A Brief Comparison of Psychoanalytic and Person-centered Theory


Counseling relationship is a process of listening with  empathy  to a relationship and individual level challenges faced by a person and providing advice and condolences to the person so that the sadness and stress can be subdued. This helps in managing negative thought that a person derives from negative things that are currently happening in relationships and life. This process also helps in providing guidance to an individual to effectively achieve personal and relationship growth. In the current assessment there will be discussion over two theories related counseling relationships and difference and similarity between them will be highlighted.

Sigmund Frued's psychoanalytic theory

Sigmund Freud developed the psychoanalytic theory of personality development which he argued that the human personality is developed through conflicts and this creates fundamental characteristics in the following mind such as ego and superego. These components have explained the different characteristics that are present within the person based on which humans make and manage relations. The component are explained below:

  1. I’d: This is considered as one of the most primitive structures in the all of three components. This identifies instant gratification of basic requirements and urges. This structure operates in an unconscious way (Akhtar & O'Neil, 2018).
  2. Superego: Superego is a structure that manages the concerns of the individual related to social and moral rules as well as values.  This structure basically makes the individual conscious about social and moral components that are to be considered before making any decisions.
  3. Ego:  Ego is a pragmatic part of an individual personality; it can be said that it is partly conscious and partly conscious in nature. This structure balances the demand of the urge created in the structure of I’d and the structure of Superego.

Carl Rogers’s person-centered theory

According to Rowe, (2017) The person centered theory was developed by Carl Rogers in the year 1940’s. According to the person-centered theory roger’s believes that every individual human beings has a tendency within themselves which helps them to bring out the best by using the capabilities. Roger’s believes that in order to understand the problem and perspective of the client the therapist needs to focus on the three main core conditions which are congruence, empathy and unconditional positive regard. These three core conditions will help the therapist to understand the client’s problem and also will help the therapist to provide appropriate solution after understand and identifying the problem. By the person-centered theory Carl Rogers main motive was to understand and keep focus on the conscious mind of the client. The main reason of Carl Rogers behind this theory was to make the client feel the importance of self love and helping the client to accept the self worth of them. The three cores conditioning of Carl Rogers person-centered theory are mentioned below:

  • Empathy- In this stage the therapist uses the method of communication and reveals their own desires to the clients so that they can understand the actual problem and the way of thinking of their clients. The therapists also appreciate the perspective of their client and help the clients to make them feel better and self value them. The therapists in this stage understand the perception of their client and for a while the therapist thinks about the entire situation of the client by putting themselves in the client’s position.
  • Congruence- In this stage the therapist acts professionally with the client and the therapist keeps themselves transparent with the client so that the client can communicate and share their problems properly without any hesitation.
  • Unconditional positive regard- This is a stage where the therapist shows positive gesture with the client and helps them by accepting the way they are by prizing the clients and helping them to understand that there is nothing wrong in staying the way they are (Greene, 2017). The therapist remains calm and listens to the client properly and carefully without disturbing them or judging them for their deeds or actions.

Carl Rogers developed the person-centered theory in order to understand the clients properly by making them feel worthy of self love and self priority. With the three core conditions developed by Rogers the therapist is able to deal with the patients properly by providing them proper solutions.

Difference and similarity between the two theories

There are both differences and similarity that exist between both the theories, the similarities between the two theories is as follows;

  1. In the both the theories that is Sigmund frued's psychoanalytic theory and Carl rogers's person-centered theory there is psychological perspective put forward in order to manage and counsel relationship in an evident manner.  Both theories put out psychological ways in which a person and individual facing problems in relationship and life can be counseled using psychological ways and processes. In this regard the viewpoint of both theories come from psychological backgrounds that provide ways in using psychological methods to counsel and improve problems in personal life or relationships (Quindeau, 2018).

Now the differences that can be seen in between the Sigmund frued's psychoanalytic theory and Carl rogers's person-centered theory is as follows;

  1. The difference between both theories is that Sigmund's psychoanalytic theory talks about how different structure within a human cognitive behavior affects his or her physic whereas the following also talks on how it tends to manage and his or her physiological behaviour while in a relationship with others. On the other hand Carl Rogers's person-centered theory has explained the method through which counseling over relationships can be given to a person using an effective approach which is systematic in nature.


It has been concluded from the above that both the theories which are Sigmund Frued’s Psychoanalytic theory and Carl Rogers Person-centered theory are essential for understanding the perspective of an individual. It is also concluded from the above that both the theories have been developed in order to understand the human perspective and problems and also providing them with better solutions. It has also been concluded from the above that Roger’s theory person-centered focuses on the method through which therapists treat their clients with solutions. The person-centered theory by Rogers has three core conditions which are essential for conducting a proper therapy.


Akhtar, S., & O'Neil, M. K. (Eds.). (2018). On Freud's Beyond the pleasure principle. Routledge.

Greene, R. (2017). Human behavior theory and social work practice. Routledge.

Quindeau, I. (2018). Seduction and desire: The psychoanalytic theory of sexuality since Freud. Routledge.

Rowe, W. S. (2017). Client-centered theory and the person centered approach: Values-based, evidence-supported. Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches, 34-53.


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