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  • Writer's picturemarti mcginnis

Person-Centered Therapy and Art

I am creating a program of using a person-centered approach to facilitating therapeutic art sessions. And while I am not a licensed therapist, I have earned credentials for helping people talk about the art they create in sessions with me in a therapeutic way. I am a certified Creative Arts Facilitator. I highlight the 'clean language' and 'mirroring' of the person-centered approach championed by Carl Rogers and his daughter Natalie Rogers.

Let's learn a little about the person-centered approach in psychotherapy.

inside the mind of a women talking about her art
How YOU talk about the art you have made is the primary focus of person-centered art therapy

Person-Centered Therapy, with its core principles of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence, has been associated with numerous benefits and successes in the realm of psychotherapy. Here are three key aspects that highlight its effectiveness:

Enhanced Self-Exploration and Personal Growth

Person-Centered Therapy places the client at the center of the therapeutic process, allowing individuals to explore their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe and nonjudgmental space (Farber & Doolin, 2011). This self-exploration leads to greater self-awareness and self-acceptance. Clients often find that they are better equipped to understand their own emotions and, in turn, make positive changes in their lives.

Improved Mental Health Outcomes

 Extensive research supports the effectiveness of Person-Centered Therapy in addressing various mental health concerns. Studies have demonstrated its success in reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other psychological disorders (Elliott et al., 2013). The empathetic and non-directive nature of this approach fosters a therapeutic alliance that contributes to positive outcomes. Clients report increased well-being and satisfaction with their lives (Farber & Doolin, 2011).

Positive Client-Therapist Relationships

The strong client-therapist relationship built on empathy and unconditional positive regard is often considered the key to the success of Person-Centered Therapy (Elliott et al., 2013). The safe and accepting environment created by the therapist enables clients to be open and vulnerable. This, in turn, deepens the therapeutic connection and facilitates personal growth and change. It is common for clients to report a greater sense of being heard and understood, which is a powerful catalyst for healing and self-discovery (Farber & Doolin, 2011).

In summary, Person-Centered Therapy is celebrated for its ability to promote self-exploration, enhance mental health, and foster meaningful client-therapist relationships. Its principles are a testament to the power of empathy and genuine acceptance in the therapeutic process, leading to positive changes and improved well-being in those who seek its benefits.


Elliott, R., Bohart, A. C., Watson, J. C., & Greenberg, L. S. (2013). Empathy. In M. J. Lambert (Ed.), Bergin and Garfield's Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (6th ed., pp. 284-316). Wiley.

Farber, B. A., & Doolin, E. M. (2011). Positive regard and psychotherapy outcome: A meta-analytic review. Psychotherapy, 48(1), 58-64. doi:10.1037/a0022189

Person-Centered Therapy, also known as Client-Centered Therapy or Rogerian Therapy, is a widely recognized psychotherapeutic approach developed by Carl Rogers in the mid-20th century. This humanistic approach is grounded in the belief that individuals possess an innate capacity for self-actualization and personal growth (Rogers, 1961).


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