Carl Rogers is known today as one of the most popular and influential American psychologists and is among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology. He was born on January 8, 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. He was one of six children to Walter Rogers and Julia Cushing. His father was a very successful civil engineer and his mother was a housewife, as many women were during this time period. At the age of twelve, Carl Rogers and his family moved to a farm about 30 miles west of Chicago and it was here that he was to spend his adolescence. Julia Cushing, a devout Christian, had Carl Rogers begin his education in a strict religious environment. Due to his harsh upbringing, Rogers became rather isolated, independent, and self-disciplined. With the ability to read well before kindergarten, it was obvious that Rogers was ahead of his peers when it came to child development. He planned to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study agriculture with undergraduate focus on history and religion, but then switched to religion to study for the ministry. During this time, Rogers was selected for a trip to Beijing, China for the “World Student Christian Federation Conference” for six months that would ironically result in him doubting his religious beliefs. After having these doubts, Rogers attended a seminar named, “Why am I Entering the Ministry?’’ for two years. He graduated the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and would soon after change his career choice. After graduation he married Helen Elliot and switched to the clinical psychology program of Columbia University, and received his Ph.D. in 1931. He then began clinical work at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. It was there that he learned about Otto Rank’s theory and therapy techniques and began to develop his own approach. In 1945, Rogers was invited to set up a counseling center at the University of...
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