Client-Centered Therapy Overview Guide

Have you experienced undergoing a therapy session and talking to a professional expert? How did the treatment go? There is a counseling approach that focuses on you as a customer instead of as a regular patient. Meaning it’s counseling that’s revolving around you. Let’s discuss this topic further.

It has been a stigma in society that when a person seeks person-centered counseling or consults a professional for help, they are being judged right away. But whether you are suffering from concealed depression, anxiety, or not, you can still seek the guidance of a counselor or a professional therapist.

Counselor and patient during counseling sessions

Understanding The Process of a Counseling Session

Do you doubt this? Take it from Carl Rogers, the one who oped person-centered theory, a well-known humanistic psychologist who introduced a new clinical practice and approach to therapy: Client-Centered Therapy.

This has added a new perception to professional medical advice, patients, and counselors. It has been shown to be beneficial to human existence and to many individuals across the globe.

Let’s talk about the patient’s experience prior to working with a client-centered counselor. Before, the humanistic psychology approach and behaviorism saw people as patients who were sick and in need of a cure. This makes it seem that people, in their own words, need help and are unfit to decide for themselves.

This is what Carl Rogers believed came in to show his dismay. He somehow knew that this type of talk therapy was not sufficient and was less effective.

Rogers formulated client-centered therapy, also known as Rogerian Therapy or Rogerian Psychotherapy. Rogers strongly believed that humans are inherently good and have a strong desire for personal growth. What they strive for is to reach the highest human development, also known as self-actualization.

This is the total opposite of the term of how a ‘patient’ is viewed. Rogers then decided to change it to ‘client.’ A key point in the client-centered therapy approach.

Patient sharing stories about themselves while on session

The Foundations Of Client-Centered Therapy

Slowly, Rogers built the foundations of Client-Centered Therapy. In this approach, the patient knows more about themselves than the counselor could ever know. They let the patient explain, which seems to be a humanistic therapy. Patients share stories about themselves; thus, the name is client-centered.

By empathetic understanding of the client’s thoughts and feelings, the counselor focuses on the foreground. The client realizes existing issues, like their self-esteem, how they view their self-direction, and even illnesses like eating disorders, reflect on themselves, and get an idea of what they should do moving forward.

The term client-centered therapy, also known as person-centered theory, is a non-directive form of counseling and psychological treatment that was developed by Carl Rogers in the 1940s and 1950s. It emphasizes the client’s experience and innermost thoughts and feelings, rather than the mental health professional’s own words, meanings, or judgments. The counselor strives to see the world from the client’s frame of reference and to understand their feelings or the other person’s ideas.

The counselor strives to understand a person's feelings or the other person's ideas.

The goal of this person-centered approach is to encourage clients to achieve personality development, greater self-understanding, self-awareness, acceptance, and independence. The person-centered therapists strive to create a therapeutic environment that is supportive and empathic. The counselor also works to help clients begin personal growth, improve overall well-being, achieve self-actualization, and generate success through professional medical advice.

Qualities Of Client-Centered Therapy

To reach that aim, Rogers emphasized that the counselor first must possess the following three qualities:

  • Be Sensitive And Aware Of Any Therapy Reactions

Counselors or mental health professionals must be sensitive and aware in such a way of any reactions, emotions, person’s ideas, or changes in individuals as they talk. It is necessary that they focus on active listening to encourage clients to become self-aware.

Summarizing or repeating what the individual has said will make them feel understood and help the client lessen possible personal abuse, recognizing positive growth and overall well-being.

  • Congruence On Both Sides

Empathy will not work in helping the individual see clearly if the counselor is not honest. The client-centered therapists must not pretend to understand, avoid any questions, or fool the patient. They must also be upfront and honest about it, as how the counselor acts in this non-directive therapy.

Client-centered therapy, based on psychotherapy research, has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health issues. The counselor in this nondirective counseling provides a supportive and nonjudgmental environment during their psychological contract, in which the client can explore their feelings and things. This type of therapy or therapeutic encounter can help the client achieve growth and develop a more positive outlook on life. It can also help the client to answer any incongruence between their thoughts and their actions given by human nature.

The person-centered therapist should answer the individual and let them know what is happening and the possible reasons why. This is practiced in the client-centered treatment therapeutic process.

  • Unconditional Positive Regard

Part of the principles of this person-centered approach is that having honesty and empathy between a counselor and a patient bodes well. However, if unconditional positive regard is not present, things will fall apart.

You cannot be empathetic if you do not show you care for the client’s point. It comes off as fake and will make the individual pull away. It does not matter if you are honest. If the client does not feel the warmth during a session, they will put their guard up even more.

Kind Of Relationship Built Within – Limits and Boundaries In The Treatment

That is the kind of therapeutic relationship a client and a counselor should have. However, a counselor must be wary of the boundaries. Overstepping too much, and the individual own feelings are awful about it. Interact too little, and the patient may not feel comfortable sharing. In centered therapy, there must be a balance in the therapist-client relationship.

A client is sharing stories with her counselor

Client-Centered Therapy Effectiveness

The most important thing to have in client-centered therapy to be considered a success is the connection between the client and the person-centered therapist. As mentioned when discussing the qualities of client-centered therapists, if there is a fallout between the two during a session, it will be difficult for the individual to open up again. If that is the case, the therapy might lead to failure.

This approach to psychotherapy, known as client-centered therapy or person-centered therapy, is distinctive in that it differs from other types of therapy. It places a strong emphasis on the client’s perception and understanding of their own insights, matters, and values rather than the therapist’s interpretation. In other words, the client is “in the driver’s seat.” The therapist’s role is to provide support and guidance while the client leads the way through therapeutic talking, with the therapist having a deep desire for the client’s personal growth and well-being.

This is the reason why the client and the counselor must have a strong bond between them. They must also meet the other six conditions that Rogers mentions.

  • There is a good therapeutic relationship between the client and the counselor
  • The client is emotionally distraught (incongruence)
  • The counselor is honest and open about their feelings
  • The counselor gives unconditional positive regard to the client
  • The counselor has empathy toward the client
  • The client sees and feels the unconditional positive regard the counselor has for them.

If these six conditions are met, then there should be a positive change in the client.

Final Thoughts

Client-centered therapy emphasizes that it primarily focuses on individuals who want to work on self-actualization. However, according to one study, this type of therapy is much more effective than other therapies or alternative therapies out there for individuals who struggle with mental health. A trained counselor thus gives a therapeutic change through particular techniques and their own solutions during their outpatient programs. For example, you might be able to learn meditations for weight loss if that’s what you need, or discover that you need a different approach.

This shows that though this approach only started from one side of the population, it is inclusive of the rest.

A Therapy That Matters

As long as you are willing to open up and share your story, Client-Centered Therapy, also known as Person-Centered Therapy, will be helpful and will bring you so many insights into your life.


What are the techniques of client-centered therapy?

Person centered therapy, also known as client-centered therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, prioritizes empathic understanding, trust, and a non-judgmental environment. Therapists practicing person-centered therapy actively listen, reflect, and provide a non-directive space for clients to explore their feelings and experiences. The goal is to empower individuals to make positive changes and achieve self-actualization.

What is the goal of client-centered therapy?

The goal of person-centered therapy, also known as client-centered therapy is to promote personal growth and self-actualization in clients. This is achieved by creating a safe, empathetic, and non-judgmental environment where clients can explore their thoughts and feelings, enhance self-awareness, and make self-directed positive changes. The therapist’s role in person-centered therapy is to facilitate this process by providing unconditional positive regard and building a strong therapeutic relationship.

What does client-centered mean?

“Client-centered” refers to an approach in therapy and counseling where the client is the central focus. The therapist’s methodology is tailored to meet the specific needs and goals of the client. This approach emphasizes empathy, unconditional positive regard, and non-directiveness. It creates a supportive and non-judgmental space for clients to explore their thoughts and feelings, fostering self-exploration and personal growth with the therapist serving as a facilitator and support in the client’s journey.

What are the key concepts of person-centered therapy?

What are the 7 core values of a person-centered approach?

What is client-centered practice?

What is the primary goal of the therapist in person-centred therapy?

Who benefits from person-centered therapy?

How does person-centered therapy work?

Person-centered therapy (Rogerian Therapy) operates by creating a therapeutic relationship built on empathy, trust, and unconditional positive regard. The therapist using a person centered therapy actively listens to the client’s thoughts and feelings, providing reflection and support for their self-exploration. This non-directive approach empowers clients to explore their experiences, gain self-awareness, and work toward self-actualization.

What are the weaknesses of person-centered therapy?