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Person-Centered Counseling Overview

Today, many people are faced with personal issues that they may struggle to understand and address without help. As an activity of a client and therapist engaging in a conversation, counseling can be beneficial for the patient and help them understand and resolve their problems. This post will focus on the person-centered approach, the similarities between it and gestalt therapy, and the application of existential therapy.

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A person-centered approach is an umbrella term that encompasses several methods, and two main principles should be followed in such treatment. According to the first tenet, counselors should build a respectful relationship with the patients, admitting that they are “the expert on his or her own life and problems” (McLeod, 2013, p. 166). The second principle states that clients should be encouraged to become more aware of the moment by recreating problematic situations to determine and change their patterns (McLeod, 2013). Gestalt therapy can be regarded as a person-centered approach to counseling. It permits clients to express their feelings and provides them with techniques to explore their awareness (McLeod, 2013). It also gives patients the opportunity to analyze the issue multiple times and take personal responsibility for it. As in the session shown by Grande (2016), gestalt therapy allows the individual to discover their feelings and needs with the counselor’s understanding and encouragement. Overall, both the person-centered and gestalt approaches acknowledge the personal responsibility of the patient.

In the case of a 34-year-old woman diagnosed with late-stage, untreatable breast cancer, and struggling with the diagnosis, the patient will benefit from existential therapy. It aims to address significant philosophical questions and ultimate concerns (McLeod, 2013). By forming an authentic relationship with the client, the therapist will facilitate discovering what cancer diagnosis and death mean to her and how to proceed into the future. Overall, this approach will allow the patient to address her ultimate concern and become responsible for that moment.

In summary, counseling is an effective way of addressing personal issues. The person-centered approach requires a respectful and authentic relationship with the patient and guiding them in discovering the causes of their issues. Similarly, gestalt therapy provides the clients with an opportunity to analyze their problems and take responsibility for their actions and future direction. However, in the case of a patient who has late-stage cancer, existential therapy would be more appropriate as it allows them to address their ultimate concern.


Grande T. (2016). Person-centered counseling role-play – Coping with a work related stressor [Video]. Web.

McLeod, J. (2013). An introduction to counselling (5th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

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