Person-Centered Theory in Psychotherapy

Cooper, Mick and Di Malta, Gina (2023). Person-Centered Theory in Psychotherapy. In: Callahan, Jennifer ed. APA Handbook of Psychotherapy, Volume 1. American Psychological Association (In Press), pp. 71–90.



Today, the field of person-centered psychotherapy faces some important challenges and opportunities. Person-centered psychotherapy offers a radical, nonpathologizing view of human well-being and distress. It is a theory that starts with the client as an agentic whole and strives to create the conditions in which the client can optimize their psychological functioning. Person-centered psychotherapy, from its inception to the present day, is one of the main approaches within the field of humanistic psychotherapy. This chapter critically examines the development, and nature, of person-centered theory and clinical practice as a discrete approach to psychotherapy. It starts by discussing the development of Rogers's initial model of psychotherapy—generally termed the "classical client-centered" approach—and goes on to look at contemporary branches of the person-centered (or "person-centered and experiential") "tree". The chapter looks at the evidence base for person-centered psychotherapy, consider training and supervision issues, and concludes with a discussion of future directions.

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