Who was Carl Rogers?
Carl Rogers was born on the 8th of January 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois.
In 1919 he began studying agriculture, but later graduated with a Bachelors degree in History. His interest turned to religion and he completed a masters degree, and eventually graduated with a phd from Columbia university in 1931.
During his professional career he held positions at the Ohio State University, the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin. He developed his treatment approach, initially termed the “non-directive therapy”, during his time in Wisconsin. He became the founder of what is known as humanist psychology.
In 1946 Rogers was elected President of the American Psychological Association.
He began working at the Western Behavioural Studies Institute in La Jolla, California, and later changed to the Centre for Studies of the Person, also in La Jolla.
He worked as a person centre therapist until his death on the 4th of February 1987.
He was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987.
The PCA – person-centred approach:
The person centred approach, that initially had been termed ‘non-directive therapy’, had extensive impact on the development of psychotherapy and psychology in general.
Rogers’ approach saw the patient as the expert of his own state and the director of the therapeutic progression, and the therapist as a mere facilitator of the space for the patient to develop in. To Rogers, the patient was the one who could pronounce what was in disequilibrium, and could determine methods to recover the balance. This was much in opposition to the until then common view that psychotherapy had to be therapist led and directed.
Rogers belief was that all beings were inherently good! Disequilibrium, a state of ill health, was to him therefore a distortion of the fundamental, natural disposition. To him, all beings strive to optimize in every possible way. They have a motivation, a tendency to ‘self-actualize’. To instigate these processes in the individual, Rogers stressed that in particular 3 qualities of a therapist should be provided for the patient:
The therapist should be congruent, that is, authentic and genuine towards the patient,
should meet the patient with empathy, by understanding and apprehending the patient in his state, and
should accept the patient with respect and unconditional positive regard.
Boeree, C. (2006) Carl Rogers [online] last accessed August 2014, at URL: http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/Rogers.html
Cherry, K. (n.d.) Carl Rogers Biography (1902-1987) [online] last accessed August 2014, at URL:
Rogers, N. (n.d.) Carl Rogers [online] last accessed August 2014, at URL: http://www.nrogers.com/carlrogersbio.html
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