Impact of Personal Centered Theory in Multi-Cultural Counseling

Topics: Carl Rogers


Person-Centered Therapy was developed by the renowned psychologist Carl Rogers. This therapy is also called client-centered therapy, it allows clients to open up and talk about their problems creating an environment of empathy, nonjudgmental, and more so let the client lead the discussion. The approach allows for framing with more consequent psychotherapy and understanding the interpersonal exchanges that occur during the psychotherapy process. The Customer-Centered approach deviates from this idea and instead relies on the fact that human beings have a natural tendency to find fulfillment.

By simplifying this, a person-centered therapist helps individuals to identify their potential for personal growth, and self-healing in a multi-cultural environment (Capuzzi & Stauffer 2016).

Person-centered theory and the core conditions provide a framework for counselors in engaging clients and provide a solid foundation for practice. Pedersen emphasizes person-centered theory as a method to train practicum students. Therefore, counselor educators need to be aware of multicultural implications and considerations of the core conditions and person-centered theory: the values of the theory, education, and limitations in a multicultural environment (Pedersen, 2013).

Global Orientation of the PCTis

The person-centered theory has a distinctive cultural feature. Counseling is primarily built on the values of the Western European and the way we see the world. Individuality and seeking an independent lifestyle are the key values often described. We see individuals in the Third World traditional cultures growing up in an environment whereby adult authority is absolute and cannot be challenged. During a counseling session, the counselor guides, reviews, and provides the structure.

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The concept of a counselor guiding and probing in a counseling session brings about friction for the practitioner that has a person-centered, non-directedness theoretical orientation (Owen, 2013).

Furthermore, clinicians tend to be very unrestrictive and fail to effectively guide the counseling process. Therefore, when using a person-centered approach strictly one does not always meet the needs of a client. The individual orientation, values, and non-directional stance of the person-centered theory is a limitation and has multicultural and training implications.

Experimentation of the PCT

During the last 25 years of Ras rogers life, experimented to solve intergroup conflicts using the person-centered approach. Workshops and recorded instances in groups with multicultural populations which included Protestants and Catholics, African-Americans and European Americans, and Rogers proved how, “positive regard, empathy, and congruence of the same growth-promoting conditions useful in all helping relationships can enhance communication and understanding among antagonistic groups.’ The experimentation and evolution of person-centered theory, with applications to resolving intergroup conflicts, impacts education, in general, and multicultural education in counselor training, specifically (Quinn, 2013).

The person-centered theory has impacted education and is known as a learner (or student) centered education. Rogers saw education and the facilitation of the individual is vital. Rogers’s theory of education notes, ‘the goal is the facilitation of the whole and fully functioning person, who is a citizen and leader in a democratic society.’ In counselor education, part of the goal is the facilitation and fully functioning of the whole individual, and person-centered theory and the core conditions offer a belief of a proactive view of humans as being in the process of actualizing. Having a proactive view of people and adopting a learner-centered classroom, promotes overall student growth and development and person-centered teachers have an above-average findings with positive student outcomes (Sue, 2013).

Communicating unconditional positive regard can be done by withholding direct responses to requests for advice and by respecting the client’s ability to come to a decision which is a fundamental belief of human nature in person-centered theory and by trusting the person. Respecting and trusting an individual’s ability to decide what is best for them seems contrary to the tprofession’sns’ use of the profession’s 50-minute counseling session. To communicate respect, trust, and unconditional positive regard for an individual to make their own decision and believing that the client knows best of what they need. From the person-centered theory, the counselor works with the client to establish a pattern of session length and time together. Furthermore, if the client and counselor determine the session length of the therapeutic endeavor together it can impact and decrease counselor fatigue

Impact of Person-Centered Theory in Counseling

Taking this educational perspective and exploring the impact of person-centered theory in counselor learning, Quinn found a “failure to consider the importance of these (the core conditions) suggests that a more general aspect of the client-centered relationship in multicultural counseling is a major flaw in the effort to find multicultural models of teaching and practice. This failure has an impact on the way counselors are trained and the models of multicultural education that counselor educators use to facilitate the whole person in their process of actualizing. Multicultural education and training in counselor education have moved from assimilation and amalgamation to the metaphor of the tossed salad.

Corey (2013) suggests a transformational training in counselor education which asks the trainee to view the whole person and considers the context of the individual’s lived experience. The transformational pedagogy model incorporates foundations ns of the person-centered theoMulticulturalural counseling concentrates on the counselor’s use of specific techniques to do counseling, the true value of counseling is lost. The person-centered approach provides core conditions for the therapeutic relationship and has implications for educating, the approach does not always fully meet the cultural needs of clients. Owen (2013) recommends that ‘an important adjunct to the effective communication of empathy, acceptance, and congruence is the provision of stimulation, guidance, and structure to engage clients effectively in the work of therapy. Adapting this recommendation assists in cross-cultural counseling where directness and structure are valued by cultural perspective. Additionally, the recommendation of guidance can be helpful in the complex process of counseling to help examine possible consequences and the client-focused.

Cultural Diversity of The Person-Centered Theory

Meeting the needs of diverse clients is critical in the counseling profession and complex. For the case of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), the person-centered theory does not satisfactorily address working with minority clients. It offers recommendations for clear identity validation, exposure to positive LGBT communities, and guided risk assessment regarding disclosure, communication, and socialization. Additional cultural factors and multicultural considerations and applications of person-centered theory speak to additional limitations in meeting the needs of diverse clients (Pedersen, 2013).

Research on person-centered counseling is supportive, aversive, and mixed. In addition to the mixed outcome research findings, there is also criticism of the person-centered approach: it does not show the power of the cultural and social factors on a client’s behavior and attitudes and puts more emphasis on empathy and the belief in self-actualization. Also, the non-structured approach runs a risk of being neglectful and allows clients to ramble and avoid issues. Although findings and research provided supportive, aversive, and mixed findings, the person-centered theory has grown and developed in student-centered teaching, family counseling, conflict resolution, couples, and efforts to bring about a peaceful world (Corey, 2013). The significant development of the theory into many disciplines demonstrates the concepts of the theory and the enduring work of Carl Rogers.

Multicultural education and training in counselor education have, ‘moved from assimilation and amalgamation to the metaphor of the tossed salad” She proposes a transformational training in counselor education which asks the trainee to view the whole person and considers the context of the individual’s lived experience. The transformational training model incorporates the foundations of the person-centered theory. When multicultural counseling focuses on the counselor’s specific techniques, it may end up losing the true value or essence of the counseling (Quinn, 2013).


This article reviewed the work of Carl Rogers and person-centered theory, the core conditions: congruence, unconditional positive regard, empathy, and how it has had an impact on multicultural counseling. Additionally, limitations of the theory to cross-cultural counseling, the values of the theory, multicultural implications, and pedagogy were discussed. The person-centered theory offers counselor educators and clinicians a theoretical orientation of how to engage clients in a therapeutic relationship. Research also shows that, at times, the results and outcomes of practice are not always consistent and the theory does not always adequately address client needs: there are limitations. Even with the limitations and inconsistencies in research, Carl Rogers and person-centered theory have a place, impact, and foundation on the practice and education of the counseling profession.


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Impact of Personal Centered Theory in Multi-Cultural Counseling. (2022, Jun 21). Retrieved from

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