This is the foundational form of humanistic psychotherapy and counselling and, as the name implies, it places the client at the centre. It is non-directive in approach so that instead of making any interpretations the therapist will focus totally on the nuances, behaviours, body language and words of the client. Through this total attention with the therapist struggling to understand the client completely, the client begins to understand him or herself more fully. The aim of the therapy is for the client to become the person he or she truly is.
The relationship thus between the therapist and client is vital, with genuine connection forming the backbone of the encounter. The therapist will show his or her authenticity, empathy and unconditional positive regard for the client. When the client experiences this non-judgemental approach, he or she will begin to flourish and make honest choices about the way to live his or her life.
The client-centred approach believes that we become cut off from our authentic selves in order to gain the love and acceptance of others, which we think is conditional upon being or behaving a certain way. The goal of this therapy is therefore to enable the client to develop a stronger sense of self, to discover his or her own values and desires, and to begin to live a life that is fulfilling and authentic.