Growing a Person-Centered Society in Europe

Person-Centered and Experiential counselors and therapists know that there is great constructive potential within each person. The PCE approach is used by a wide circle of professionals and non-professionals to deal creatively with those around them.

We have something important to say to individuals working in the helping professions, in universities, in high schools, in training programs, in newspapers, and in the whole social environment. With decades of experience, observations, research, and practice behind us, we can influence society with PCE concepts of ‘being human’ that we ourselves deeply trust in.

As members of the helping professions, we can have a powerful impact on the broader socio-cultural view of the person and human development. This impact is much needed at this time.

In education, for example, here in Switzerland, we notice many signs that children and teenagers are suffering from a lack of consideration of their human potential. However, many of the professionals who work in education seem to lack references that would empower them to do things differently. They seem to be stuck in a cultural view of the person that is mainly based on distrust and control; they were taught to be the ‘expert’, the one who knows.

As PCE professionals, we can show a different way! We can defend and promote our conception and experience of the person as trustworthy, as able. We can take opportunities to say forcefully that when the person is considered, when a climate of facilitative attitudes is provided, then a constructive process will occur in each and every human being.

The PCE community continues to develop theory, research, and practice and bring these resources to many professional fields and to society as a whole. Even though our perspective is this of the minority, we can remain proud and sure of our concepts and be transparent and confident in presenting them. The impact we can have relies on this, and on how strong and determined we are in not loosing what makes the essence of our conceptions and of our way of being.

Through offering our chosen topic of ‘Growing a Person-Centered Society in Europe’ for the PCE Symposium 2016, we hope to stimulate contributions and reflections on Person-Centered and/or Experiential theory of personality, on research about the inner dynamics of the person throughout the therapeutic process, on the cultural impact of PCE practice, and on many other related topics. We hope that, following our conference, participants will feel truly empowered to return to bring about positive change in their respective worlds.