Personcentered Psychotherapy

The Personcentred Approach as foundation for Theory and Practice within the PCA-Psychotherapy The PCA-Psychotherapy, in Germany also know as Clientcentred Psychotherapy, is one of the most important modalities in Germany besides Psychoanalysis and Behaviour Therapy. It differs from these other modalities through its special setting of the therapeutic relationship and through different goals for the therapy. The aim of the Personcentred approach and of psychotherapy in general is healing, alleviation and prevention of psychic and psychosomatic illnesses. The core of the psychotherapeutic work is:

  •  Empathy and selfexploration
  •  Unconditional positive attention
  •  Congruence, genuineness and trust.

Empathy and selfexploration
The therapist tries to notice in detail the inner relationships of the clients or patients and to connect them with their emotional components and the meaning they experienced. The therapist tells the clients about his feelings regarding the situation the client is in (empathy). This enables the clients to review their selfperception and improves the capability of the clients to explore themselves and their problems (selfexploration).

Unconditional positive attention
The therapist is facing the clients/patients with unconditional positive attention. He enters the world of the client without prejudice and judgement (unconditional positive attention). This enables the clients to express their emotions more freely and with less fear.

Congruence, genuineness and trust
The therapist is honest to himself and can fully observe his own experiences and integrate these experiences into the therapeutic process, if indicated. There is no discrepancy between feelings and expression of these feelings (congruence/genuineness). The congruence of the therapist is highly important for building and maintaining a trusting relationship with the client.

PCA-Psychotherapy is based on Clientcentred Psychotherapy and Counselling. This method has its origin in the work of the american psychologist Carl R. Rogers (1902-1987). Rogers developed this method in the fourties and fifties of the last century in regard to his own personal experiences as a psychotherapist and relying on throughout scientific research (which was unique for that time period). The psychologist Reinhard Tausch from Hamburg introduced the clientcentred psychotherapy during the 60-ies of the last century in german speaking countries. The PCA-Psychotherapy has established itself in universities and trainings at an college-level and in social professions. Many academic studies have also integrated this method in their additional trainings, especially psychology, medicine, social paedagogics. This method is a solid part of clinical-psychological work and medical and psychosomatic basic care and psychotherapy. In recent days the evolution of PCA-Psychotherapy has been developed, particularly regarding pathology. Therefore PCA-Psychotherapy can be used with more preciseness and offers a wider range of purpose oriented therapeutic help, especially when it comes to take into account the different individual requirements. The personencentered approach also finds a huge number of activities in non therapeutic fields: social work, social paedagogics, in schools, foster homes, offices and organisations.

The philosophic-anthropologic foundation of the personcentred concept is:

  • trust in the positive self-structuring power of humans
  • life as permanent process of changing
  • selfresponsibility of humans
  • acceptance of individual life-plans
  • trust in personal experience as the source for knowledge.

The image of man in the personcentered concept is gaining importance beyond the clinical-scientific field. It is acting as a social movement in the political area.

GwG Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Gesprächspsychotherapie e.V. Fachverband für Psychotherapie und Beratung


Psychotherapists are required to engage in extensive personal psychotherapy during their training which is up to seven years duration. Psychotherapists usually have a first degree followed by a professional, highly specialised, theoretical and clinical training which includes research methodology and continuous professional development. The EAP promotes the recognition of common standards of training throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states.