An Introduction to the Person-Centred Approach


One of the transformational developments in the history of talking therapy, the person-centred approach (PCA) proposed by Carl Rogers, has become firmly established at the heart of modern counselling. It has profoundly impacted coaching, teaching and education, healthcare and medicine, mediation and conflict resolution, and even international reconciliation. 

The first therapeutic method in the humanistic school marked a huge departure from the 'medical' mode of doctor-patient. The three 'core conditions' of empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence are frequently over-simplified, taken out of context, and mistaught. PCA is not simply a set of techniques – it is a fundamental philosophy about individuals and the world as a whole.

In this course, we explore the philosophy underlying PCA, Rogers' detailed analysis of what is necessary for therapy to work, and add a modern understanding of emotions and their communication.

Programme details

Course starts: 22nd Jan 2024

Week 1: Introducing the three 'core' conditions

Week 2: Carl Rogers and the revolutionary thinking that led to PCA

Week 3: The concept of 'self' and congruence

Week 4: The Humanists' Philosophy of Mind

Week 5: The six 'necessary and sufficient' conditions

Week 6: The study of interactions and the nature of 'empathy' (incl 'Gloria' and other examples)

Week 7: Rogers' model of human development

Week 8: Rogers' 19 propositions

Week 9: Encounter Groups

Week 10: PCA and World Work


Digital Certification

To complete the course and receive a certificate, you will be required to attend at least 80% of the classes on the course and pass your final assignment. Upon successful completion, you will receive a link to download a University of Oxford digital certificate. Information on how to access this digital certificate will be emailed to you after the end of the course. The certificate will show your name, the course title and the dates of the course you attended. You will be able to download your certificate or share it on social media if you choose to do so.


Description Costs
Course Fee £415.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


If you are in receipt of a UK state benefit, you are a full-time student in the UK or a student on a low income, you may be eligible for a reduction of 50% of tuition fees. Please see the below link for full details:

Concessionary fees for short courses


Dr Graham Wilson

A PhD in animal behaviour led to work in OD creating exceptional workplaces.  A psychodynamic and transpersonal counsellor, I coach executives in leadership and through transitions.  For ten years, I’ve taught psychology, counselling and coaching at the University of Oxford and elsewhere. My research explores photography provoking change in communities.

Course aims

To inspire an interest in one of the most profound shifts in therapeutic thinking in the 20th century.

Course objectives:

  • To provide a summary of the context, significance, and key components of the person-centred approach.
  • To enable participants to appreciate the profound philosophical model underlying PCA and how it differs so radically from most other therapeutic traditions.
  • For students to appreciate the wider implications of the humanistic school, and PCA especially, for addressing large scale issues.

Teaching methods

The course uses a variety of lectures, small group activities, video content, and individual exercises.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course students will be expected to:

  • appreciate the historical context in which the humanistic, and especially the person-centred, approaches evolved;
  • have a clear understanding of the theories of the mind and of human emotional development proposed by Rogers;
  • relate Rogers' approach to modern understanding of emotional communication;
  • consider the relevance of Rogerian theory to larger scale interventions;
  • have experimented with the use of the person-centred approach in counselling, teaching, and large-group problem solving.

Assessment methods

At the end of the course, participants will be encouraged to prepare a 1500 word summary of those aspects of PCA that have most inspired them.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


To earn credit (CATS points) for your course you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Please use the 'Book' or 'Apply' button on this page. Alternatively, please complete an enrolment form (Word) or enrolment form (Pdf).

Level and demands

Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)