The work of mental health nurse is interactive in nature, the priority of which is the effective development and maintenance of a therapeutic relationship with clients This field of nursing bases its practice on theories from many schools of thought in order to provide clients with the highest quality of care One such theory is that of Carl Rogers whose practice as a psychotherapist was based on his Theory of Self-Concept This paper examines the development of the Theory of Self-Concept from the works of Cooley, Mead, Allport and Rogers and relates to the therapeutic alliance between a primary nurse and a client who has been medically diagnosed as being ‘depressed’ The implications for practice are considered and some of the difficulties of utilizing Rogers’ theory on an in-patient unit are explored The paper emphasizes the need for nurses to be aware of the use of such theories in order to enrich the care that clients receive It also highlights the need for nurses to be aware of their own ‘self when working with clients, a state that can only be achieved if the nurses themselves have adequate clinical supervision and an environment which is supportive of such work