Rogers 7 steps of Counselling

Counselling as a specialisation has always been an intriguing topic. It’s absolutely a deep and wide field worth exploring, and highly interlinked with both sociology and psychology. The inner workings of counselling consists of some core fundamentals of psychology but what really is interesting is we, as a human race, tend towards a set of responses that help counsellors navigate their progress during these therapeutic sessions.

Rogers mooted 7 stages of progress during therapy (Person-centred therapy) as follows:

Stage 1: Clients are defensive and resistant to change. Clients speak of past experiences rather than present.

Stage 2: Clients begin to discuss external events or people. A feeling of things being “unowned”.

Stage 3: Clients discuss themselves, but as an object rather than person. This avoids a discussion of the state they are in at that moment.

Stage 4: Clients discuss deeper feelings (Emotions come out here) with the counsellor as a relationship is established.

Stage 5: Client expresses PRESENT emotions, relying on decision-making abilities. They accept responsibility and grow to accept their incongruence.

Stage 6: Clients show rapid growth towards congruence. They develop UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD for others. (This is the stage where formal counselling can stop.)

Stage 7: Clients are fully functioning, self-actualised and empathic. From heteronomy to autonomy.

If you look deeper into the stages, it follows the idea of how we bring emotions from our Mammalian brain, to that of our neocortex or the human brain. This triggers our human-ability to make decisions, our free-will to decide what we want to do with these emotions, and then to accept and overcome them with autonomy.

This process is a non-linear process, but one which is iterative, and potentially requires some micro-loops.

An interesting Introduction and overview of counselling and what we can expect; a quantifiable way to figure out at what stage a “Client” may be in, to identify the stage of counselling and what level of work are required.

I hope this gave interesting insights into the idea of counselling. I may not be an expert in the field, but this definitely has piqued my interest. To find out more, do check out They also have an incredible podcast with a multitude of interesting “modules” in counselling.

May this lead many of you to look deeper into counselling as a skill set that can support and bring greater positivity to the world we live in.

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