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Psychology 101: Carl Rogers, Best Rogerian Client Centered Therapy - Information And Theory For You!

Updated on March 13, 2015

Patient Centred Approach

So, are you looking for the best Rogerian client centered therapy information? Well, you have come to the right place with this Psychology 101 article.

Here we will discuss what client-centered therapy is, how it came to be and what are its uses.

The article is structured around Rogerian Theory and was formulated on the basis of psychotherapy.

Client centered therapy is also termed person centered therapy, or patient centred approach to that therapy, and the methods or approach has been developed from these terms.

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It is through these terms that counselling has been developed and is used in a world wide sense. Before we continue, please refresh yourself on the following definition.

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Psychology Definition

As this is a psychology 101 based article, as always, we will start by providing a ‘working definition’ of psychology as a term:

‘Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour of humans and animals.’

Psychologists concentrate on what is observable and measurable in a person’s behaviour. This includes the biological processes in the body, although, the mind is central to the subject.

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Rogerian Theory & The Role Of The Mother

  • Rogers thought that the role of the mother was a crucial factor in developing an adult personality.

  • He felt that a healthy personality derives from unconditional love or ‘positive regard’.

  • Without ‘positive regard’, this could stunt and limit the development of the self. This limiting he termed as ‘Conditional Positive Regard’.

What is Client Centered Therapy and How Did It Come Into Be?

Client centered therapy originally came into being via a theory developed by Carl Rogers. This theory shares common ideas from Abraham Maslow’s theory on ‘Self Actualization’. If you want to read more on this please click for the article ‘Psychology 101: What Makes People Happy?

Roger’s theory, similarly with Maslow's ideas, also emphasised an innate desire towards achieving the best one can be. To fulfil one’s potential, therefore, brings upon a level of satisfaction that leads to self-actualisation.

Carl Rogers’s theory, however, had subtle differences in that he suggested that the process of self-actualisation was an ongoing process or a self-actualising one. It is from this that he developed a form of psychotherapy called Person Centred Therapy or, now commonly known as, Client Centered Therapy.

The client, unlike a patient, is not in a passive role in his attempt at improving his life. He is essentially responsible and an active participant.

Rogerian Therapy symbolised a changing attitude in therapy at the time. Prior to Client Centered Therapy, Psychoanalytic, Behaviourist and conventional medicine approaches; were formed on the basis of ‘mother knows best’. There is a ‘diagnosis’ by a ‘Doctor’ and ‘treatment’ given, thereof. The onus, therefore, with Rogerian Therapy, makes the client responsible for his or her own changes in behaviour and perception. The therapist role, therefore, is the enabler and empowerer, rather than the controller.

Client Centered Therapy is about counselling where both the client and the therapist’s relationships are based on equality. They work in partnership, toward developing skills, identifying all things relevant and important to the client so he can realise a process of achieving his potential or self actualising this potential. The therapist, therefore, is there as a guide whilst the client must consciously and rationally decide for himself what is wrong and what should be done about it.

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What Makes a Psychologically Healthy Person?

Carl Rogers (1961) believed that a psychologically healthy person has:

  • Freedom of thought and action

  • Openness to all experience – will try pretty much anything.

  • Ability to live every moment of every day fully – to take on the challenge of life and to immerse themselves in it.

  • The willingness to follow their instincts, rather than that of others – this is about confidence.

  • Much creativity and the ability to express this.

It is all about me!

Yep... it is all about me! As this sub-heading suggests, Rogers emphasized the role of 'the me' or Self Concept. This he broke down into three parts:

  • The Ideal Self – How we would like to see ourselves.

  • Self Image – How we actually perceive ourselves.

  • Self Esteem – How we feel about ourselves

He believed that self-esteem is dependant on the gap between Ideal Self and Self-image. To increase Self Esteem, therefore, can be achieved by raising Self Image, lowering the perception of the Ideal Self, or both. This is about a balance in people’s perception in an attempt to produce a ‘feel good factor’ that leads to well being.

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Group Therapy

Person Centred Approach: It's Uses

Rogers’ approach has had a major impact on psychotherapy and on ‘self-improvement’ methods. This humanistic approach to self-actualising, has been adopted all over the world and has improved the lives of many people. This approach in client-centered therapy has had a major impact in society today. Person Centred approach is used with drug therapy, alcoholism, family therapies, counselling, health and social services practices and procedures.

However, as a word of warning, many charlatans have tried to jump on the bandwagon of tapping into human potential. This can do more harm than good and, as a criticism; there is still no strong scientific theory or research to strongly back this idea as a ‘school’ of thought.

Now, here I can recommend two fantastic books that will help you with a greater understanding of Client Centered Therapy. The first one - On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy (Paperback) - is from Carl Rogers himself. There is no charlatan here! It is a book based on his theory. It could help you understand methods of therapies and your road to either helping yourself and others.

'Client-Centered Therapy and the Person-Centered Approach: New Directions in Theory, Research, and Practice' has direct and revised ideas of Rogers and are of interest to Family Psychologists, Family Therapists and graduate students. If it is good enough reading for them, then it is good enough reading for anyone. Again, this cuts the charlatan from the truth.

Please feel free to click on both the Amazon links to view more and see the marvellous reviews from people who have already had the benefit from these books.

If you want to empower yourself and teach yourself mechanisms that will help you to reach your full potential, thereby, achieving happiness, these books can help you there.

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Psychology 101: Conclusion

We hope that this Psychology 101 has covered all you needed to know about client centered therapy and that this article has been useful to you. In order for people to become happier and more fulfilled in life, we all need to be empowered so as we can be our best. Carl Rogers has become a major contributor in this field of psychology and has helped to make people’s lives better. This simple person centred approach to self actualization has become an integral part of society, which we all take for granted today.

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License


Use This Psychology 101 article at your own risk. This Psychology article does not give medical or psychological advice, neither does it give legal opinions and advice.  Any action or outcome that may result from this article is the sole responsibility of the reader.  This article is assumes no responsibility or legal claim against it.


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    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Great Britain

      Truthinaging, I am grateful to your comment. Your chosen avatar name makes me think of something someone said once: "You only know the age of someone when they open their mouth".. hope you like this :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you so much for that hub! Psychology was always one of my favorite subjects way back in college. It really opened my eyes up to new thinking-- its amazing what new perspectives you will view the world in when you understand clearly how and why people think, interpret and react the way they do

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Bacs.. i dont know what you are referring to, this is the first communication I have had from you.

    • Bacs O'Bannon profile image

      Bacs O'Bannon 

      10 years ago

      I guess your silence means, "no".

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Justine .. it is about getting a realistic view of oneself and valueing it. The amount of adjustment is down to individual need and assessment thereof. Some people have a lower perceptional value of themselves, others a higher. Example... an anorexic might see themselves as fat in the mirror, even though he/she is 4 stone 3. Adjust the individual perception, then the realistic perspective may come into play, therefore, reducing the effects of anorexia and the weight may gain.

      I hope you can see what is meant by individual assessment in this.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      "To increase Self Esteem, therefore, can be achieved by raising Self Image, lowering the perception of the Ideal Self, or both" hmmmmm lowering the perception of the ideal self as a means to improved self esteem. Very interesting!

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Great Rafini....:) You might see some core themes running through these! *wink* Looking forward to the next challenge!!

    • Rafini profile image


      10 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      Morning Shazwellyn :)

      I see what you mean. :):) I also think I misunderstood a bit - I had the idea this approach was similar to Maslows in terms of being Psychologically Healthy stemmed from Mothers Love only. (as in hierarchy of needs begins at birth - because it would have to otherwise it couldn't exist, according to what the needs are)

      So...I also didn't realize these Healthy Psychological behaviors were the expected outcome of the therapy - I guess thats kinda obvious, lol, since I was thinking about it in terms of from birth.

      LOL - Yes, I get the idea of confidence. :) I actually think it's kinda funny, too, in a way. I always knew I had confidence to challenge what I didn't believe, or whatever, but seriously didn't think it showed!!! (most people I've known consider me to be highly argumentative about it, when, honestly, all I'm trying to do is either understand or get them to understand) Right now I'm guessing this is what caused me a lot of trouble when I was growing up!! LOL (My mom absolutely HATED my independence and ability to think for myself, yet knowing this I continued to be myself LOL)

      Okay, so now I understand why there are some people I know who aren't creative. lol Unless you want to consider creating a mess of their lives to be creative?

      Uh-oh. Social welfare hubs? LOL Then again, I think I'm looking forward to it! lol

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Salt... you have to be very careful with Drs.. they have egos too! They also have the power so tread carefully my friend.

      Watch out for my social welfare programs series. You might get something more out of these.. it is about empowerment. Medical Doctors have a different approach than psychologist Drs, generally speaking. The approach from the school of Rogers is more 'How can I help you to help yourself', rather than 'mother knows best... here are some meds, take 3 times a day' etc. This is a generalisation, however. I happen to have a good GP who says, 'What would you like me to do to help you' and then.. just.. does it!

      Unfortunately, you have to manage them by identifying how you can get the best from the Doctor, rather than being a passive or aggressive participant in health care. The ideal is PARTNERSHIP in health care. Saying things like 'You are Doctor and I value your advice, what is your view on doing (action) it this way?'.

      I dont know your situation, and I am not qualified to advise, this is just a thought:)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Billyaustin... thank you and it is great to debate such discussions.. I love responses that can help others to grow too. We can learn from other people's experiences too :)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      I always love your visits Rafini!

      Good point about the open to new experiences. Im glad you highlighted that. I think the point is to be open to new experiences that might challenge the client, not one that would lead to addiction... good one though Rafini!

      Free thought and action... Roger's was talking about this in the context of the interaction exchange between client and therapist. I must say that the statement you have made is evidence that the councilling that you had helped you to identify where problems emanated from. You have identified that the problems came from the situation (i.e. school) and not from home life (i.e. mother). The therapy you had comes from the foundations to Roger's person centred approach and the therapist had lead you to explore the relationship with mother to help you help yourself. Does that make sense?

      The willingness to follow instincts rather than others... I think this is more to do with knowing yourself and making choices that is right for your rather than follow others. The confidence comes in the ability to say 'no... this is the way I want to go'- whether this decision is right or wrong it is the confidence to do it because it feels right.

      You are confident Rafini... for example, with conviction, you challenge theories in these debates. You didn't do 'good hub, thanks', you challenged the thoughts. This is an example of above. You had the confidence to do this, by your own instincts, and not follow others. Hope you can see my point here.

      Creativity? Not everyone has a creative personality... umm creativity, define creativity? (a whole new hub, me thinks!) I wrote the article on 'what is intelligence'. Now there are other forms of intelligence that have been measured by other psychologists.. this is about creative intelligence. To be creative comes in different guises... some people are creative painters, graphic designers (cant paint but great at designing a webpage, for example), creative in words - writers (whether articles or stories, still creative), have an eye for interior design.. still creative.. think in terms of perceiving others creativity differently.. still creative.

      So, it is about the opportunity to explore new experiences, to be creative from those experiences and to grow reaching ones full potential.

      I like you Rafini and I think you are doing really well. You are, indeed, psychologically healthy! Watch out for my social welfare programs! Give you more to bite into!! lol :)

    • salt profile image


      10 years ago from australia

      thankyou, you really have given me a stepping stone for what has been going on lately, with someone, their dr and who thinks they know best.. and the ideals of potential, when we did alot of hard yards at home, the dr comes in and says it was somehow my fault that we had a fallout with his past dr, somehow my fault that his medication was at a level set by their treatment team, incorrect.. and somehow all his knowledge that solved the problem. Seems to me a bit of it might have been some of the noise I made to politicans, hospitals, member groups and just about anyone whose ear I could get.. the difference is though if they really can see potential that is achievable.. good on them, if they mismanage that potential and the patient has a blow out, hope they will go to prison or hospital with them..umm food for thought.

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent hub and thought provoking with some interesting comments also

    • Rafini profile image


      10 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

      Okay, I made it back. :)

      Is this the hub you were referring to? It's rather calm for me. LOL I don't have many strong issues with it, except to say I have been through counseling/therapy and I wasn't aware of the 'client responsibility' and equality. However, looking back on it, it does make sense. Meaning, I can see it's true. Maybe I needed the help to the point of not grasping the concept or I wasn't informed. Whichever the case, it did help.

      I have minor issues, though. (you knew I would, right? lol)

      As for being open to new experiences and trying anything - I don't see that, necessarily, as being healthy. Some things, yes, but not most things. Trying drugs isn't healthy, but taking some risks in life are. (so it comes down to individuality in choices of experiences)

      Free thought and action - I have to refer to myself here. I felt free to be around my mother, but felt inhibited by schoolmates. I believe my early school experiences had more influence in this area than my mother. Not exactly what Rogers determined.

      The willingness to follow instincts rather than others - This sounds to me like it's mixing the leader/follower personallity with following instincts, and I don't feel either has a full bearing on confidence.

      Creativity? Not everyone has a creative personality. Personality is not determined by mother, it's determined by nature and (hopefully) nurtured by life experiences.

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you Ann. I hope it explains some foundations to how our health and social welfare services are structured from:)

    • Ann Nonymous profile image

      Ann Nonymous 

      10 years ago from Virginia

      Hi Shaz! Very interesting hub series you have going! Psych was never so "fun!"

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Enlydia - Im glad you liked it and hope it has been helpful:)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Deborah.. thanks for your comment. It is only the perception of the person concerned that is important. The idea about Rogers theory is that the therapist is an active participant in the patient's journey to self. Psychologically healthy? That is the perspective of the individual and not the onlooker.

      Good input though:)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Thank you Mike - I have enjoyed writing them. It is always good to have a seal of approval from you:)

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 

      10 years ago from trailer in the country

      that was a good read

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Reno 

      10 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Good Series, I am concerned however, after reading your list of what makes a psychologically healthy person. I'm not sure I know too many!


    • Mike Lickteig profile image

      Mike Lickteig 

      10 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

      Nice article as always. It was a breakthrough to bring psychology to a "partnership" stage and make clients responsible for their own well-being. That's where we have to end up, anyway--right?

      Very informative and I am enjoying your psychology series a lot.


    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Thanks Cosette! Being born sane? Who is sane? lol... no, we wont go onto the nature nurture debate just now....

      great that you were empowered and you could implement what you learned effectively.

      Thanks Cosette :)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Tony... what a pleasure and an honour to have heard the amazing Carl Rogers speak! Wow! He was really a pioneer in modern principals of therapy. Awesome! :)

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      hey, whatya know - i'm sane! :D awesome hub. while i did learn different schools of thought in college, i never consciously thought about them when raising my son but i see i did embrace a lot of the Rogerian ideals and because of that i raised a 'psychologically healthy person'. he has always been super confident and blazed his own trail, even in preschool, hee hee. i think he was born confident ;)

      rating this UP.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      10 years ago from South Africa

      Wonderful Hub about a most important subject. I am a firm believer in the Rogerian principles and had the immense good fortune to attend an afternoon workshop run by Rogers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg back in the late 1980s. It was an awesome experience. He was just incredible.

      Thanks for this great Hub.

      Love and peace


    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Lorlie.. Im glad you are enjoying the series. Thanks for popping by:)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Pretty.. The only person that can help themselves is themselves. Thanks for visiting :)

    • shazwellyn profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Wavegirl... Thanks for popping by ... much appreciated:)

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 

      10 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Rogers was such a pioneer! Thanks for your concise and beautifully researched series on Psychology, shazwellyn.

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      10 years ago from US

      this one is a new concept of trying to look at your ownself, not one in which it is centered on the therapist. Good job and I am lifting you up Shaz, Maita

    • wavegirl22 profile image


      10 years ago from New York, NY

      Shaz - I am loving your Pysch series! And I must compliment you on your pretty breaks in the Hub they look terrific . . Excellent Hub with such good info and a great layout to boot! You go girl:) Thumbs up big time!!!!


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