Carl Rogers and His Theory of Personality Essays

3414 Words Apr 19th, 2012 14 Pages
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, …show more content…
The first of these is the physiological need, those basic needs for continuing life, for example, water, oxygen, bodily elimination, avoidance of pain and sexual expression. The second is safety and security, the third is love and belonging, the forth is self-esteem and the fifth is to self-actualise (Hough, 2010). In developing his person centred approach Rogers was highly influenced by Maslow and the concept of Self-actualisation. Self-actualisation is a person’s basic desire is to be all that they are capable of becoming. The actualising tendency is the term which Rogers used to describe this human urge to grow, to develop and to reach maximum potential (Kirshenbaum, 1989).
In the words of Dryden and Mytton (1999:67), ‘Plants have an innate tendency to grow from a seed towards their full potential, flowering and bearing fruit’. Rogers believed that the same is true for all human beings. He believed that the actualising tendency is a positive, formative, instinctual and developmental tendency inherent in all human beings, and other organisms, from birth onwards. An infant knows what good and bad experiences are, they embrace positive experiences and avoid experiences in which are bad for them. Rogers also believed that the actualising tendency in humans can be supressed and twisted by our experiences, although if given the right conditions and the right opportunities the infant will stride towards autonomy and self-direction
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