Personal centered theory was developed by Carl Rogers. The approach is based on the concepts of humanistic psychology. The theory holds that human beings or clients are the agents of their self-change. It holds that human beings in nature are their own source of change. A person has the power to change, or not to change. A person is independent in making a decision to bring the change he, or she wants to make in her life. Therefore, as a counseling theory, it has more emphasis on the therapist not engaging so much in trying to force the client to make the required change but it emphasizes more on allowing giving the client a free hand in a making decision. This is the reason as to why it is called the person-centered theory. According to Carl Rodgers, people have an innate character of being trustworthy. They have immense potential to understand themselves and have the capability of resolving any problems in their lives without necessarily having so much intervention by the therapist.
This approach is very different from the one of Sigmund Freud, which requires that a person or the client must associate their experiences to the interpretation of the counselor. Just like the existential approach, this theory is founded on the basis that a person has the potentiality of finding their own meaning within themselves. They are able to know what they require in their lives, and they understand best what they need so that they can solve their personal problems. In this approach, the client directs himself or herself towards the goals of fulfillment in their lives. This process happens within a critical and intense relationship, which is created between the client and the leisure counselor. Therapy using this approach strives in development of a greater degree of independence and integration for individuals in their environment and the people. The client is prepared to be open minded during the counseling process. An individual is guided on how to build trust about themselves how to make their internal evaluation and how to build willingness towards experiencing continued growth in their lives. The therapy given in through this approach makes the client experience a different kind of therapy determined by the perception one has on the present and the possibility of future events (Johnson & Turner, 2002). This exploration of wider beliefs enables the client to have more appreciation of who they are so that they can fulfill their full potential of accomplishing.
This approach does not involve client diagnosis in order to realize improvement. The therapist also avoids taking a direct role because this is taken as the responsibility of the client. This approach aims at assisting the client to find their own path in order to establish their own sense of self worth. This helps the client to develop feelings of being enabled and empowered so that he or she can continue improvement without necessarily needing the assistance of the counselor (Johnson & Turner, 2002).
There are concepts that are particularly necessary in person-centered approach. The concepts include congruence, genuineness and empathetic understanding. The importance of genuineness is met when the therapist gives an illustration or example to the client of what is reality entails. Congruence is necessary for the client who often lacks genuineness, which leads to a feeling of anxiety. The concepts of genuineness and congruence usually develop through the kind of unconditional positive eager, which is provided to the client by the therapist. This acceptance makes the client feel that he or she is not judged in regard to the environment of the sessions. This allows the client to feel safe in exploration of his or her feelings and all the concerns that he or she may have.
The leisure counselor also has another task as he is supposed to understand the feelings of clients in regard to their situations. In this, the leisure counselor should encourage the client to closer to herself in making the recognition and resolving the incongruity that exist. The leisure counselor is supposed to have the experience of the client as if the situation is his own. The leisure counselor should view the world in the eyes of the client. The counselor is supposed to do this without being immersed in the feelings and emotion that may develop, as a result, off the situation (Daniel & Watkinson, 2003).
This approach is particularly relevant for leisure counselors who deal with clients who may have experienced trauma in their lives. It is used in reduction of traumatic incidences because it has the ability to establish a situation that gives the client a sense of security. The most power way in which a client can learn is through discovery or illumination. The lessons, which are usually learnt through personal experience, are more effective that the ones, which are, learned through the use of a third party who would teach the same lesson. This brings the importance of the non-directive role of a counselor when using the person-centered approach. The client is in a position to fond her own solution if a safe and acceptable environment is provided to them by the leisure counselor. The two primary goals in person centre approach is to help the client increase self esteem and have a greater openness to experience. The approach seek to foster changes in the client which include, make the client has a better understanding of the idealized, and the actual selves, build more positive, and comfortable relationship with other people, have a better self understanding, have a lower level of guilt, defensiveness and feeling of insecurity. The client is also assisted to express all the feelings at the moment in which they occur (Daniel & Watkinson, 2003).
Looking at the case study presented, this theory of personal centered can be applied effectively in counseling Stan. In these cases, a counselor the personal centered approach would be helpful, as it will make Stan more open about all his experiences. I will also help him to express his feelings as they occur. For example as a counselor, I guide him in expressing all the feelings and the problems he usually experiences. I would do this by encouraging him to be open so that we can understand the best strategy to employ to help each other to find a solution to these problems. When Stan expresses all the problems, he faces as explained in the case study this would be a very crucial moment in the counseling process. I would encourage him to try as much as he can to control himself from taking any action that leads increase of pain. I would provide alternatives actions, which he can take instead of the ones that cause him to experience more pain. I would explain to him how the alternative actions can be applied and then let him decide for himself which one to choose. I would also encourage him to have a positive view of the problems he is experiencing and advice him on how he should avoid the experiences from affecting his life. Stan would also be encouraged to build more relationship with bother people so that he can reduce the isolation he has started experiencing. As a counselor, I would also try to make Stan not to dwell so much on the past experiences as these may be increasing his state of isolation. He should be guided on how to keep the level of accept the situation that he is in and so he cannot do what he used to do before he had the accident. He should focus more on what he aspires to do in the future as this will enhance his condition to improve. He should be guided on how to develop more positive view of life without concentrating on the facts that he has no contacts with family members and friends. If there were any way that these contacts can be established, then this would work effectively in making him recover.
Therefore in this approach here are six necessary conditions that act together to bring positive change in client. There should be the existence of a positive relationship between the leisure counselor and the client. This condition is necessary to both the client and the counselor. The other condition is client incongruence. This means that there is a discrepancy between the experiences of the client and her self-image. The leisure counselor is supposed to be congruent. This means that the leisure counselor is supposed to be involved in the therapeutic relationship in a genuine way. The leisure counselor is also supposed to draw his own experience so that top empathize with the client and create the relation. The leisure counselor is supposed to be nonjudgmental, genuine and accept the client unconditionally. The leisure counselor is also supposed to have an empathic understanding of the client. This assist the leisure counselor to have the ability to communicate regards which are unconditional to the client. The sixth condition, which is necessary in the person-centered approach, is that the client should be able to perceive the empathy and unconditional acceptance that is offered by the therapist (Sumsion, 2006).