Person-centered therapy is a form of evidence-based mental health treatment that has several names, including client-centered therapy, Rogerian psychotherapy, and person-centered counseling.
It was originally developed in the 1940s by psychologist Carl Rogers, known best for creating the field of humanistic psychology.
Find out more about different types of therapy used in addiction treatment.
What Is Person-Centered Therapy?
In traditional talk therapy, the therapist is considered the expert and directs client sessions based on what they think will be effective.
Person-centered therapy allows the client to take a more active approach to their own treatment. The client leads the therapy sessions, and the clinician practices an empathetic and non-directive approach.
By encouraging clients to participate more in their own recovery, they build confidence, discover their strengths and self-worth, and overall understand themselves better than before.
How Client-Centered Therapy Works
Client-centered therapy is fairly simple. During treatment sessions, the therapist creates a safe, nonjudgmental space to build an honest and open therapeutic relationship with the client.
The client decides what they want to talk about, which gives them an opportunity for self-exploration along with a chance to take a more active role in their recovery.
The therapist will acknowledge and ask questions about topics brought up by the client, with the ultimate goal of helping the client uncover their own solutions.
This person-centered approach helps people identify and overcome stressors, find motivation for recovery, and learn to forgive themselves for past mistakes.
Person-Centered Therapy For Substance Abuse Recovery
Person-centered therapy is an evidence-based treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. It does not focus on the substance itself but instead tackles the root causes of drug abuse.
This form of therapy is built on the humanistic belief that everyone has an inherent desire to change, and therapists work to help clients find that desire.
Person-centered therapy teaches clients healthier coping mechanisms and how to avoid turning to drugs or alcohol to handle challenging times.
The Six Core Conditions Of Person-Centered Therapy
When Rogers was developing client-centered counseling, he came up with six core principles for health professionals to follow for the process to work.
1. Therapist-Client Psychological Contact
For this form of therapy to function effectively, the client and therapist must build a healthy, communicative relationship with each other.
This can take some time to establish initially, but it is necessary for the overall process to be effective.
2. Client Incongruence
In order for the client to benefit from the person-centered therapeutic process, they must first experience incongruence.
This means that they feel a disconnect between their self-image and their lived experiences. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, vulnerability, or emotional discomfort.
3. Therapist Congruence
To balance out the client’s incongruence, the therapist should express genuineness, authenticity, honesty, and self-awareness during the substance abuse treatment process.
In other forms of therapy, the treatment provider maintains a professional facade. In person-centered therapy, they are encouraged to be more realistic in their emotional responses.
4. Unconditional Positive Regard
The therapist’s role is to provide an environment that is completely judgment-free so the client feels safe, comfortable, and supported when discussing difficult events or emotions.
This principle was particularly important to Rogers, who found that therapists who accepted their clients unconditionally yielded more positive results.
5. Therapist Empathetic Understanding
Empathy from the therapist is vital for person-centered treatment. If the therapist shows an understanding of what the client has been through, the client will feel more seen and accepted.
However, it’s important for the therapist not to talk about their own experiences. The focus should always be directed back to the client.
6. Client Perception
The client must acknowledge and perceive the positivity coming from the therapist to ensure the client knows how it feels to be understood and cared for.
Benefits Of Client-Centered Therapy For Addiction
There are a number of psychological benefits associated with client-centered therapy programs, which work well in treating both addiction and various other mental health disorders.
Some of these benefits include:
- increased self-confidence and trust
- greater self-awareness
- improved communication and relationships with others
- decreased symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental illnesses
- increased ability to accept and move on from past mistakes
Although studies on person-centered counseling can be difficult to conduct due to its relatively vague nature, research has shown it has benefits when included in a comprehensive treatment plan.
For best results, this type of therapy should be combined with other addiction treatment options like relapse prevention, group therapy, motivational interviewing, or medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Am I A Good Candidate For Person-Centered Therapy?
Person-centered therapy has positive applications in mental health and addiction treatment, but it is not right for everybody.
This form of treatment may be challenging for people who are experiencing severe symptoms of a disorder or struggle to find motivation to change.
You may benefit from client-centered therapy if you are open to self-exploration and are experiencing mild to moderate substance abuse or mental distress.
Finding A Person-Centered Addiction Therapy Provider
To find a substance abuse healthcare professional who can provide person-centered therapy, start by contacting local addiction treatment programs or your primary care doctor.
Since this form of therapy is fairly common, many addiction treatment centers can provide it or offer referrals to other clinics with these services.
When you receive a substance abuse assessment, your treatment provider can determine if you are a good candidate for person-centered therapy.
Get Help For A Substance Use Disorder Today
If you or a loved one is facing drug abuse or alcohol dependency, you are not alone. Contact us today to learn more about finding addiction recovery options.Article Sources
- National Library of Medicine
- National Library of Medicine
- Verywell Health