principles of person centred counselling


Person-centred counselling is a form of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to make positive changes in their lives. It is based on the principle that each person has the capacity to make their own choices, and that those choices are based on their own unique set of values and beliefs. Person-centred counselling enables individuals to explore these values and beliefs in a supportive environment, and it encourages them to take responsibility for their own decisions. By providing support and understanding, person-centred counsellors help clients to discover their true potential. Person-centred counselling is a form of talking therapy that is based on the humanistic approach to psychotherapy. It is designed to provide an environment where clients feel accepted, respected and supported. The counsellor works with the client to create a safe, non-judgemental space for them to explore any issues they are facing. The aim of person-centred counselling is to help the client find their own answers and reach their goals by encouraging self-exploration, insight and understanding. The counsellor will use active listening techniques such as reflecting and paraphrasing what the client has said in order to better understand them, as well as offering empathy and unconditional positive regard. Person-centred counselling can be beneficial in helping people achieve a greater sense of wellbeing, increased self-awareness and improved relationships with those around them.

Person-Centred Therapy: Core Conditions

Person-centred therapy is a powerful and effective form of therapy that is based on the idea of an individual’s full autonomy and self-determination. At its core, person-centred therapy is based on three core conditions. These conditions are congruence, empathy, and unconditional positive regard.

Congruence is the process of being honest and authentic with the client. The therapist must be fully present and open in their interactions with the client, demonstrating their genuine feelings while respecting the client’s autonomy. This allows the client to trust that the therapist is not judging them or offering any kind of evaluation.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share in a clients’ emotions. This does not mean that the therapist has to agree with or condone their feelings but simply that they can recognize them as valid and acknowledge them without judgement. The therapist must be able to put themselves in their clients’ shoes in order to truly understand what they are going through.

Unconditional positive regard is a term used to describe how someone should be accepted without judgement or criticism regardless of their behaviour or beliefs. The therapist must provide warmth and acceptance, even when they disagree with something said by their client. This helps build trust between both parties so that they can work together more effectively.

These three core conditions form the basis for effective person-centred therapy sessions as they create an atmosphere of trust and safety for clients to discuss their thoughts and feelings openly without judgement or criticism from the therapist. When these conditions are present it allows clients to explore their issues more deeply so that meaningful change can take place over time.

Additionally, person-centred therapy also focuses on helping people become aware of how they think about themselves, others, and life in general; encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own actions; providing supportive environments where progress can be made; helping individuals identify irrational thinking patterns; offering strategies for changing negative thought patterns; developing new skills for coping with difficult situations; teaching individuals how to make meaningful connections with others; helping people find purpose and meaning in life; and assisting individuals in achieving personal goals.

In reflection, person-centred therapy is a powerful tool for personal growth as it encourages clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, relationships, behaviours, beliefs, values, needs, conflicts, struggles, hopes, dreams – all within a safe environment created by three core conditions: congruence empathy and unconditional positive regard.

Person-centred therapy provides a unique opportunity for those who want to develop self-awareness and make lasting changes in their lives!

Unconditional Positive Regard

Unconditional positive regard (UPR) is an essential component of many therapeutic relationships. It is a form of acceptance and unconditional love that must be established between the therapist and client in order for healing to take place. In layman’s terms, UPR is simply the act of showing kindness, respect, and understanding to another person regardless of their circumstances or behavior. It is an acceptance that goes beyond words alone; it requires action and true understanding of the other person’s feelings and experiences.

UPR is not about agreeing with someone or taking sides in a conflict; rather, it is about providing a safe space for self-expression without judgment or criticism. The goal of UPR is to foster an environment where both parties feel safe enough to be vulnerable with one another in order to work towards healing. UPR can be seen as a form of empathy, which allows us to understand someone else’s perspective without necessarily having experienced the same thing ourselves.

UPR helps build trust between the therapist and client by creating an atmosphere where both feel comfortable being open and honest about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment or rejection. This feeling of safety can help facilitate healing by allowing people to explore their innermost thoughts and feelings without feeling ashamed or embarrassed. Additionally, UPR encourages self-acceptance by allowing people to explore their own unique qualities without fear of being judged negatively for them.

UPR also helps establish healthy boundaries between the therapist and client by creating a space where both parties are aware of where each one’s responsibilities lie. By setting clear boundaries early on in the relationship, it helps ensure that neither party will try to cross those boundaries out of fear or confusion. This can help prevent any potential misunderstandings or hurt feelings down the line as both parties are clear on what is expected from them within the therapeutic relationship.

Overall, unconditional positive regard is an important part of any therapeutic relationship as it creates a safe space for healing by fostering trust and understanding between both parties while also setting healthy boundaries that protect both individuals involved. It encourages self-acceptance while also helping people better understand each other’s perspectives so they can work together towards greater emotional wellbeing.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is often considered a cornerstone of good relationships, allowing us to connect with and care for those around us. Empathy helps us recognize our shared emotions and see situations from different perspectives. It also allows us to build strong relationships with those around us by understanding how their experiences shape their perspectives.

The development of empathy starts in childhood, when children learn how to identify and express their own emotions. This teaches them how to recognize and respond to the emotions of others as well. As children grow, they learn how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and appreciate different points of view.

Having empathy does not mean that we will always agree with someone else’s opinion or perspective but it does mean that we can better understand where they are coming from. We can listen to someone without judgement or criticism and accept that our views may be different without needing to argue or debate them.

When we practice empathy, we can better understand people’s motivations and feelings which helps us communicate more effectively. We can also show compassion for others in times of need which helps build stronger relationships based on trust and mutual respect.

It is important to remember that empathy is not just about understanding people’s feelings but also about responding in a meaningful way. We can show understanding by validating someone’s feelings rather than trying to downplay them or offer advice when it isn’t asked for.
We should also be mindful of our own feelings when empathizing with others so as not to get overwhelmed by their emotions or be taken advantage of emotionally.

Overall, empathy plays an important role in our relationships with others, allowing us to build strong connections based on mutual understanding and respect which leads to stronger relationships overall. Empathy will never guarantee agreement but it does allow us to understand each other better so that we can bridge the gap between different points of view while still maintaining respect for each other’s beliefs and opinions.


Congruence is a concept used in mathematics and science to describe the relationship between two shapes, objects, or systems that are in agreement, or “congruent”. In mathematics, it is used to describe shapes and figures that have the same size and shape. In science, it is often applied to physical systems such as atoms or molecules that are in agreement with each other. The concept of congruence can be used to explain why two different objects may have similar properties. For example, if two atoms of the same element are placed next to each other, they will likely have similar properties because they are congruent. Congruence can also be used to explain why certain physical systems behave in a certain way.

In mathematics, congruence is commonly used to determine whether two shapes or figures are equal in size and shape. This can be done by comparing the angles and sides of each figure. If all of the angles and sides are equal, then the shapes or figures are said to be congruent. This type of comparison can also be used with geometric figures such as circles and triangles. If two circles have the same radius and center point, then they are said to be congruent. Similarly, if two triangles have three equal angles and three equal sides then they too are said to be congruent.

Congruence can also be used in physics as a way of understanding how physical systems interact with one another. For example, when two atoms come into contact with one another they will likely form a bond due to their similarity in size and shape. This bonding process is known as chemical bonding and it occurs when atoms become more congruent with each other due to their similarities in size and shape. Congruence can also help explain why certain materials behave differently under different conditions such as temperature or pressure.

In reflection, congruence is an important concept that can help us understand how different objects interact with one another both physically and mathematically. It helps us understand why certain objects may behave differently under different conditions such as temperature or pressure as well as why certain geometric figures may look similar even though they may not necessarily have all the same dimensions or angles. Understanding this concept can provide useful insights into how our physical world works at a fundamental level


Authenticity is a quality that many people strive for in life. It involves being true to oneself and not conforming to societal norms for the sake of acceptance or approval. Being authentic means being genuine, honest, and open in all aspects of life. To be authentic requires accepting one’s flaws and shortcomings and embracing them as part of oneself. Authenticity also involves understanding what truly matters to you, and pursuing it with integrity and transparency. Being authentic can help build stronger relationships with others, as it allows people to be more honest with each other. It can also improve your self-awareness and self-confidence by helping you understand who you are and what is important to you.


Genuineness is closely related to authenticity, but it is about being real in habits, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, etc., without putting up any façade or pretending to be something else. It means being truly present in any moment without putting on a show or trying to hide anything about yourself from others. Genuineness also implies not changing yourself depending on who you’re interacting with or what situation you’re in; instead, it means staying true to your values regardless of external influences. Genuineness allows us to build stronger connections with others because we can communicate openly without fear of judgement or rejection. It also helps us become better people by enabling us to be more honest with ourselves and discover our true potentials.

Client Self-Determination

It can be hard to know what is best or most important when it comes to our own life decisions. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with mental health issues, as it can be difficult to understand what our body and mind need in order to feel better. Client self-determination is the practice of allowing the individual, rather than medical professionals, to make decisions about one’s own mental health care. It has been found that this approach can lead to improved mental health outcomes and increased client satisfaction.

Client self-determination is based on the idea that individuals have the right and ability to make informed decisions about their lives. This includes making decisions about their own mental health care without being subject to outside influences or pressure from medical professionals. When clients are empowered to make their own decisions, they are more likely to be satisfied with their treatment and experience better outcomes.

There are a few key components of client self-determination that must be taken into account for it to be successful:

  • The client must first understand their rights and responsibilities in regards to making decisions.
  • The client must have access to accurate information about available treatments.
  • The client must have the support of a trusted care provider.
  • The client must have the opportunity for open communication with their care provider.

When all these components are in place, clients are able to make informed choices about how they want to proceed with treatment, giving them a greater sense of control over their lives. The freedom of choice allows them to create an individualized plan that works best for them, rather than having someone else dictate what they should do.

Many mental health professionals now recognize the importance of client self-determination and strive for ways to empower clients in decision making. They understand that creating an atmosphere where clients feel safe and respected is essential for successful treatment outcomes. With this in mind, many healthcare providers work closely with clients throughout the process, providing support and guidance while respecting each person’s unique needs and wishes.

Client self-determination is an important part of any successful mental health treatment plan as it gives individuals more control over how they choose to manage their condition. By understanding your rights and responsibilities when it comes to decision making, you can work together with your healthcare provider towards creating a plan that works best for you and your needs.

Respecting Client Autonomy

Respect for client autonomy is an essential part of the practice of providing quality health care. It means that clients have the right to make their own decisions about their health care, and that health care providers should respect those decisions. The principle of respect for client autonomy is based on the recognition that clients have a right to privacy and dignity in their health care choices. It also recognizes that clients have the right to make informed decisions about their health care, and that these decisions should be respected by health care providers. Respect for client autonomy also implies a duty on the part of the provider to provide accurate information about treatments and options, as well as to respect the client’s wishes in regards to treatment.

Respecting a client’s autonomy is not only important from an ethical standpoint, but it is also important from a practical standpoint. When clients feel respected and empowered in their medical decisions, they are more likely to follow through with treatments and adhere to recommended lifestyle changes. Furthermore, when clients are involved in decision making regarding their own health care, they are more likely to experience positive outcomes from treatments.

Respect for client autonomy can be demonstrated by engaging in open dialogue with clients and listening to their preferences and concerns regarding treatment options. Health care providers should strive to understand the client’s perspective on their condition as well as any cultural or religious beliefs that may influence their decisions regarding treatment. Health care providers should also strive to keep clients informed of any available treatments or options so that they can make an informed decision about what works best for them. Additionally, when making recommendations or prescribing treatments, it is important for providers to explain why these treatments may be beneficial for the patient so that they can make an educated decision about whether or not it is right for them.

Healthcare providers must also recognize that respecting a client’s autonomy does not mean allowing them free rein over all medical decisions; rather, it means working with them collaboratively towards mutually agreed upon goals and outcomes. In order to ensure mutual understanding between healthcare provider and patient, healthcare providers should take time to explain potential risks associated with various treatment options as well as any relevant trade-offs between different treatment approaches. In sum, respecting a patient’s autonomy means allowing them a seat at the table when making important healthcare decisions while simultaneously informing them of potential risks associated with different treatment options so they can make an informed decision about which option works best for them personally

Last Thoughts On Principles of Person Centred Counselling

Person-centred counselling is a very powerful form of therapy which has the potential to help people change their lives for the better. It is a form of counselling which is based on the belief that every individual has within them the capacity and resources to resolve their own issues. By providing an environment of unconditional positive regard, genuineness, and empathy, counsellors can help their clients achieve greater self-awareness, understanding and insight.

The core principles of person-centred counselling are based around respect for the individual’s autonomy, and a focus on creating an atmosphere where the client can feel safe to explore their thoughts and feelings without fear of judgement or criticism. By providing an open and non-directive approach, counsellors can help individuals to gain greater insight into themselves and explore potential solutions to their problems.

Person-centred counselling provides individuals with a safe space to express themselves honestly and openly without fear or judgement. It encourages individuals to take responsibility for their own lives and encourages them to explore new ways of thinking. It also allows individuals to develop healthier relationships with themselves as well as with others.

Person-centred counselling is a valuable tool which can provide individuals with the opportunity to achieve greater self-understanding and make changes in their lives in order to live more fulfilling lives.

It requires both patience and empathy on behalf of both client and counsellor in order for it to be successful, but when used correctly it can have profound effects on an individual’s life. Person-centred counselling encourages us all to be more accepting of ourselves as well as others; it enables us all to lead richer more meaningful lives through greater understanding of ourselves and our relationships with others.


Author Bio:

P. Cutler is a passionate writer and mental health advocate based in England, United Kingdom. With a deep understanding of therapy's impact on personal growth and emotional well-being, P. Cutler has dedicated their writing career to exploring and shedding light on all aspects of therapy.

Through their articles, they aim to promote awareness, provide valuable insights, and support individuals and trainees in their journey towards emotional healing and self-discovery.

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