Client-centered therapy, which is also known as person-centered, non-directive, or Rogerian therapy, is a counseling approach that requires the client to take an active role in his or her treatment with the therapist being nondirective and supportive. In client-centered therapy, the client determines the course and direction of treatment while the therapist clarifies the client’s responses to promote self-understanding.
The goals of client-centered therapy are increased self-esteem and openness to experience. Client-centered therapists work to help client lead full lives of self-understanding, reduction in defensiveness, guilt, and insecurity as well as more positive and comfortable relationships with others and an increased capacity to experience and express their feelings.
Client-centered therapy was developed in the 1930s by the American psychologist Carl Rogers. Rogers was a humanistic psychologist who believed how we live in the here-and-now and our current perceptions are more important than the past. He also believed a close personal relationship with a supportive environment of warmth, genuineness, and understanding is key for therapeutic change. Rogers believed people are capable of self-healing and personal growth, which leads to self-actualization. Self-actualization refers to the tendency of all human beings to move forward, grow, and reach their full potential. Rogers believed self-actualization is hindered by negative, unhealthy attitudes about the self.