What is Rogerian Counselling?
Rogerian counselling, also known as person-centred counselling, was developed by psychologist Carl Rogers. Rogers believed that to establish trust and rapport, the counsellor/therapist must possess personal congruence (a balance of their own emotions and self-acceptance and understanding) allowing for presence, acceptance and positive regard for the client within therapeutic counsellor-client alliances and relationships.
Rogers believed the client had the insight to solve their own problems when supported by a caring, attentive counsellor who accompanies them in an aligned and equal partnership. The counsellor’s full acceptance of the client is a core therapeutic element as they work together in acknowledgement of personal strengths, competences, and in recognition of abilities.
Rogers understood that client independence, autonomy and choice is paramount to building confidence and self-esteem. He believed the role of the counsellor is to support the wisdom and wholeness of the client and to accept them fully.
Rogers has written of his concerns about how problems can arise from labelling deficits:
“We find ourselves under the rewards and punishments of external judgments. ‘That’s good’; ‘that’s naughty.’ ‘That’s worth an A’; ‘that’s a failure.’ ‘That’s good counseling’; ‘that’s poor counseling.’ Such judgments are a part of our lives from infancy to old age…. Like everyone else I find myself all too often making such evaluations. But, in my experience, they do not make for personal growth and hence I do not believe that they are a part of a helping relationship… So I have come to feel that the more I can keep a relationship free of judgment and evaluation, the more this will permit the other person to reach the point where he recognizes that the locus of evaluation, the center of responsibility, lies within himself “
Rogers, Carl. (1961). On becoming a person: A therapists view of psychotherapy. Houghton Mifflin Co.