This essay will consider the person-centred therapy (PCT) and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) models. Each of these approaches has application and efficacy for different situations but aspects of each model may also have drawbacks dependant upon the needs of the client and the setting in which the counselling takes place.
Essentially the PCT approach extends the core conditions of empathy (understanding), unconditional positive regard (warmth, respect and accepting), and congruence (genuineness or authenticity) to the client, facilitating change through therapy, in a reflective and non directive way the client’s exploration and harmonising of his or her emotional and personal issues that have arisen from their life’s experiences.
CBT, whilst offering understanding and acceptance explores and challenges the client’s cognitive experience of the world, linking cognitions to feelings and actively identifying ways of modifying his or her responses to life events.
The PCT approach was conceptualised by Dr Carl Ransom Rogers (1902-1987). The image of the person in this approach revolves around the idea that each individual innately strives towards self actualisation, in other words, to be the best that he or she can be, and they have the need to be loved and valued by others.
In order to work towards this all the experiences, emotion or conflict that an individual has should be internalised congruently, without distortion, thus allowing an honest (congruent) self concept to be developed. Having a true picture of his or her self worth rids the person of the tensions that arise from denied and distorted views of the world and the consequent dysfunctional actions and reactions to events which may result.
“At its heart, person-centred counselling is a relationship therapy. People with emotional ‘problems in living’ have been involved in relationships in which their experiencing was denied, defined or discounted by others.” (John McLeod 2008- ch6 p181).