My relationship with Person-Centred Counselling & Psychotherapy

Since training as a Person-Centred (PC) Experiential Counsellor & Psychotherapist, it has surprised me how misunderstood and under-appreciated the approach is.

I feel it is somehow regarded as a ‘base’ for other more ‘serious’ modalities, a starting point from which more ‘effective’ approaches or interventions must then be introduced. The depth and complexity of the person-centred approach (PCA) is too often dismissed, overlooked and ignored.

I want that to change.

I have started my career as a Counsellor at a time when there appears to be a shifting and ever-increasing focus on digitalised, short-term, manualised, target-driven approaches. The ‘Scope of Practice and Education’ (SCoPEd) framework appears to platform the psychoanalytical approach as a top-tier ambition. It’s preference for the more ‘medicalised’ approach to therapy is implicit in the framework. Furthermore, SCoPEd’s dismissiveness towards the person-centred approach is explicit in the shameful lack of representation of Person-Centred Therapists in the expert reference and technical group. There are 21 members of the technical and expert reference group and NONE of them are purely person-centred. 

At the time of its inception, person-centred theory challenged dominant psychotherapeutic discourse and practice, it was regarded as subversive and revolutionary. I believe it still is. Current developments in results driven, manualised therapy and frameworks like SCoPEd are regressive.

It leads to me to question how much people know, understand and appreciate about the person-centred approach. It isn’t just the ‘core-conditions,’ or a base from which to practice other modalities. It is a rich, complex, nuanced, progressive and revisionist paradigm which happens to have its own theory of personality development and psychological change.

I would like to share my knowledge of the approach much of which has been developed through the brilliant Masters degree in Person-Centred, Experiential Counselling & Psychotherapy at Liverpool John Moores University. The Lecturers taught me so much about the person-centred approach.

It has changed my life. The person-centred approach is so much more than ‘just the core conditions’.

Lisa Major MA PG Dip MNCPS Accred.

Sentio Psychotherapy Practice
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