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This paper seeks to look into the many different aspects and attributes of a counselling relationship from person-centered approach. It also seeks to look into the self actualization from Roger’s point of view. The paper will adopt a non directive approach, outline and discuss the necessary conditions and the theory of human development as seen by Rogers.

What is a Personal Centered Approach?

The personal centered approach is an approach that was developed and initiated by Carl Rogers, a psychologist. Rogers proposed many humanistic reviews and approach to counselling. According to Rogers, if there is a safe psychological environment, this would cause people to move towards better potential fulfillments and greater awareness of the same. From Rogers’ point of view, potentials are a product that is inside or within all human beings. In this regard, he believed that every human being has a sociable potential which craves or desires to be around other people. The sociable potential also craves and desires to be part of other people’s life and be known by them. Rogers also believed that human beings also had the potential of being trustworthy and trusted. Rogers other believe focuses on the compassion and creativity of human beings. He believed that every human being had the potential of being compassionate and creative in nature. He also believed that every human being had the potential of being open to experiences and being curious about life and the world in general.

Self Actualization – Primary from Rogers’s Point of View

Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987) is a central figure on the orientation of humanistic approach. According to Rogers, self actualization is a very natural process that requires care and nurturing from the person concerned. However, this approach contradicts Rogers’s theory on other attributes. In this case, if self actualization is simply a natural process then he proves his theory wrong when he suggests that for it to occur, it must be nurtured by the caregiver. Carl Rogers in his defense suggests and claims that human beings need other human beings radically for human existence and thus terms it as individuation separation. The individuation separation involves mature and different relationship with others rather than apart from lack of the same or interdependence with other people. According to Rogers, this adopts an “unconditional positive regard’’ that is very important and necessary in self actualization. This is to say that a healthy human growth and development requires the experience of being valued to the extent of adopting specific behaviors that may or may not be approved. In this case, conditional positive regard means worthiness, conditions or worth which may lead to separation from true feelings and thus invite threat and anxiety which can block or limit self actualization.

From this approach Rogers recognized that changes can appear from relationships through experience. He also suggested conditions that govern therapeutic relationship. These conditions include genuineness, acceptance and understanding. Genuineness entails and means that a therapist should not only be aware of their feelings but also be willing to express their feelings regardless of whether the feelings are negative or positive. Similarly, acceptance generally encompasses the willingness to create a relationship which would or could help the client or be of good use to the client. On the other hand, understanding generally entails and involves the extent to which the therapist has a continued desire to understand the feelings of the client.

Core Self and Concept of Self

According to Saul McLeod, 2008, the proposed therapy by Rogers would have been warmer, simpler and optimistic if it was done by or carried out by professional psychodynamic psychologist. McLeod suggests that Rogers’ views differ from the behavioral approaches of psychodynamic aspects which focus on the subjective understanding of the same. According to Rogers the concept of self is simply the organization, the consistency to a set of perceptions of one’s own beliefs. In this view, self concept is characterized by values and ideas of the person involved (“what can I do?”, “What can I do?”) This concept takes a center stage in the total influences and experiences that in a particular person’s perception of the world and perception of themselves. However, this does not mean that this concept fits with reality but that the way others see us is different from the way we see ourselves. On the other hand, core self or person centered therapy focuses on deliberate changes from the behavior changes and psychoanalysis. In this case the individual rationally and consciously makes a decision on what is right or wrong and the solution of the problem. In this case, techniques such as listening, understanding, sharing are used in an attitude oriented method rather that a skill oriented method. The core self is a state of incongruence. This means that every person is generally a “potentially competent individual”. The interaction of the two concepts focuses on the total and full functioning of the self and the person. In this regards, the individual is free and open to all the experiences that enable the individuals to live freely, trust themselves, and express their feelings freely, conduct themselves in an independent manner in order to live creative and richer lives. It is important to note that according to Rogers, most people who do not have an independent childhood have the hope of change towards development of psychological maturity through therapy. The therapy helps to dissolve or finish all the aspects of worth and help the individual to adopt and achieve a “self” experience. This will help to restore the value process. There are many empirical support points core self and core concept that help an individual to adopt better personality adjustments by becoming less defensive. Many researchers have supported the concept of change in self concept after therapy. However, it has been noted that self descriptions are more associated to the ideals after counseling.

Non Directive Counselling

Non directive counselling is a technique or a method that allows a person who is going through emotional turmoil to talk about the problems they are facing and try to resolve these problems through the direction given by the counselor. According to Rogers, all human beings have an ability and motivation to change in order to be “self actualized” and better persons. The non directive counselling encourages the individuals to be comfortable and express their feelings in order to find a solution to the underlying problem. There are five basic individual responses in non directive counselling. These responses include reflection, clarification, leading statement or question, summarization and questioning.

Reflection entails the use of the exact term as used by the individual. It involves repetition of the individuals comment. The main aim of this approach is to reflect on the individuals listening capability and encourage or promote more commentary. Clarification, on the other hand, entails stating of certain feelings especially implied feelings of the individual’s verbal communication. This kind or type of clarification helps to know and identify with what they are feeling. Summarization is what has already been discussed. It entails and allows both the individual and the counselor to reflect on the events that have occurred during the session. Question is a wide response that uses the opening questioning system or the closing questioning system. It aims to brief and obtain more specific information. Leading statement or question encourages the individual to explain on a topic in order to find a solution to the specific problem.

The non directive approach according to Rogers helps the individuals to resolve conflicts and inner feelings that may increase undesirable behavior. This technique is also very important because it allows the individual to reason and seek or try to find a solution to the prevailing problems. This technique is also very useful to lower level intelligence students who have language and speech problems that are difficult to comprehend and understand. The big question is how to use and apply non directive counselling. Well, the first step is to identify the responses. The second step is to provide reflective responses on specific remarks. The next step is to provide clarification on the responses among many other steps and aspects in the counselling sessions.

The Necessary Conditions of a Centered Approach

According to Carl Rogers, an individual realizes self actualization through unconditional positive experiences of having received unconditional positive regard from other persons. This unconditional positive regard decreases the condition of self worth and increases the unconditional self regard. Rogers suggests six necessary conditions that are sufficient in impersonality therapeutic change. The necessary conditions include;

  • Psychology contact of more than two persons
  • One party being in a state of congruence
  • One person being in a state of incongruence
  • Unconditional positive regard expression by the therapist to the client
  • Accurate empathy expression by the therapist for the client
  • The experiences of the client.

According to Rogers, these are the most important ingredients that will ensure that the individual has the freedom to live a good life.

Theory of Human Development

According to Rogers, human development or personality development is what constitutes a person. This theory is based on prepositions that are centered on the concept of self. Rogers suggests that when a child is born, the child is presented with a concept of self. This concept develops and grows as the child increases in age. It is important to note that the self concept totally encompasses the organization, complexity and the dynamics on attitudes, opinions and believes which are a sign of every person’s or individuals existence.

This theory is also centered and emphasized in the concept of self actualization. This simply means that the biological force that helps to develop a person’s talent and capacity fully. However, motivation is required in order to grow and learn. In addition, growth can only be successful and healthy if the individual confronts all their problems, try to develop and create new aspects and skills in their lives and if the individual can view life in a different perspective. Rogers claims that humans are like a seaweed “that has a tenancy to life, the forward thrust of life, and the ability to push into an incredible hostile environment and not hold on their own but be able to adopt, develop and become themselves”. 

Equity When Working with a Person Centered Perspective

In my personal view, working with differences and diversifications from a personal centered perspective must emphasize on my dignity, freedom and my potential as a human being. In this way, I will be able to advocate for the methods that will be for the better of other people as well. The first step is to achieve an optimal level of myself perception. In this case, I would have to follow the principals of equity to the later. These principals according to Martin Buber (1978) include theory of value, theory of knowledge, theory of human mature, theory of learning, theory of transmission, theory of society, theory of opportunity and consensus. The theory value entails the theory of self. It emphasizes on the freedom that helps a person to realize and the freedom to actualize life in general. On the other hand, the theory of knowledge entails the reality of relations, the value of life and how the person perceives the knowledge. The theory of human nature focuses on the limitations and potentials of a person at a certain time. It also focuses on the acceptance of refusal of a matter by an individual. The theory of learning entails the journey and the attempts to deal with reality. It explores the teaching learning process that an individual has to go through in the course life. Theory of society entails the relationship between an individual and the community of the society. Theory of opportunity entails and explores the tasks that are performed by every person and the opportunities that are realized because of these tasks. The theory of consensus tries to explain why people disagree. It focuses on the thought, speech and actions taken by persons to avoid or to settle conflicts amongst themselves.  

Self Evaluation

This work has influenced me a lot. It has opened my eyes to many different aspects and attributes in relation to a person centered approach. I have learned about the importance of self value, self believes and self actualizations. This concept clearly states that I have the ability and the motivation to change my life. This self drive can help me to look at life differently and live freely. 


This paper has outlined and discussed the counselling relationship from a person centered approach. It has touched on the self actualization view points, core self and concept of self. This pare has also focused on a non directive counselling approach and has outlined the necessary conditions for the same. The paper has discussed equity as a way of working with differences and diversity from a person centered perspective.


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