Person-Centred Therapy vs. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

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Person-Centred Therapy vs. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy: What’s the Difference?

I work as an Integrative Psychotherapist, this means that I have a back ground in Person Centred Therapy, but I integrate other methods of working into my practice. I believe that we are all unique, and its not a case of ‘one size’ fits all.

It can be very difficult for a person to decide what therapy is suitable for them. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably struggled with some sort of behaviour change, like exercising more regularly, better managing stress, or eating more healthfully or deeper more ingrained issues.

In this short article I hope to explain the difference between person Centred Therapy, and CBT. Both therapies work to help support the person address issues that are individual to them. The main difference is that in Person Centred Therapy the client is the expert on himself, and in CBT the therapist is the experts and provides a directive approach.

Person Centred Approach

Person-centred therapy (PCT) is based on a foundation of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and authenticity. It assumes that people are naturally inclined toward positive growth and that they have a great capacity for self understanding and modifying their behaviour and attitudes, given the right conditions.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), on the other hand, is based on the assumption that most problems are a result of negative thinking patterns. These thinking patterns may be have developed over decades, and may be deeply ingrained. Cognitive behaviour therapists believe that the existing cognitive patterns need to be altered, so the person can move past emotional or behavioural issues.

Strengths of cognitive behavioural therapy

  1. Most clinically researched 
  2. Proven to be more effective for dealing with anxiety
  3.  Affordable 
  4. No side effects
  5.  The client learns strategies to help them cope
  6.  The client learns life skills, and copes better

 Weaknesses of cognitive behavioural therapy

  1. It may not be suitable for people with some mental health problems.
  2. It may be difficult for people with learning disabilities
  3. It requires a great deal of commitment on the part of the client.
  4.  It focuses on the present not the past
  5. The counsellor may be perceived as an expert, and it may not address the underlying issues

Strengths of person-centered therapy

  1. The approach is based on the concept that the client is an expert on themselves.
  2. The client guides the experience 
  3. The therapist is non-judgmental
  4. The objective is to get the client to trust themselves, and helps builds their self-confidence
  5. It allows them to process emotions that are unproductive, and negative.

Weaknesses of person-centred therapy

  1. It can be counterproductive for the client’s welfare if they are not able to make rational decisions.
  2. It can be time consuming

The two therapies have different approaches to treating clients but can work well used in conjunction with each other. Both approaches try to improve the welfare of the clients by way of a collaborative therapeutic way of working, and they both can reduce psychological pain, and distress in their lives.

If you need help or advice, our counselors at J&P are here to help get you back to health. Contact us to book an appointment, get advice or to find out more.

0151 345 6823 – Office Number [email protected] – Office email