What Is The Person Centered Approach?

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The Person-Centered Approach developed from the work of the psychologist Dr. Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987). He advanced an approach to psychotherapy and counselling that, at the time (1940’s – 1960’s), was considered extremely radical if not revolutionary.

Originally described as non-directive, this therapy moved away from the idea that the therapist was the expert and towards a theory that trusted the innate tendency (known as the actualising tendency) of human beings to find fulfilment of their personal potentials. An important part of this theory is that in a particular psychological environment, the fulfilment of personal potentials includes sociability, the need to be with other human beings and a desire to know and be known by other people. It also includes being open to experience, being trusting and trustworthy, being curious about the world, being creative and compassionate.

The Person-Centered Approach was developed by Carl Rogers
(1902-1987).

The psychological environment described by Rogers was one where a person felt free from threat, both physically and psychologically. This environment could be achieved when being in a relationship with a person who was deeply understanding (empathic), accepting (having unconditional positive regard) and genuine (congruent).

Although initially developed as an approach to psychotherapy (eventually becoming known as client/person-centred therapy/counselling), Rogers and his colleagues came to believe that their ideas could be transferred to other areas where people were in relationships. For example teaching, management, childcare, patient care, conflict resolution.

Today there are many people who, although not working as psychotherapists and counsellors, use the work of Rogers as guiding principles in their day-to-day work and relationships.

At one level, Rogers’ theory and work is very simple to describe. As many people would attest, both those using the approach and those working as person-therapists/counsellors, it can be very difficult to put into practice because the approach does not use techniques but relies on the personal qualities of the therapist/person to build a non-judgemental and empathic relationship.

Upcoming Events

Kids Workshop

This workshop presented by Barbara and Heather Williams will explore the person centered approach and play therapy. With their own developed philosophy, they build upon the principles of humanistic psychology developed by Carl Rogers, Virginia Satir, and Virginia Axline. Their work focuses on the deep respect for a child...

April 17th & 18th, 2021

The La Jolla Program 2021

For more than half a century The La Jolla Program has been at the world forefront in practicing our versions of interpersonal encounter. We convene together facing one another, using the opportunity to talk and otherwise communicate.

Our aim is to understand and experience our personal relatedness to happenings that concern us...

April 19 through Friday April 23

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