Person Centred Counselling
The person centred approach to counselling is really simple; the theory is that people have much in common with plants, which is to say they can only thrive in the right conditions.
So we know that to enable a plant to reach it's full potential as per the picture of the tree on this page, we have to water it, and ensure it has plenty of light, warmth and food, and that if we fail to provide this, or fail to supply enough, it will be at best stunted.
Person centred counselling says that people are very similar; given love and affection, compassion, praise, constructive feedback and guided to develop a healthy view of themselves and the world, they can develop into psychologically healthy adults, provided they have the freedom to do so.
Denied these things, or having them supplied intermittently or inconsistently, much like the plant, we will grow, but we will likely experience problems in living to our full potential and experience difficulties relating to others, which of course for humans is a key consideration if we are to live the good life.
So the aim of the person centred counsellor is to provide empathy and compassion, to be non judgemental, and to be genuine, i.e authentic and real with the client. And that when the counsellor provides these 'core conditions' the client will be enabled to experience personal growth.
This growth is movement away from the 'false self, towards the 'true self'. The false self is the person we have had to adapt to being to please others; perhaps quiet and withdrawn, obedient, or perhaps aggressive and destructive. Humans are brilliant at adapting in order to survive; usually in the context of childhood, to meet our parents or society's expectations, but an abusive relationship in adulthood can have a similar affect. The true self is the self we wish we could be if we didn't have to live by other people's rules and expectations. The true self might choose a different career, be kinder to others or be able to dance like nobody's watching.
Person centred counselling is not a quick fix, although I have worked with clients who have benefited from eight, six and even one, session. But the beauty of it is that it does not seek to fix what is perceived to be 'wrong' with the client, nor to diagnose them, but rather it gives them the freedom within the safe therapeutic space to explore themselves and to move closer towards their 'true self'.