Person Centred Psychotherapy


Person-Centred (also: Client-Centred) Psychotherapy is the best known and most widespread form of Humanistic Psychotherapy in the world. It was founded by Carl Rogers and his colleagues in 1940 in the United States of America.

Its foundation is the view of the human being as a person — hence its name —, i.e. dialectically in their substantial and relational dimensions. Thus it is to be regarded as the practice of an image of the human being which rests on both, their autonomy and their interconnectedness. Its distinguishing characteristics are that it places theexperience of client(s) and therapist(s) and the immediate present relationship between them at the centre of attention. Moreover, Person-Centred Therapy tries to locate its ‘work’ as closely as possible to the experience of the client in the present relationship. The experience of the individual is taken seriously without any preconditions as he or she is in the immediate moment. This includes how the person came to be who they are through relationships, what he or she is at the present time, and how the person is able to develop further in the future. The client is trusted to be capable of living his or her life and dealing with their problems using their own personal resources, if they experience a relationship with certain facilitative conditions.

On principle this involves a break with the traditional image and function of the therapist as an expert on the client’s problems. On the contrary, the therapist understands him- or herself as a collaborator and equal partner — developing together with the client in a process of encounter person-to-person. A further essential characteristic of Person-Centred Psychotherapy is that person-centred theory and language stay close to colloquial experience. Finally, it has been part of the person-centred tradition of over sixty years to openly encourage continuous research and further development of theory and practice.

Beyond psychotherapy, the Person-Centred Approach is a way of being and working with persons in a wide range of fields of human endeavour where interpersonal relationships are central.