Much of therapy is taken from the medical model. There is a person who needs help fixing a problem. There is an expert who fixes those sorts of problems. The two get together, and the problem is fixed by the expert.
Person centered therapy is a bit different. Inherent in client centered therapy is the idea that a person is more often then not capable of healing him or herself. The only thing the expert – the therapist – needs to do is provide the proper environment in which this can be done.
Now a person may hear that and be skeptical. After all, they’re not experts and if they knew how to solve their problem, they wouldn’t be going to a therapist in the first place.
Perhaps there is a better way of describing the process. The mind has a way of solving its own problems, of healing on its own, of coming to terms with the reality of the world. Only this process is too often interrupted in modern life. Life is congested, distracting and exhausting. The mind works its problems out best by talking them through. Everyone has felt better after letting it all out. But deeper problems can be difficult to share with other people, even those that mean well. Too often the person listening offers well meaning advice or judgements, which derail the process. The mind heals its self best when left to explore its problems on its own, not having to take into account too much direction from another.
In person-centered-therapy, the counselor refrains from adding advice to the process. Rather the counselor provides a judgement free setting, full of unconditional positive regard. The client is not approved of or disapproved of, rather what they say is accepted unconditionally by the counselor. This is a fertile setting for the mind to heal by its own natural processes.
Many people can be put off by therapy because they don’t want to face the judgement, real or perceived from the therapist. Some may also bristle at the thought of the therapist uncovering dark memories or suggesting terms of treatment they are not comfortable with. Neither are outcomes to be expected with person-centered therapy. In PCT, the therapist does not supply answers or prod the client to go places they may not want to go.