Essay Sample on Person Centered Theory

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  979 Words
Date:  2022-11-05


A counseling guiding theory is a theoretical orientation that one is most aligned within his/her own view of the nature of human beings. In the scenario provided in Case A, I prefer to use a person-centered theory which is more appropriate bearing in mind the case at hand. The theory was developed in the 1940s by Carl Rogers which diverged the traditional model which viewed therapists as experts. The approach advocated for an empathetic and nondirective approach that gives room to the client to freely actively participate in the therapeutic process. Chiefly, the theory is based on the belief that every man has the capacity to attain self-actualization. According to Rogers, he referred this capacity as natural human inclination "actualizing tendency." It is based on trust of human ability to facilitate change. The role of the therapist in this approach is to provide guidance, support, and structure to allow the structure to enable the client to discover personalized solutions to one's problems. In case A provided, person-centered approach is best applicable in assisting Mary to come up with solutions related to her own personal struggles in relating with her children.

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The therapeutic approached already applied in the case of Mary already gives room for self-expression of the situation facing her to come up with a solution. Generally, the Rogerian therapy, the other name for person-centered therapy, applies three principles in its application; congruence in counseling, unconditional positive regard, and empathetic understanding of the client (Purton, 2004). Congruence in counseling refers to genuineness in allowing the client to experience their own personality as they really are (O'Leary, 2015). On the other hand, unconditional positive regard is the valuing of the clients as they are in order to facilitate attainment of their potential. This principle means that the therapist shows most genuine care of the client, showing a positive attitude even where he/she is disgusted or not in agreement with the client's worldview (Purton, 2004). Finally, empathetic understanding of the client involves the ability to actively listen in order to understand the feelings of the client. In brief, the person-centered therapist follows the client's feelings keenly and shows that he/she understands the condition of the client.

In the case provided, the above three theoretical concepts are consistent with the unfolding of events in the case of Mary and the therapist. First, the congruence in counseling is clearly and vividly seen through the sharing. Mary genuinely opens up her experience, her love for Jacob that is not the same as the one with Nancy. Clients in psychodynamic therapy maintain a "black screen" revealing very little about them. However, in the case provided, Mary opens up and shares her deep fears and what she thinks could have caused her situation. Secondly, the therapist allows Mary to share her experience which shows empathy in the counseling session. This approach allows the therapist to follow precisely what Mary was sharing and this shows that he/she understood her feelings. The case also shows unconditional positive regard of Mary's case (Purton, 2004). The ability to share such deep details is a clear indication that she felt at peace in the presence of the therapist and thus opening up.

One of the primary techniques used in person-centered therapy is reflective listening. This technique involves the therapist summarizing a client's statement back to him/her for more clarity. The use of this skill shows that the therapist understands the client and he/she is concerned with the client's experience (Martin, 2017). The use of reflection is used genuinely to avoid hurting the client even further. The use of this approach in Mary's case would allow the establishment of a conducive environment, where she feels that the therapeutic process is friendly and that she is adequately understood (O'Leary, 2015). Also, this technique will allow for clarifications of points that may not come out clearly and hence; the client will notice unconditional positive regard to her situation.

The other technique applicable in this case is the use of non-directiveness. This method allows the client to direct the therapy session. The therapist refrains from giving advice and directions on the activities in the session (O'Leary, 2015). Chiefly, the theory holds that every person has influence in his/her self-actualization achievement. The technique will allow Mary to open up and share her feelings, fears and even explore possible solutions to her problem (Martin, 2017). The final applicable technique that is applicable in this case would be probing by the use of open questions (Purton, 2004). Not only does this technique show that the therapist is interested in what the client is sharing, but also allows the client to explore her feelings and vent them out. Further, it allows clarity as the client is able to reflect on what he/she has said and the therapist gets more clarification on various points addressed by the client (O'Leary, 2015). An example of a probing question in Mary's case would be; how does that make you feel? Such a question probes her to further express her feelings in incidences when she had only given facts.


In conclusion, person-centered therapy allows the use of various techniques aimed at allowing the client to achieve self-actualization. It is based on the belief that each individual has a role to play in attaining self-potential. The approach is based on theoretical concepts such as empathy, congruence in counseling and unconditional positive response. In the case of Mary provided in Case A, the approach is highly applicable as it will allow her to open up and explore her feelings, and assess possible solutions to her case.


Martin, A. (2017, December 4). The Person Centered Approach to Counselling. Retrieved from

O'Leary, C. J. (2015). Person-centered couple and family therapy: the effects of an extra beat of time. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, 14(3), 236-247. doi:10.1080/14779757.2015.1043393

Purton, C. (2004). Person-Centred Therapy. doi:10.1007/978-0-230-21456-9

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