• Carl Rogers was born January 8, 1902, in a small suburb of Oak Park,
Illinois right outside of Chicago. He was the fourth of six children
• His parents were strict Protestants and worked hard to keep society from
corrupting their children. When Carl was a teenager his family moved to
a farm in Glen Ellen, Illinois.
• This is where he became interested in the science of agriculture. He
decided to go to college at the University of Wisconsin at Madison to
pursue a career in farming
• After his graduation from college, he married his long time girlfriend
Helen, and they had a son and a daughter.
• After many decades of his influential research and publications, Carl
Rogers finished out the rest of his days in La Jolla, California, where he
worked for a short time at the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute.
While enrolled at the University of Wisconsin he started attending
Christian revival meetings and decided to change his major to history
instead of agriculture. He had decided to become a minister after
Rogers was then interested in studying religion and applied to the Union
Theological Seminary in New York City. It was here where he began
taking psychology classes at the Teachers College of Columbia
Rogers later transferred completely to the Teachers College when
inspired by such instructors as Watson, Goodwin, Leta Hollingworth and
William Heard Kilpatrick.
• Rogers later went on to pursue a career at Rochester, Ohio State
University, the University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin, and the
Western Behavioral Sciences Institute in California.
• Rogers also became the director of the Rochester Guidance Center.
Rogers’ dissertation while attending the Teacher’s College was Personality
• The publication was so popular that in a span of 50 years it sold over half
a million copies. In 1939, he published his first book called The Clinical
Treatment of the Problem Child. Rogers then took a full teaching position
at Ohio State University and subsequently started work on his second book
entitled Counseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice.
• After only four years he decided to transfer to the University of Chicago in
which he started the Counseling Center, and he was also a professor in
the psychology department. It was here, he began working on his new
approach to counseling now known as “client-centered” therapy. Also
during this time, he wrote another book entitled Client-Centered Therapy:
It’s Current Practice, Implications and Theory.
• Association the first “Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award” in
• Rogers is also well known for his work with the American Association of
Orthopsychiatry and the American Association of Social Workers.
During the 1940s and 1950s he was the president of the American
Psychological Association as well.
• Rogers was well known for being the first to record his therapy sessions,
thus demonstrating his theories and beliefs.
• Provided audio recordings and training videos for other
psychotherapists to use as training materials.
• While at the University of Wisconsin, he wrote one of the most
influential books, in 1961, entitled, On Becoming a Person: A Therapists
View of Psychotherapy.
Assumptions• Rogers is well known for his work in “client-centered” approach used in
psychotherapy. His belief was that the client was in charge of their own
• The therapist was just there to guide the client in the right direction. He
believed that in order for a client/therapist relationship to develop the
therapist must embody these characteristics unconditional positive
regard, empathy, and congruence.
• He also had a “self-theory” in which he described how the client views
himself/herself, and how through therapy can help change their view
• Roger’s theories and principals put together are better known today as
“Humanistic Psychology,” His version focused more on helping the
individual help themselves instead of diagnosing.
• Roger’s interest in the client achieving his/her full potential in life is what
we know as “self-actualizing”, and thus, leading the client to become
a “full-functioning person,” whisk is fact was the ultimate goal.
Stages of Theory
Self Actualization Tendency= is the built-in tendency to develop in a
positive way. Those who have self-actualized have achieved
autonomy, self-sufficiency, and personal growth.
The person centered assumes that each person has a need for
Unconditional Positive Regard = acceptance, respect, sympathy,
and love regardless of performance.
Most people receive Conditional Positive Regard = is acceptance
only for doing what parents or society insists upon; the person is
valued for what he/she does, not for who he/she is.
Individuals may lose sight of their true worth by receiving
Conditional Positive Regard. = They will leave the path of self-
actualization and look to others for positive regard.
Threat = occurs when we perceive incongruity between our
experiences and our self-concept; when we no longer regard ourselves
as a consistent whole but as fragmented and false.
When expecting a threatening situation, we feel Anxiety. Anxiety is a
signal indicating that there is trouble ahead, avoid the situation! We
avoid the situation by using Defenses.
Two defenses: Denial – blocking out the threatening situation
altogether; Perceptual Distortion- reinterpreting the situation so that it
appears less threatening.
Stages of Theory
Client-Centered-The client should say what is wrong, find ways of
improving, and determine the conclusion of therapy.
Reflection- Mirroring of emotional communication so the client
understands that the therapist is listening and cares enough to
Requirements of the therapist
1. Congruence- genuineness, honesty with the client
2. Empathy- the ability to feel what the client feels.
3. Respect- acceptance, unconditional positive regard towards the
These qualities are necessary and sufficient
Developed the “Person Centered Theory”
Rogers was the 1st
to record/video tape sessions for educational
to refer to the person as a “Client” instead of patient
Coined the term “Self Theory” the client views themselves, and how
through therapy they can change their view of the future and how they
desire to live.
Rogers believed that “the core of man’s nature is essentially positive”.
Victims of violent crimes would disagree.
Rogers believed that “the core of man’s nature is essentially
positive”. Victims of violent crimes would disagree.
Rogers believed humans were essentially “trustworthy Organisms:
Rogers “Actualizing Tendency” is contradictory to his belief that
people are essentially good and trustworthy.
The Idea of “Ideal Self”- (What I want to be) may be very far from
what is actual and/or realistic.
How Rogers Theories May Be
Used in Educational Practice
As educational counselors, Roger’s theory of “Person Centered
Therapy” may be very helpful in guiding students to pursue their
By using Roger’s techniques of “Humanistic Psychology”
counselors can help students help themselves.
Through creating a positive relationship with the students the
counselor has the opportunity to instill, “conditions of worth” in
Heppner, P. P., Rogers, M. E., & Lee, L. A. (1984). Carl Rogers:
Reflections on his life [Electronic version]. Journal of
Counseling and Development, 63, 14-20.
Kirschenbaum, H. (2004). Carl Rogers’s life and works: An
assessment on the 100th
anniversary of his birth [Electronic
version]. Journal of Counseling and Development, 82, 116-
Goldstein, J.H.,& Wallace, P.M. (1997). An Introduction to
psychology. McGraw Hill, Boston Massacheusetts.
Boeree, G.C., (2006). Carl Rogers [Electronic version].
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