Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was ‘the most influential psychologist in American history’ (Kirshenbaum, 1989:11). Since the study of personality began, personality theorists have offered a wide assortment of explanations about behaviour and about what constructs a person. Carl Rogers was the main originator of the ‘person centred’ approach, also referred to as the ‘nondirective’ or ‘client centred’ approach. This essay will offer a brief description about some of the main concepts in Carl Rogers’ person centred theory. Mainly covering topics such as his philosophy of theory, his theory of personality, how we acquire dysfunction and how we treat dysfunction. Carl Rogers’ approach has often been called the ‘Third Force’ in psychology (Casemore,
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Individuals who are blessed with a loving and supporting environment throughout their childhood will receive the necessary reinforcement to guarantee the nourishment of their actualising tendency. If this ideal environment were present, the individuals organismic valuing process would be in good order, this would be enable them to ‘move through life with a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment’ (Mearns and Thorne, 2007:12). The individual would be on their way to becoming a fully functioning, or a fully actualised person.
The development of the self and the self-concept plays a big part in Rogers’ actualising tendency. Rogers states that as the infant develops, they begin to recognize a portion of their private world as ‘I’ ‘Me’ ‘Myself’. These elements that the infant controls from their experiences are part of the self. If they don’t control these experiences they become less part of the self (Simanowitz, 2003), the ‘self’ is said to be the ‘real inner life of a person’ the organismic self (Dryden and Mytton, 1999:71).
As children develop, a self-concept emerges that is often different from the ‘real’ organismic inner self. The self-concept is the individual’s personal construction of themselves, which has developed in response to significant others (Simanowitz, 2003). As parents, carers and teachers praise or blame, show warmth or repress and criticize, the child