The Construct of Self-Esteem

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According to the Rogerian theory regarding the self “the individual perceives external objects and experiences, and attaches meanings to them.... [The] self-concept represents an organized and consistent pattern of perceptions. Although the self changes, it always retains this patterned, integrated, organized quality...[and] the ideal self is the self-concept that an individual would most like to possess” (Pervin 2005 p. 173). He also presented the concept of the need for positive regard. “The need for positive regard includes seeking warmth, liking, respect, sympathy, and acceptance and is seen in the infant’s need for love and affection (Pervin 2005 p. 185).

Since Rogers thought of the theory of self as the individual perceiving external objects and experiences and attaching meanings to them and the concept of the need for positive regard, he may have posited that low self-esteem may have been the result of the lack of positive regard from others.

Rogers may have thought of several ways in which to boost one’s self-esteem. First, Rogers “believed that people had the capacity to report, in a highly meaningful manner, on the nature of their own psychological experience” (Pervin 2005 p. 173) so in his belief in the person-centered approach, the undirected client can speak of his or her feelings of low self-esteem and thereby work out for themselves why they should or should not feel that way. Second, Rogers theorized that the self wants and does change as shown in his belief in “people’s basic tendency is toward self-actualization” (Pervin 2005 p 179). Pervin (2005) also quoted Rogers as stating “The organism has one basic tendency and striving—to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism.”

Reference:

Pervin, L.A., Cervone, D., & Oliver, J.P. (2005). HS5214: Theories of personality [Custom]. New York; Wiley
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