Personal issues are part of a complex system that makes people unique. However, this individuality can attract psychopathologies that ultimately require correction through therapy to enhance the patient’s cognitive wellbeing. The present paper offers a brief distinctive understanding of person-centered therapy (PCT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Although both therapeutic interventions share a goal, PCT considers the patient the expert on themselves, whereas CBT is passive, requiring an external directive approach from a therapist.
Regardless of its several synonyms – client-centered, non-directive, Rogerian therapy – PCT is a unique treatment strategy for psychopathologies. PCT holds that attitudes and behavior modification is best achievable by creating the right condition for clients to exploit specific natural tendencies and abilities, such as an inclination toward positive growth and self-understanding (Dealey & Evans, 2021). The approach empowers a client to determine what course and direction the treatment should take as the therapist offers clarifications needed to help the patient achieve a greater level of self-understanding. Person-centered therapy promises a patient an empathetic, authentic therapeutic experience and unconditional positive regard from the therapist.
Besides PCT, clients seeking a psychotherapeutic intervention can benefit from CBT. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the general term subsuming all expert-led psychotherapeutic treatments. The intervention assumes that negative thinking patterns cause most problems. As such, CBT relies on therapists to instill emotional awareness by training patients to identify and differentiate emotions as healthy or unhealthy as well as positive or negative (Carpenter et al., 2018). Cognitive-behavioral therapy recognizes the difficulty in achieving mental wellbeing by altering ingrained thought patterns, hence the need for a therapist to manipulate the cognitive processes and accompanying behavior and emotions.
The choice of a psychotherapeutic treatment depends on the needs of a client. For example, CBT enjoys immense empirical research backing regarding its affordability, effectiveness against anxiety, and ability to teach clients how to cope better. However, the expert may be dominating, or the mental health issue at hand may render it ineffective. Conversely, PCT empowers the client in a non-judgmental environment that ultimately enhances self-confidence in processing emotions. Nonetheless, it is only suitable where clients can make rational decisions, and it is time-consuming. Therefore, choosing between CBT and PCT requires contrasting each approach’s strengths and weaknesses against the client’s needs.
Carpenter, J. K., Andrews, L. A., Witcraft, S. M., Powers, M. B., Smits, J. A., & Hofmann, S. G. (2018). Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and related disorders: A meta‐analysis of randomized placebo‐controlled trials. Depression and Anxiety, 35(6), 502-514. Web.
Dealey, R. P., & Evans, M. R. (2021). Person-centred therapy: The case of Tommy. In R.P Dealey, M.R. Evans (eds) Discovering theory in clinical practice: A casebook for clinical counseling and social work practice (pp. 73-84). Springer, Cham.