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Carl rogers

Carl Rogers

Gudoo! Don’t you have any manners? You are eating like an animal!" slap!

"Look at the time!" slap! "Is it the time to play?" "If you don’t study you will become one of the street beggars!"

"How many times have I told you not to run around the house? Now I won’t let you out of your room for two hours!"

How many times have the parents around the world used these kinds of statements and spankings to "train" their children? To teach them "manners"

And the results of such kind of "training" a mystery to them.

In the above example "Gudoo" has a self concept that he is a good, energetic child, who wants to become a famous cricketer. But due to his parents’ over guidance and lack of approval in the type of profession and things he’d like to choose, the child will have to revise his self-image and values somehow. He may decide that he is a bad boy for not wanting what his parents want; he may decide that his parents do not like him; or he may decide that he is ill mannered, he shouldn’t be so energetic, and that he is not interested in cricket after all.

Effects of Compulsion

Any of the forgoing choices will distort the child’s reality, for he is not bad, and his parents do like him, he is energetic, and he does want to become a cricketer.

If he continues to do this sort of thing as his values are undervaluing and disapproving by others his self will end up divided against itself .He will feel as if he does not really know what he is and what he wants and he will be tense, uncomfortable, and out of sorts.

For example, if a parent insists that a child behave like a "nice little boy" in order to receive love and affection, the child will begin to value experience in terms of the parental image of "niceness" rather than in terms of his own individual reaction to them. Instead of being free to discover how it would feel to say a "naughty" word, put a cockroach in his sister’s bed, or steal a toy from a friend, he prejudges the experiences as bad and condemns them. Thus, the child behavior comes to be guided not by the degree to which experiences maintain or enhance his self-concept but instead by the likelihood of receiving positive regard from the relevant people in his life. Rogers considered this state of incongruity between self and experience as the most serious obstacle in the path of development towards psychological maturity.

According to Rogers, if parents’ evaluations of children are typically both positive and negative, and they set conditions under which the child feels worthy or unworthy the child he will never be able to recognize him self and his potentials. And his personality will have a very negative impact.

To examine this theory more closely with subsequent exploration of Rogers' view of self and his view of the human condition. A brief overall assessment will conclude the discussion. While Rogers' humanistic conception of personality has both strengths and weaknesses, it is a valuable contribution to the study of persons, recognizing ability, free will and the importance of the self.


Rogers sees people as basically good or healthy -- or at very least, not bad or ill. In other words, he sees mental health as the normal progression of life, and he sees mental illness, criminality, and other human problems, as distortions of that natural tendency. Rogers approach to the study of persons is phenomenological and idiographic. His view of human behavior is that it is "exquisitely rational". Furthermore, in his opinion: "the core of man's nature is essentially positive" and he is a "trustworthy organism". These beliefs are reflected in his theory of personality.

Rogers concluded that the innermost core of human nature is essentially purposive, forward-moving, constructive, realistic, and quite trustworthy. He regarded the person as an active force of energy oriented towards future goals and self directed purposes, rather than a creature pushed and pulled by force beyond his or her control. Such a viewpoint clearly implies the faith of the inherent goodness of human nature a belief that if the innate potential of this nature is allowed to unfold and blossom, optimal personal development and effectiveness will result.

Carl Rogers’ Person-Centered Theory

It should be clear from the proceeding discussion that the concept of self is crucial to the approach taken by Rogers. Infact, the construct of self is such an indispensable part of Rogers theory that some psychologists have designed it "self theory". Surprisingly, however Rogers did not begin his theorizing by assuming the importance of the self in human experience. Rather, he started with the notion of the self as "a vague, ambiguous, scientific, meaningless term no longer in vogue among respected psychologists". However, his therapy clients persisted in expressing their problems and attitudes in term of the self, and gradually he realized that self was a significant element in human experience and that the client’s goal was to become her or his "real self."


I. Core Tendency: The tendency to actualize one's inherent potentialities. This potential exists in all living organisms, even plants. Humans possess an additional form - the attempt to actualize the self - called self-actualization.

II. Core Characteristics:

A. Self: The person's conscious sense of who and what you are. Is available to awareness, although not always in awareness.

i). Gradually emerges through experiences with verbal labels such as "I" or "Me".

ii). Phenomenological Reality: A person's private perception of reality (whether or not it agrees with objective reality). Experience is the highest authority. If you think you are not good-looking or smart, this is part of your self concept regardless of reality.

B. Real self: It is what "I am" the self concept a person has which is in accordance with his/her potentials. Like if a person has potentials of becoming a sports man he should be aware of his potentials and also aspire of playing sports and not studying medicine.

C. Ideal self: It is what "I should be" Denotes the self concept the individual would most like to possess even though he/she might not have the capabilities. Everyone has a conception of someone that they would want to be like .Like wanting to become a doctor when you have the aptitude of becoming a sports man.


Development of self

Rogers did not formulate a specific timetable of critical stages through which people pass in acquiring a self-concept. Instead, he concentrated on the ways in which evaluations of a person by others, particularly during infancy and early childhood, tend to promote the development of positive and negative self-image. Hence early in life self is a nonentity (does not exist ) ; only the unitary , all encompassing, and undifferentiated phenomenal field is present.

The human organism's "phenomenal field" includes all experiences available at a given moment, both conscious and unconscious .As development occurs, a portion of this field becomes differentiated and this becomes the person's "self" .The "self" is a central construct. It develops through interactions with others and involves awareness of being and functioning. The self-concept is "the organized set of characteristics that the individual perceives as peculiar to himself/herself" It is based largely on the social evaluations he/she has experienced.

At first, the child perceives all experience as unitary, whether produced by bodily sensations or by external stimuli. The infant is not aware of himself or herself as a separate being, as an "I" therefore he or she makes no distinction between what is me and what is not me.

Infants evaluate their experiences according to whether or not they like them, whether they are pleasing or displeasing, and so on. Such evaluations result from their spontaneous responses to direct experiences, be they sensory, visceral, or emotional.

Life’s Master Motive: The Actualizing Tendency

Rogers’ theory is particularly simple one. The entire theory is built on a single "force of life" he calls the actualizing tendency. It can be defined as the built-in motivation present in every life-form to develop its potentials to the fullest extent possible. Rogers believes that all creatures strive to make the very best of their existence. If they fail to do so, it is not for a lack of desire.

Rogers captures with this single great need or motive. He asks us, why do we want air and water and food? Why do we seek safety, love, and a sense of competence? Why, indeed, do we seek to discover new medicines, invent new power sources, or create new works of art?

People, however, in the course of actualizing their potentials, created society and culture. We are social creatures, it is our nature. But when we created culture, it developed a life of its own. Rather than remaining close to other aspects of our natures, culture can become a force in its own right. As much as culture has helped us to survive and prosper, may at the same time serve to harm us, and possibly even destroy us.


Organismic Valuing

Rogers tells us that organisms know what is good for them. Evolution has provided us with the senses, the tastes, the discriminations we need: When we hunger, we find food not just any food, but food that tastes good. Food that tastes bad is likely to be spoiled, rotten, and unhealthy. This is called organismic valuing.

Rogers believes that, if left to their own devices, animals will tend to eat and drink things that are good for them, and consume them in balanced proportions. Babies, too, seem to want and like what they need. Somewhere along the line, however, we have created an environment for ourselves that is significantly different from the one in which we evolved. In this new environment are such things as refined sugar, flour, butter, chocolate, and so on, that our ancestors never knew. These things have flavors that appeal to our organismic valuing.


i) Positive Regards

Rogers contented that all person have a strong desire to be loved and accepted by others that matter to them. This need for positive regard, which Rogers believed was universal, develops as the awareness of self emerges, and it is pervasive and persistent. It is first seen in the infant’s need to be loved and cared for, and is subsequently reflected in the person’s satisfaction when approved by others and frustration when disapproved. Rogers indicated that positive regard may be either learned or innately given to all persons, and although he preferred the former explanation (i.e., it is secondary, learn motive), its origin is unimportant to his theory. An intriguing aspect of positive regard is its reciprocal nature; that is, when a person views himself or herself as satisfying another’s need for positive regard, he or she necessarily experiences satisfaction of his or her own need.

Another thing -- perhaps peculiarly human -- that we value is positive self-regard that is, self-esteem, self-worth, a positive self-image. We achieve this positive self-regard by experiencing the positive regard others show us over our years of growing up. Without this self-regard, we feel small and helpless, and again we fail to become all that we can be!

ii) Conditions Of Worth

Our society also leads us astray with conditions of worth. It is a fact that everyone has a compelling need for positive regard, it is not surprising that they become increasingly sensitive to or influence by, the attitudes and expectations towards them of relevant people in there lives. To put it more bluntly, as a typical part of socializing process, children learn that there are things they can do and things they cannot do. Most often parents will make positive regard for contingent on desirable behaviour by their children. That is, if the children do certain things they will experience positive regard if they do other things they will not.this creates that Rogers called conditional positive regard or conditions of worth . Because we do indeed need positive regard, these conditions are very powerful, and we bend ourselves into a shape determined, not by our organismic valuing or our actualizing tendency, but by a society that may or may not truly have our best interests at heart. A "good little boy or girl" may not be a healthy or happy boy or girl! We get a drink when we finish our class, we get something sweet when we finish our vegetables, and most importantly, we get love and affection if and only if we "behave!"

We begin to like ourselves only if we meet up with the standards others have applied to us, rather than if we are truly actualizing our potentials. And since these standards were created without keeping each individual in mind, more often than not we find ourselves unable to meet them, and therefore unable to maintain any sense of self-esteem


The aspect of your being that is founded in the actualizing tendency, follows organismic valuing, needs and receives positive regard and self-regard, Rogers calls the real self. It is the "you" that, if all goes well, you will become.

On the other hand, to the extent that our society is out of synch with the actualizing tendency, and we are forced to live with conditions of worth that are out of step with organismic valuing, and receive only conditional positive regard and self-regard, we develop instead an ideal self. By ideal, Rogers is suggesting something not real

Rogers, is just as interested in describing the healthy person. The ideal - has received unconditional positive regard, has few conditions of worth, and has congruence between self & potentialities.

Drawbacks Of Incongruence :

A. Prevents self-actualization.

B. Leads to defensive behavior. Major defenses:

1. Denial (repression)

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