24 Feb

The Power of Listening

When I started my long journey in Person-Centred counselling education, I had only a vague picture of how it might contribute to people’s healing, and how it might differ from other psychological approaches. I remember having heated debates with my peers on what makes a good therapist. 

Slowly but surely as I immersed myself in the subject, I realised there is much more to it than just being a simple tool for healing. To be more precise, I discovered, that the real power of person-centeredness is the connection, a "way of being", and the relationship, in which the participants are thriving.

It's a type of talk therapy that focuses on putting you, the client, at the heart of the therapeutic process, and the goal is to create a safe and supportive environment in which you can explore your thoughts, feelings, and experiences without fear of judgment or criticism. 

In person-centred counselling, the therapist functions as a facilitator rather than an expert or authority figure. They do not tell you what to do or how to think but instead work collaboratively with you to help you identify and achieve your own goals. 

Healing Process

This approach is grounded in several core principles, including unconditional positive regard, empathy, and congruence. Unconditional positive regard means that the therapist accepts and values you for who you are, without judgment or criticism. Empathy involves the therapist being able to understand and appreciate and feel your perspective, while congruence involves the therapist being genuine and authentic in their interactions with you (Rogers, 1957).

In his book "The Way of Being" (1980), Carl Rogers American psychologist and founder of the person-centred approach emphasizes the importance of being fully present and accepting of oneself and others in order to live a fulfilling life. He believed the key to happiness and personal growth is to cultivate an attitude of openness, curiosity, and non-judgmental acceptance towards oneself and others. By embracing our inner experiences, including our thoughts, feelings, and desires, we can gain greater self-awareness and self-acceptance, which in turn allows us to form more authentic connections with others.

Rogers (1980) also stresses the importance of empathy and compassion in our interactions with others. By truly listening and trying to understand another person's perspective, we can create an atmosphere of trust and acceptance that fosters growth and healing. Overall, Rogers reminds us that we are all imperfect, but by embracing our true selves and cultivating an attitude of acceptance towards others, we can create a more compassionate and fulfilling world.

The Passionate Inner Drive

Sometimes clients ask me: 'Oh and how does that "way of being" will help me to solve my problems and getting out of the vicious cycle of anxiety and depression?' And so here comes my favourite analogy to describe the power of this approach: think about the tiny seed that you plant in your garden. That seed has got the inner wisdom of growing into a healthy plant. You do not need to supply it with instructions on how to grow, all you need to do is to establish a nurturing environment that helps it to reach its best potential, by maintaining temperature, and providing a sufficient amount of nutrition, moisture and sunlight.

Similarly to human beings: we all have that inner wisdom and drive to grow into our best selves. But sometimes our environment thwarts this process by imposing conditions that make us feel stuck, anxious, disempowered, depressed and eventually don't feel like ourselves at all. Resulting in fundamental questions such as: Who am I? What is my goal? What is my purpose in this world? 

The great thing about person-centred counselling is that it empowers you to take an active role in your own healing process. By providing a safe and supportive environment, the therapist helps you to develop the self-awareness and insight needed to find your own solutions to your problems. This can be particularly valuable if you are feeling helpless or disempowered in other areas of your life. 

Person-centred counselling has been found to be effective for a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction. It's also a flexible approach that can be tailored to your specific needs and goals. 

In conclusion, if you are struggling with mental health issues and are looking for a warm, supportive approach to therapy, consider giving person-centred counselling a try. You deserve to feel heard, valued, and empowered, and a person-centred counsellor can help you achieve that.


Rogers, C.R. (1980) A way of being. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company

Rogers, C.R. (1957) 'The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change' in Kirschenbaum, H., Henderson, V. (1990) The Carl Rogers Reader. London: Constables

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