What does “client-centered” mean?
Client-centered therapy, also known as customer-centered counselling or person-centered therapy, is a non-directive form of talk therapy which means that it allows the client to conduct the conversation and does not attempt to direct it in any way. It is often regarded as the founding work of the humanistic school of psychotherapy, which was founded by psychologist Carl Rogers, and is considered one of the most important psychotherapeutic schools. Client-centered therapy presupposes specific attributes of the good life and the relative absence of psychopathology and is designed to create conditions that promote natural human growth, development and realization of individual potential.
Client-centered therapists believe that the power of therapy lies in the client forming their own insights and making their own decisions on these insights. This can be seen as the reason why Rogers referred to the person in therapy as a client and not a patient.
We are equals in therapy
One of the most important aspects of person-centered therapy is the relationship between the client and the therapist. In client-centered therapy, you act as an equal partner in the therapy process and your therapist remains uncritical, he does not judge your feelings or suggest solutions. While many of the most common forms of therapy today are more client-centered than early 20th century psychotherapy, this one is a specific form of therapy that distinguishes from others by its focus on client aversion rather than giving clients any direction.
Client-centered therapy techniques are based on creating a safe environment for the client so that they feel free to share information without being negatively affected or judged. Therapy works independently of the type of therapist, as long as the client does not feel judged. As soon as the client has sufficient knowledge, they can set effective and desirable goals for the therapy. If the client takes the lead in shaping the therapy path, the therapist should offer acceptance without judgement.
An important part of the job of a person-centered counselor is to accompany the client in order to feel and communicate with them, so that the therapist can understand how they are doing. In many therapies, the therapist tries to interpret the meaning of the client by seeing it through their own lens. Person-centered therapists learn to recognize and trust human potential and to show empathy, unconditional and positive regard, for the client to facilitate change.
Therapy room is a safe space
It is the responsibility of the therapist to create the right environment for the client to become a functioning person. In most therapies, the psychologist has an agenda for a particular session, but in a person-centered way, the therapist leaves the guidance to the client. Most people find client-centered therapy helpful because it is difficult to have such a space of recognition in personal relationships, as people tend to make it very difficult for them to express feelings, complaints, and tend to always offer recommendations.
With these techniques, therapists help their clients grow, become more confident, and change their behaviour and self-alignment. Rogers’ therapy is designed to enable clients to realise their potential by relying on their own strengths and changes. In addition to the client-centered approach, Rogerian psychotherapy differs from other therapies in that each person benefits from a client-centered therapy by transforming into a competent person.