What is Non-directive Counseling?

Non-Directive or Client Centred or Permissive Counseling. The main advocate of non-directive or client-centred or permissive counseling is Carl R. Rogers. This principle was developed in many years.

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Hence, various areas got included in such type of counseling such as, the development of personality, group leadership, education and learning, creativity, interpersonal relations and the nature of an entirely active person.

This theory was developed in between 1930 and 1940. This theory believes that the sufficient means of solving a person’s problem are present within the person himself.


The function of the counselor is to provide such an environment in which the client is independent to grow so that he may become what he likes to become.

This school of thought gives importance to the emotional aspects of vocational and emotional problems and disapproves the diagnostic information as a part of counseling process.

The client-centred counseling revolves around the client. In this, the client is encouraged to leading conversation and to express his own attitudes, feelings and ideas. The counselor mostly remains passive.

He never interferes the client’s ideas, thoughts, feeling, and flow of expressions. The counselor helps the client in completing his conversation; basically the counselor makes his efforts to develop rapport and mutual feeling of confidence in both the parties.


In this approach, open-end questions are asked. These questions are loosely structured. In the answers of these questions, the person projects his own personality. The main concern of the counselor is with the summarization of emotional contents told by the client.

When the client is answering, he should be encouraged to speak in detail through proper methods. The client feels that the counselor really respects the client’s ideas.

He gets the impression from the types of questions which a counselor asks from the client and the interviewer is taking interest in the client. The counselor does not ask the questions merely to explore the facts.

In the non- directive counseling, every person has the right to be independent as a specialist psychologist. In such type of counseling, diagnostic instruments are used either infrequently or completely not used.


Basic Assumptions of Non-Directive Counseling

1. Tendency towards Actualization. In the earlier writings of Rogers, it was emphasized that the people or client’s growth and developmental capacity is that person’s characteristic on which the methods of counseling and psychotherapy depend.

Even after so many years, his opinion got strength that a persons’ inherent tendency includes growth, adjustment, socialization; freedom etc.

This directional tendency is termed as ‘Actualizing Tendency’ these days.

2. Belief in the Dignity of Man. Rogers believes in the dignity of the man. He considers the person capable of taking decisions and he accepts his right to do so.

3. Man is Trustworthy Rogers considers the person basically good and reliable. He also knows that the person behaves in an unreliable manner too. A person is born with some urges which must be controlled if healthy personality development is desired.

4. Man is Wiser than His Intellect. When some organization is functioning independently and effectively, then the ‘awareness’ is a very small part or component of the entire process. When the organization feels some difficulty in its system of functioning, this awareness becomes more sharpened and focused.

Snyder has also mentioned the following assumptions of non- directive counseling:

(i) The client has right to select the goals of his life.

(ii) If the client is given an opportunity, he will select those goals which may possibly provide him great happiness.

(iii) Emotional disturbance inhibits a person’s proper adjustment initially.

(iv) In the counseling situation, one should reach very quickly at a point from where the client may be able to start functioning independently.

Steps in Non-Directive Counseling

Carl Rogers has given the following steps of this non-directive counseling:

1. Defining the Problematic Situation:

First of all the counselor should define the problematic situation.

2. Free Expression of Feelings:

After the first step, the client is made aware of the fact that he can express his feelings freely and the counselor approves this.

3. Development of Insight:

The counselor goes on thinking regarding the client’s new feelings along with the development of client’s insight and he goes on classifying all those new feelings.

4. Classification of Positive and Negative Feelings:

After the free expression of feelings by the client, the counselor identifies his negative and positive feelings and he classifies them.

5. Termination of Counseling Situation:

The counselor looks for a point where he can terminate the counseling situation after all the above steps. According to this school of thought, either the client or the counselor can suggest for such termination of counseling situation.

Characteristics of Non-Directive Counseling

1. It is a client-centered counseling.

2. It is based on the principle that a person has so much capacity and drive that he can grow and develop so that he may face the situations in reality.

3. In this school of thought, the counselor is passive to the maximum.

4. Its use reduces psychological tensions.

5. In this type of counseling, defensiveness falls down.

6. In this type of counseling, there is closeness between the picture of the self-drawn by the client and a desirable or an ideal picture of his own.

7. Through this counseling his psychological adjustment improves.

8. Client’s behaviour is considered more matured emotionally.

9. A person is accepted in his originality and he is free to express his any attitude.

10. In his research Axlines (1947) has shown that the reading improvement speeds up as a result of client-centred play way-methods in the primary schools even if special reading instructions are not given.

11. This school of thought is just reverse to that of directive counseling.

12. In this counseling, the entire responsibility is of client or the person.

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