The Life and Theories of Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers revolutionized psychotherapy by developing the person-centered approach to treatment. Rogers believed that people are capable of solving their own problems when the right conditions for self discovery and growth are present. Therefore, the task of the counselor is merely to create a fertile therapeutic climate and allow the client to work out his or her own issues. Rogers also assigned much more value to the communication skills of the counselor and the quality of the counselor-therapist relationship than he did to the counselors knowledge, training, or mode of therapy. He found that once the client discovers, possibly for the first time, that another person values him or her unconditionally and truly understands his or her feelings, the clients self-image will improve and personal growth will result

Carl Rogers was a psychotherapist who developed the concept of client-centered psychotherapy. He was a great supporter of the scientific method and was one of the first to incorporate it into psychotherapy. His person-centered approach to psychotherapy entailed an unconditional acceptance between client and counselor. Rogers felt that the role of the counselor, instructor or any other individual who was responsible for the developing personal maturity in another, was to help that person become fully-functional.
Carl Rogers was born on January 8, 1902, in Oak Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. He was raised with strong religious roots. As a child he soared academically and had a passion for science and the scientific method. He received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1924, a M.A. from Columbia University in 1928, and his Ph.D. in psychotherapy from Columbia University in 1931. Before touring colleges to give lectures, Rogers taught at a number of universities. During this time he authored over a hundred publications explaining his theory of personality development and received various awards and recognitions for his contributions to the world of psychology.
Carl Roger recalls speaking at the University of Minnesota in December of 1941; ???After I got through giving my talk and giving some of my newer ideas I was developing, there was just a furor of discussion and questions and attack and disagreement. And I seemed to realize, ???Hey, I??™m not just speaking for everyone, I seem to be saying something quite new and different.??™??? As he continued to develop these ideas and theories self actualization and client-centered therapy was born. He believed that humans have one basic motive that is the tendency to self-actualize or to fulfill ones potential and achieve the highest level of human-beingness we can. Everyone has the potential to flourish given the proper conditions are provided in their environment. However, the potential of the individual human is unique, and we are meant to develop in different ways according to our personality. While Rogers believed that people are inherently good and creative, He also believed that they become destructive when a poor self-concept or external constraints override the valuing process. Self ??“Actualization will occur when the Client???s ???ideal self??? (who they would like to be) congruent with their ???self image??? (actual behavior
Client-centered therapy was developed by Carl Rogers and in 1965 he did a video interview with a woman named Gloria to demonstrate the power and effect of Client- Centered therapy. He believed that in order to successfully help your client, the conditions and the relationship between client and therapist needed to be ideal. These ideal conditions are for the therapist to be genuine, transparent, and connect with the client. The Therapist should be as real with the client as possible, only expressing their views and opinions in a non-imposing way. When the client believes they are truly being heard and understood they will begin to explore more deeply and discover hidden aspects of themselves. As this self-actualization occurs within the patient, the therapist should feel praise; consequently the patient will praise themselves and change their view of themselves.
Genuineness is the most important attribute in counseling, according to Rogers. This means that, unlike the psychodynamic therapist who generally maintains a blank screen and reveals little of their own personality in therapy, the Rogerian is keen to allow the client to experience them as they really are. The therapist does not have a facade (like psychoanalysis), that is, the therapists internal and external experiences are one in the same. In short, the therapist is authentic.
The goal in client-centered therapy is for the client to align their ideal self with the actual experience. A person??™s ideal self usually is not consistent with their actual experiences. The difference between a person??™s ideal self and actual experience is incongruence. When they are consistent or very similar, congruence exists. Rarely, if ever does a total state of congruence exist; all people experience a certain amount of incongruence. The closer our self-image and ideal-self are to each other, the higher our sense of self-worth.
Based on this work, a national opinion survey of American counseling and clinical psychologists, published in 1982 ranked Rogers as psychotherapys most influential figure. While he received high praise of his psychotherapy few of the surveyed psychologists actually used his methods of client-centered therapy.
In addition to Client-centered therapy, Rogers also theorized the development of personality. In the development of the self concept he saw conditional and unconditional positive regard as key. Those raised in an environment of unconditional positive regard have the opportunity to fully actualize themselves. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard only feel worthy if they match conditions (what Rogers describes as conditions of worth) that have been laid down by others. Optimal development, results in a certain process rather than static state. He describes this as the good life where the organism continually aims to fulfill their full potential. Roger??™s list of characteristics of a fully functioning person is: A growing openness to experience, an increasingly existential lifestyle, Increasing organism trust, Freedom of choice, Creativity, Reliability and constructiveness, and a rich full life.
Rogers believed that humans instinctively value unconditional positive regard, especially children. Unconditional Positive Regard is blanket acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does. Rogers believes that unconditional positive regard is essential to healthy development. People who have not experienced it may come to see themselves in the negative ways that others have made them feel. By providing unconditional positive regard, humanist therapists seek to help their clients accept and take responsibility for themselves. Humanist psychologists believe that by showing the client unconditional positive regard and acceptance, the therapist is providing the best possible conditions for personal growth to the client. However, conditional positive regard rewards the child only when he or she is displaying desired actions which Rogers called conditions of worth. Those raised in an environment of conditional positive regard feel worthy only if they match conditions that have been laid down for them by others. He believed that the child will feel that they are loved for their actions, rather than who they are.
Carl Rogers simplified talking therapy that many believe works so well. The concept is so simple, and logical. Rogers found a unique and simple way of communicating with clients. Carl Rogers was the inventor and instigator of an incisive and effective type of common-sense client-centered therapy, without the excess of Freud??™s sexual repression and buried memories. Rogers realized that people understand themselves best when they view matters from the view point of their own unique experience, perceptions and feelings. Each person??™s unique outlook is the major factor affecting behavior.
Rogers understood perfectly that healthy people are aware, or can easily become aware, of the reasons for their behavior. Healthy people are innately good and effective and therefore able to achieve their goals. The only thing stopping them is faulty learning.

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