapeutic setting. Instead of putting up a facade, humanistic therapists act naturally, opening up to clients. This way, as a client, you’re treated as an equal, and it’s easier to invest in this relationship, creating a safe space allowing you to:
- show up honestly in conversations
- build trust
- cultivate vulnerability and emotional openness
Empathy allows us to become closer to one another, making us feel seen, heard, and understood. In therapy, that’s paramount in order to make progress and feel comfortable and safe.
PCT uses empathetic understanding as a therapeutic skill enabling the therapist to step into the client’s shoes and get to know their private world. Simultaneously, maintaining clear boundaries and not getting lost in the client’s experience remains a big priority as well. When done correctly, such empathy deepens the bond and helps the two sides stay on the same page.
3. Unconditional Positive Regard
Last but not least – unconditional positive regard translates as being accepted y the therapist just the way you are. You might not see eye to eye or agree on specific topics, yet it can’t ever change the supportive attitude with which you’re treated as a client in person-centered therapy. Creating such a safe space can allow you to:
- freely express yourself without the fear of being judged,
- get in touch with your needs, feelings, and beliefs and explore them together,
- live through a corrective emotional experience where your authentic self is embraced and can thrive.
Get Professional Help With Harbor Psychiatry
If you’re struggling with intense shame and guilt, negativity bias, or negative self-talk and you’d like to learn ways to embrace your authentic self and cultivate self-acceptance, consider starting Person-Centered Therapy.
With the assistance of an experienced psychologist, you can:
- gain mental clarity regarding your core values and purpose in life,
- explore your relationship with the self and heal old wounds,
- learn how to use self-compassion in your inner dialogue,
- celebrate and honor your authentic self,
- find ways to fulfill your potential.
Don’t hesitate and start your healing process by contacting us here.