Person-Centered Therapy

Write a 4 pages word analysis of person-centered counseling which fully explores the following categories:

  • What makes person-centered counseling an effective approach for clients with a wide range of presenting issues?
  • Describe the importance of genuineness being present in the counselor. How can a counselor maintain this quality with clients they may disagree with?
  • From a person-centered perspective, describe the role of empathy in assisting clients through a successful therapy process. How would a counselor balance the necessity of holding clients accountable with certain issues while still aiming to present a feeling of empathy during their interactions?
  • What is unconditional positive regard, and why is it important to the therapeutic environment? What are some strategies a counselor can use to help show this quality in their work with their clients?
  • How have person-centered therapy qualities helped to form key principles of the ACA Code of Ethics? Provide three examples in your discussion.

Include at least six scholarly references beyond the textbook in your analysis.

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Each response to the assignment prompts should be addressed under a separate heading in your paper. Refer to “Headings” in Class Resources for help in formatting the headings.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.

This assignment is informed by the following CACREP Standard: 

Theories and models of counseling.


Sample Answer


Person-Centered Therapy

Person-centered therapy essentially focuses on all the needs of a specific client. This form of therapy is the best for someone with many different needs because it believes that every individual is different and has a different perception of their world. Therefore, developing their solutions should be trusted (Raskin & Rogers, 2005). This form of therapy is suitable for clients with a wide range of issues. These issues include trauma recovery, eating disorders, stress management, depression, personality disorders, panic attacks, phobias, or relationship issues. In such situations, person-centered therapy is beneficial because it assists clients in coming to terms with their feelings in a self-compassionate and deeply healing manner. This integration and processing of experiences and emotions are fundamental in helping patients advance towards their goals in life. In addition, through this form of therapy, clients can learn how to cope with the issues they present and handle them when they re-occur in the future (Cepeda & Davenport, 2006).

The essence of Genuineness for Counsellors

“Genuineness in counseling is a moral ideal that stems from humanistic and existentialistic therapies” (Schnellbacher & Leijssen, 2009). Genuineness, or sincerity, is one of the counselors’ core values. A good therapist should be genuine and authentic to their clients. A counselor becomes a model for patients through authenticity by encouraging them to be their true authentic selves by expressing their deepest feelings. Moreover, genuineness is essential in the therapeutic triad sine it improves communication between the client and the counselor. When patients feel as though the counselor is sincerely genuine and authentic, they are more likely to express everything they are going through. It makes them more open to actual therapists just like them, who may have experienced some of their encounters.

When such a case happens, clients tend to be more comfortable opening up because they know that they will not be judged under any circumstance. The more genuine a counselor is, the more likely they are to forge a stronger bond with clients than when they put up a professional façade or front in front of the client. Through authenticity, a counselor can explore their perspectives of the issues faced by their client, which essentially gives them a broader comprehension of the matter. One of the essential facets of authenticity is self-disclosure. This entails being able to own up to one’s mistakes even as a counselor and being entirely honest to their client about their progress and the process of therapy (Schnellbacher & Leijssen, 2009). Counselors must embody the counseling profession as authentically as possible.

For a counselor, guiding a client through the therapy process may be pretty challenging. However, this process may be made much more complicated if the client in question is one whom the counselor does not like. In such a case, genuineness is essential. Therefore, the counselor must genuinely express their feelings regarding the cause of the dislike. For example, if a client is too aggressive, thereby leading to the counselor disliking them, the counselor should explore the experience of dislike. Engaging the client openly and genuinely is one of the best ways of handling such a situation. For example, the counselor may raise the issue with the client during therapy to also understand where the client is coming from and how to deal with the aggression.

Role of Empathy in the Counselling Process

Empathy is one of the critical components that facilitate therapy and is also an essential element in the therapeutic process. “A therapeutic alliance involves the therapist and client agreeing on the goals of therapy, collaborating on the specific tasks to be achieved, and sharing an effective bond” (Hougaard, 1994). During counseling, empathy allows counselors to forge a robust therapeutic alliance with clients through the apprehension of the goals and perspectives of a client and comprehension of their preferences and unique personality styles. It also enables counselors to respond to patients to facilitate trust and non-defensiveness from the client. A counselor can showcase an in-the-moment comprehension of their client’s perspective through empathy. This then enables them to modify their voice and form of communication accordingly. Additionally, it allows them to offer feedback that aids the client in explaining, clarifying, and exploring their experiences and feelings.

Most counselors believe that empathy and accountability are endpoints on a single dimension. However, this is not true since a counselor can empathize with a client while at the same time holding them accountable. Counselors can put themselves in a patient’s shoes and offer periodic feedback regarding the therapy process. Empathy creates a strong bond between counselors and their clients, making it easier to hold the patient accountable.

Importance of Unconditional Positive Regard in the Therapeutic Process

Unconditional positive regard is the process of showing compassion to individuals even though they have made mistakes in the past. For example, a therapist may offer compassion to clients who have lied at work or gambled their savings. Simply put, it is the process of responding with understanding instead of contempt. It facilitates the therapeutic process by helping clients explore their experiences and feelings. By hearing themselves vocalize certain personal elements or experiences, they become more accepting of themselves. Every individual is born with an inherent possibility and capacity to develop.

Therefore, when a counselor demonstrates unconditional positive regard for a client, the client will feel as though they have someone who believes in them and their ability to become better. This is what essentially creates the conditions required to implement a change. Counselors can demonstrate unconditional positive regard in many ways. For example, the counselor can become more accepting of the beliefs, opinions, and views of the clients care and nurture their clients while remaining sensitive and conscious to their needs (Wilkins, 2000). It is also imperative to respect the client as a fellow human regardless of past mistakes and be impartial and non-judgmental.

ACA Code of Ethics and Principles of Person-Centered Theory

The central concepts of the American Counselling Association code of ethics are extensively based on person-centered theory, which Carl Rogers postulated. The ACA Code of ethics came up with a code of ethics aimed at protecting the dignity and rights of their client in the therapeutic process. First, the principle-guided code of ethics encompasses eight sections that elucidate different subject matters: reporting accurate results, non-discrimination, privacy and confidentiality, imposition of values and averting harm, freedom to withdraw from therapy, and informed consent. When put into a deeper perspective, these are the ethics championed by the person-centered approach. The second example is the “beneficence or working for the good of the individual by society by promoting mental health and well-being” (Ponton & Duba, 2009). The third example is in section G of the ACA Code of Ethics where person-centered principles comprehensively analyze the role of a counselor inaccurately reporting therapy results (Ponton & Duba, 2009). Under this section, counselors are advised not to withhold any unfavorable results or information. This aspect is similar to that of “genuineness,” which is part of the person-centered approach proposed by Carl Rogers.


Cepeda M., & Davenport S. (2006). Person-centred therapy and solution-focused brief therapy: An integration of present and future awareness. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 43(1), 1.

Hougaard E. (1994). The therapeutic alliance–A conceptual analysis. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 35(1), 67-85.

Ponton F., & Duba D. (2009). The ACA Code of Ethics: Articulating counseling’s professional covenant. Journal of Counselling & Development, 87(1), 117-121.

Raskin J., & Rogers R. (2005). Person-centered therapy.

Schnellbacher J., & Leijssen M. (2009). The significance of therapist genuineness from the client’s perspective. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 49(2), 207-228.

Wilkins P. (2000). Unconditional positive regard reconsidered. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 28(1), 23-36.

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