New PACFA literature review on Supportive Counselling

PACFA is pleased to announce the publication of a literature review on the effectiveness of Supportive Counselling.

The effectiveness of Supportive Counselling, based on Rogerian principles: A systematic review of recent international and Australian research, was written by Dr Nicky Jacobs and Dr Andrea Reupert from Monash University. Thank you to the authors for a very positive collaboration producing the literature review.

The review provides a clear overview of the research evidence and found some evidence to support the effectiveness of Supportive Counselling (SC) including Person Centred Therapy (PCT), Non-Directive Supportive Therapy (NDST) and Supportive Therapy (ST) and their equivalence to other therapies, especially in the treatment of adult depression. The authors cautioned that due to the small number of studies identified, the need 920-192 for conducting further Randomized Controlled Trials and longitudinal follow-up studies are recommended in order for more robust conclusions to be drawn on the effectiveness of Supportive Counselling.

Many therapists identify with a humanistic or a supportive orientation to therapy, in Australia and elsewhere.  A 2004 survey of professional and clinical members of the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia found 12% of respondents nominated humanistic approaches as being their primary theoretical orientation (Schofield, 2008).  A somewhat larger percentage was found in the USA: from over 2,200 North American psychotherapists, Cook and colleagues (2010) found that a fifth (31%) identified with a Rogerian/client-centered/humanistic orientation.  At the same time, the most commonly endorsed therapeutic techniques in this same survey were; conveying warmth and respect, communicating understanding of a client’s experience, empathizing with the client, promoting clear, direct expression of client’s feelings, making reflective or clarifying comments and cultivating the therapeutic relationship.  These techniques are at the core of Rogers’ (1957) person-centered approach, which focuses on building and sustaining a good therapeutic alliance.  Thus, even though some counsellors might not identify as
LOT-950 humanistic, many employ the techniques commonly associated with a Rogerian approach.  The prevalent use of these humanistic and supportive approaches makes it critical to ascertain how effective these are in therapeutic environments.

Download Supportive Counselling Literature Review 


Schofield, M.J. (2008). Australian counsellors and psychotherapists: A profile of the profession. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 8(1), 4-11.

Cook, J., Biyanova, T., Elhai, J., Schnurr, P., & Coyne, J. (2004).  What do psychotherapists do in practice?  An internet study of over 2,000 practitioners.  Psychotherapy 47(2), 260–267.

Rogers, C. (1957).  The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 21(2), 95-103.