Person-Centred Being

Person-centred counselling is, to me, a development of client-centred counselling. Client-centred counselling saw the counsellor entirely centred on the client. Person-centred counselling introduced more of the person of the counsellor. The validity of this has been a productive discussion over many decades.

By person-centred being I mean a combination of an increased ability to listen together with an increased humility in self-expression. The diagram below gives a rough idea of this. My experience of general conversation is that there is more talking than listening, particularly in groups. In the diagram this is represented on the left by the imbalance between ‘self-expression’ and ‘silently listening’ of person 1 and 2. In counselling, there is a balance between self-expression and silently listening, but an imbalance between person 1 in the role of client, and person 2 in the role of therapist. In person-centred being, a more balanced dialogue is achieved. Each person is able to have their say, and to be more fully heard.

This concept of person-centred being draws from Carl Rogers’ theories of counselling, and his theories of interpersonal relationships. The idea of humility in self-expression arose in his 1961 book, “On Becoming A Person”. There, he acknowledged a philosophical position that all knowledge is subjective, it exists only in the person, the knower, and therefore cannot match with any seemingly objective reality. It is on this point that any claim to expertise becomes questionable.

For further explanation of these concepts, click here to see the way I approach teaching, and the content of some of the training and workshops I have offered.