Born on the 8th of January 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois, Carl was the fourth of the six children of the Rogers family. The father was a successful engineer and the mother was a housewife and a devoted Christian. Receiving a strict and religious education, Carl became an independent and self-disciplined young adult.
Carl’s Education History
Originally, Carl wished to specialize in agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, but soon his professional goals shifted away towards religion, following a course for six months in Beijing at “World Christian Students Federation Conference” to become a priest.
However, this experience widened some of his ideological perspectives to the extent where he began to doubt of some of the basic principles of religion and as such, he chooses a different career: clinical psychology.
In 1930 Rogers becomes the director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and finishes his clinical psychology program at Columbia University’s where he obtains his Ph.D. in 1931.
According to Carl Rogers, every individual has strong drives towards growth, health,
adaptation; towards what is defined as self-realization. Being defensive, anxious or accumulated tensions can block these motives and the person loses the contact with the self, or his/her authenticity. Psychological problems derive from the fact that the person has absorbed ideas, thoughts, feelings, or values of others that are not beneficial or aligned with his/her personality/life. The purpose of the Rogerian therapy is to help patients regain contact with themselves, regain their authenticity, true feelings, and values with the help of counselor’s unconditional positive regard and empathy.
Thus, the psychotherapist empowers the patient to reach his/her full potential and rebuild confidence in her/his abilities to live according to their own principles by using own resources. It can be said that the Rogerian theory does not focus on general symptoms and diagnosis, but rather on individual’s personality and skills.
Rogers claimed that the first step in reaching self-actualization, an individual should first abandon defensiveness and embrace changes. Once that a patient becomes open to new experiences or concepts, s/he will develop trust in the self, which subsequently helps her/him to take responsibility for own actions, become reliable and confident enough to make constructive choices.
The person-centered therapy has received acceptance and recognition for its benefits and as such, it is highly applied in education, cultural organizations or mental health institutions.
Carl Rogers’s Major Publications
- The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child- Rogers, Carmichael, Leonard (1939).
- Counseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice. (1942)
- Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications, and Theory (1951)
- The necessary and sufficient conditions of therapeutic personality change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 21: 95-103. (1957)
- A Theory of Therapy, Personality and Interpersonal Relationships as Developed in the Client-centered Framework.(1959)
- On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy. (1961)
- Freedom to Learn: A View of What Education Might Become (1969)
- On Encounter Groups (1970)
- On Personal Power: Inner Strength and Its Revolutionary Impact. (1977).
- A Way of Being. (1980)
- Person to Person: The Problem of Being Human. (1967)
For more information on Roger’s person-centered therapy, please visit https://www.simplypsychology.org/client-centred-therapy.html