Person Centered Theory

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Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was a humanistic psychologist agreed with most of what Maslow believed, but added that for a person to "grow", they need an environment that provides them with genuinness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood).

Without these, relationships and healthy personalities will not develop as they should, much like a tree will not grow without sunlight and water. Rogers believed that every person can achieve their goals, wishes and desires in life. When, or rather if they did so, self actualization took place. This was one of Carl Rogers most important contributions to psychology and for a person to reach their potential a number of factors must be satisfied. Self Actualization

"The organism has one basic tendency and striving - to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism” (Rogers, 1951, p.487).

Carl Rogers rejected the deterministic nature of both psychoanalysis and behaviourism and maintained that we behave as we do because of the way we perceive our situation. "As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the best experts on ourselves." Rogers (1959) believed that humans have one basic motive, that is the tendency to self-actualize - i.e. to fulfil one's potential and achieve the highest level of 'human-beingness' we can. Like a flower that will grow to its full potential if the conditions are right, but which is constrained by its environment, so people will flourish and reach their potential if their environment is good enough. However, unlike a flower, the potential of the individual human is unique, and we are meant to develop in different ways according to our personality. Rogers believed that people are inherently good and creative. They become destructive only when a poor self-concept or external constraints override the valuing process. Roger’s believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence. This means that self-actualization occurs when a person’s “ideal self” (i.e. who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behaviour (self-image). Rogers' describes an individual who is actualizing as a fully functioning person. The main determinant of whether we will become self-actualized is childhood experience. Carl Rogers Personality Development

Central to Rogers' personality theory is the notion of self or Self-Concept. This is defined as "the organised, consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about oneself". The self is the humanistic term for who we really are as a person. The self is our inner personality, and can be likened to the soul, or Freud's psyche. The self is influenced by the experiences a person has in their life, and out interpretations of those experiences. Two primary sources that influence our self-concept are childhood experiences and evaluation by others. According to Rogers, we want to feel, experience and behave in ways which are consistent with our self-image and which reflect what we would like to be like, our ideal-self. The closer our self-image and ideal-self are to each other, the more consistent or congruent we are and the higher our sense of self-worth. A person is said to be in a state of incongruence if some of the totality of their experience is unacceptable to them and is denied or distorted in the self-image. The humanistic approach states that the self is composed of concepts unique to ourselves. The self-concept includes three components: Self worth (or self-esteem) – what we think about ourselves. Rogers believed feelings of self-worth developed in early childhood and were formed from the interaction of the child with the mother and father. Self-image – How we see ourselves, which is important to good psychological health. Self-image includes the influence of our body image on inner personality. At a simple level, we might perceive ourselves as a good or bad person,...
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