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Client-Centered Therapy What Is It?

Client-centered therapy is a therapeutic approach that was introduced in the 1940s by an American  psychologist named Carl Rogers.

As its name implies, client-centered therapy places significant focus on the client. According to Rogers’s view of client-centered therapy, the client-centered therapist refrains from asking questions, making diagnoses, providing reassurance, or assigning blame during his or her interactions with the client.

According to a client-centered therapy article in the Harvard Mental Health Letter, “The [client-centered] therapist must create an atmosphere in which clients can communicate their feelings with certainty that they are being understood rather than judged.”

A core tenet of client-centered therapy is that people are inclined to move toward healing and growth; thus, the role of the client-centered therapist is to establish an atmosphere in which the client can discover the answers and solutions that he or she has been looking for.

What are the Benefits of Client-Centered Therapy?

The benefits of client-centered therapy are centered on the ability of the client-centered therapist to establish and maintain an open and non-judgmental environment in which the client has the time and space to make the discoveries that are necessary for progress to occur.

Research has shown that the effectiveness of client-centered therapy is associated with the empathetic and unconditional relationship between the client-centered therapist and the client.

In an optimal client-centered therapy environment, the client learns to play an active role in his or her recovery, and to take responsibility for making the discoveries and decisions that will allow for the greatest degree of growth and progress.

What Conditions/Disorders Does Client-Centered Therapy Treat?

Client-centered therapy may be used as a treatment component for individuals with any type of condition or disorder that would benefit from traditional talk therapy or psychotherapy.

Both outpatient and residential treatment programs for myriad addictions, compulsions, and other behavioral and mental health challenges typically incorporate some form of talk therapy into the comprehensive treatment plan. Though client-centered therapy does not address any specific disorder or diagnosis, this therapeutic approach may have value in a wide range of treatment milieus.
by Michael Hurst