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What is Client Centered Therapy?

Client Centered Therapy, also known as Person Centered Therapy, is centered around the belief that the client more often then not is capable of healing him or herself. The therapist is present to create a safe and encouraging environment for the healing process to occur in. This environment takes away the obstacles and distractions that every day life creates allowing a person to focus on them self and target areas that cause distress. A guiding principle in Client Centered Therapy is unconditional positive regard, meaning that there is no judgement. The client takes the lead and forms the path of therapy, while the therapist offers acceptance with neither positive or negative judgement. The therapist asks minimal questions and refrains from making diagnoses, offering reassurance, or assigning blame. The goal is to build on a person’s strengths and help them to see that they do have the ability to help them self.

How does it work?

First the therapist works to create a safe and distraction free environment that is comfortable, non-judgmental, and empathetic. The therapist is non-directive, meaning they allow the client to direct the course of therapy, while showing acceptance and maintaining the feeling of safety. They do this by being empathetic and showing unconditional positive regard for feelings and genuineness. Through this process and supportive reflection, and therapist guides without directing a client through their emotions and difficulties, helping them lead themselves to their own strengths and answers.

Core concepts of Client Centered Therapy:

  • Unconditional Positive Regard
    • the basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does, with neither positive or negative judgment
  • Self Actualization
    • the tendency for a person to reach their fullest potential through self-discovery and personal growth
  • Congruence
    • also known as genuineness, meaning that the therapist is honest with the client and often shares their own emotions and experiences honestly
  • Empathetic Understanding
    • the therapist feels the same emotions with the client, intense empathy

What does it help with?

The foundation of Client Centered Therapy is that people are inclined to move toward healing and growth and therefore there are no wrong uses for it. As long as the therapist is able to use the core principles correctly and create a safe and trusting environment, Client Centered Therapy has been proven to effectively help many issues. Some examples of what Client Centered Therapy can effectively treat are:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder (with or without Agoraphobia)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Marital Discord
  • Behavioral Issues
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Stress

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