The Person-Centered Therapy: Definition and Application

Reality therapy has become of the core counseling theories being taught globally applied in clinical and counseling settings. Reality therapy is also applied to clients affected by illnesses that are catastrophic (Weisler, 2006), clients facing financial management issues (Mottern, 2006), and athletes (Klug, 2006), and other articles. Reality therapy emphasizes as essential the relationship between counselors and clients by considering responsibility and choice in relating with others. This theory disputes the traditional way of counseling mental disorders, does not concentrate on symptoms, and disagrees with transference notion. Weisler (2006) contends that the main focus must be to maintain emphasis on choice, responsibility, commitment, and willingness to change. In other words, the therapy is concerned with capacities peculiar to individuals; freedom, love, choice, relatedness, creativity, purpose, value, responsibility, ego, and others (Wubbolding, 2005). It stresses on therapies taking in humanistic aspects for counseling progress to happen.

According to Weisler (2006), the person-centered therapist supports the clients’ perception of the world, shows faith in the clients’ inner resources, and facilitates a mutual relationship with clients. Weisler further postulates that, the power of a therapist should not override in any way the ability of clients. Person-centered counselors diligently provide alternatives in sensitive ways to clients so that real choice and increased freedom becomes the property of clients rather than the instrument of the therapist (Wubbolding, 2005). In sum, Wubbolding (2005) enumerates the basic concepts of person centered psychotherapy with key characteristics that include: client self awareness, relief that a client is free, a client is a self determining being, and others.

Therapy Process for Person-Centered Theory

Reality counseling process commences with the assessment of the clients relationships and unfulfilled needs, exploration of behaviors displayed by clients, behaviors that either help or interfere with them fulfilling their required needs. Wubbolding (2005) in his article describes the main characteristics of reality therapy to consist of: wants, that is , client expectations; doing, the is the client’s effort to bring about the wants and what is interfering; evaluation, that is, assessment of client’s behavior functioning, and planning, that is, what the client is willing to do differently. Wubbolding (2005) noted that individuals are capable of controlling their own behavior. Further, individual’s level of commitment and how hard they are willing to work will dictate how successful they will be in developing new behaviors that clearly communicate their needs and help in attaining fulfillment.

Weisler (2006) believes on individual’s capacity to develop their full ability by progressing in a constructive direction. Counselors need to construct conducive and trusting environments in which clients can display their hidden behavior and accept to embrace new behaviors. Clients in this theory are assumed to be experts of their own lives and therapeutic healing progresses faster when they direct their actions (Klug, 2006).

Applications of Person-Centered Theory

Major Techniques and Areas the Theory is most Applicable

There are several techniques employed in this approach to facilitate the development of the therapeutic process. These techniques include; teaching, the art of listening and understanding, and other strategies such as acceptance, congruence, genuineness and empathy. Person-centered therapeutic techniques provide the foundation of therapeutic outcomes that are favorable (Klug, 2006). Wubbolding (2006) noted that person-centered is best applicable in group counseling through: self esteem enhancement; minimizing conflicts with others; and improving groups overall productive functioning. After gaining knowledge through experiencing conditions of person-centered therapy, members should be able to set their own goals and work towards realizing those goals (Weisler, 2006).

Person centered approach provides therapy intended to assist clients undergoing bouts of depression, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, alcohol disorders, and others. The approach is best applicable in individual, group, and family counseling (Klug, 2006).

Evaluation of Person-Centered Approach Approach

Contributions and Limitations

Person-centered therapy is a respectable and essential system of therapy that uses empirical research and practical application (Wubbolding, 2005). The success of this therapy is dependent on the relationship existing between the counselor and client. This approach advocates for clear presentations of counseling sessions. Reality therapy is easy to follow, provides good examples of appropriate interventions that are compatible with the theory, and brings out the importance the relationship existing between the therapist and the client (Weisler, 2006). According to Wubbolding (2005) several contributions accrue from reality therapy, these includes: one, the theory focuses on self awareness, thus this enables clients to make choices that are life affirming.; two, the approach concentrates on progressive tendencies, thus, it has enabled individuals have inner drives to realize their full potential that enables them to benefit from the therapy; three, person-centered approach therapists attempt to understand the experiential world of their clients. This is because the approach emphasizes on the notion that individuals are capable of acting in responsible and caring ways in interpersonal relationships; four, the approach’s assumption that individuals are free, self-determining beings, has contributed to individuals making choices on who and what they become; and others.

The person-centered approach contributes in supporting the clients’ perception of the world, demonstrates faith in the clients’ inner resources, and attends to the therapeutic relationships. Clients are greatly empowered by this theory, as therapists are required to offer them alternatives so that they make decisions on the best choices (Wubbolding, 2005).

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1. PsychologyWriting. "The Person-Centered Therapy: Definition and Application." September 18, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "The Person-Centered Therapy: Definition and Application." September 18, 2023.