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Client Centered Therapy

What is Client Centered Therapy? A Definition

Client Centered Therapy, also known as Client Centered Counselling or Person Centered Therapy, was developed in the 1940s and 50s as a response to the less personal, more “clinical” therapy that dominated the field.

It is a non-directive form of talk therapy, meaning it allows the client to lead the conversation and does not attempt to steer the client in any way. Its approach rests on one vital quality: unconditional positive regard. This means that the therapist refrains from judging the client for any reason, providing a source of complete acceptance and support (Cherry, 2017).

There are three key qualities that make for a good client centered therapist:

  1. Unconditional Positive Regard: as mentioned earlier, unconditional positive regard is an important practice for the client centered therapist. The therapist needs to accept the client for who they are and provide support and care no matter what they are going through.
  2. Genuineness: a client centered therapist needs to feel comfortable sharing their feelings with the client. Not only will this contribute to a healthy and open relationship between the therapist and client, it provides the client with a model of good communication and shows the client that it’s okay to be vulnerable.
  3. Empathetic Understanding: the client centered therapist must extend empathy to the client, both to form a positive therapeutic relationship and to act as a sort of mirror, reflecting the client’s thoughts and feelings back to him or her; this will allow the client to better understand them.

Another notable characteristic of the person- or client centered therapy is the use of the term “client” rather than “patient.” Therapists who practice this type of approach see the client and therapist as a team of equal partners rather than an expert and a patient (McLeod, 2015).

This information was adapted from:


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