Counselling Theory Person-Centred Approach

Person-Centred Approach

Between 1940 and the early 1950s the Person-Centred Approach was developed by Carl Rogers, who was
notably a co-founder of the humanistic psychology movement, along with Abraham Maslow and Rollo May. Each
of the co-founders contributed greatly to the movement, inspiring and educating future psychologists and
counselling therapists in their approaches and studies that were in addition to the pre-defined theories made in
earlier years, by people such as Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939) with the theory of Psychoanalysis. Somewhat
small changes made by Rogers had major impacts on the success of the Person-Centred Approach, things such
as calling people ‘clients’ rather than ‘patients’ and showing empathy.
Maslow, for example, believed that a person could not reach their absolute potential if they did not have all of
their needs fulfilled. This is demonstrated in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, represented below, where Maslow
states that we are motivated to achieve our needs and that every person has the capability to do so and to move
up the hierarchy of needs until self-actualisation is reached. However, we can move up and down this hierarchy
depending on failure or success of lower level needs being met – this can be due to a change in personal
circumstance, thus leading to a loss or gain of shelter, food or security etc… This theory emphasises the motive
to grow and help ourselves, reaching self-actualisation that other psychological methods, such as Psychoanalysis
and the behavioural approach, did not support. Although Maslow’s theories did not turn into a therapeutic model,
Carl Rogers’ theory transferred completely into an applied therapy model and his philosophy significantly
influenced and contributed to psychology and counselling globally, often referred to as radical or revolutionary in
its theory and achievements.

[Abraham Maslow, Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, 1943]
Rogers was born in 1902 in Illinois, America....