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PCA Summary

“A summary of the theory can be stated as follows: 

  1. There is one motivating force in a client; i.e., the actualizing tendency.

  2. There is one directive to the therapist; i.e. to embody the attitudinal quality of genuineness, to experience empathic understanding from the client’s internal frame of reference and to experience unconditional positive regard towards the client.

  3. When the client perceives the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard, the actualizing tendency of the client is promoted.”

By Jerold D. Bozarth - The Foundation of Person-Centered Therapy

PCA Beliefs
  • Belief that human nature is basically constructive.

  • Belief that human nature is basically social.

  • Belief that self-regard is a basic human need and that self-regard, autonomy and individual sensitivity are to be protected in helping relationships.

  • Belief that persons are basically motivated to perceive realistically and to pursue the truth of situations.

  • Belief that perceptions are a major determinant of personal experience and behavior and, thus, to understand a person one must attempt to understand them empathically.

  • Belief that the individual person is the basic unit and that the individual should be addressed, (not groups, families, organizations, etc.), in situations intended to foster growth.

  • Belief in the concept of the whole person.

  • Belief that persons are realizing and protecting themselves as best they can at any given time and under the internal and external circumstances that exist at that time.

  • Belief in abdication of the pursuit of control or authority over other persons and, instead, a commitment to strive to share power and control.

  • A commitment to open mindedness and humility in respect to theory and practice.


By Barbara Temaner Brodley. “Client-Centered Therapy - What Is It? What Is It Not?” August, 1986

2017 by Elvira M. Medus. All Rights Reserved

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