Person-Centered Theory of Personality
Carl Rogers’ influence on the field of counseling is profound. Often referred to as the third force in counseling and psychology (behind psychoanalysis and behaviorism), Rogers was part of a large humanistic movement that began after the second World War. This movement included other humanists such as James Bugental, Abraham Maslow, Rollo May, and Gordon Allport. In contrast to the Freudian perspective of human nature, which was considered fatalistic and pessimistic, humanists supported a view of human nature as positive and focused on the actualizing tendency of people to become. DeCarvalho (1990) conveys James Bugental’s conceptualization of humanistic psychology: “A person supersedes the sum of his or her parts; we are affected by our relationships with others; that a person is aware; that a person has choice; that a person is intentional” (p. 29).
It is common for graduate learners to be intrigued with Rogers and the basic tenants of his approach, which are:
• Unconditional positive regard.
However, demonstrating each of these qualities as a counselor does not make one a Rogerian and is most definitely too simplistic. Try, for example, to demonstrate unconditional positive regard to those around you—strangers, acquaintances, friends, family—for three days. How easy is that task? Likely not that easy. Trying to understand another person from a phenomenological perspective (that is, the person’s individual realities) is frequently constrained by our own values and judgment systems. This view of personality, probably more so than any other theory, requires one to walk the walk, and not just talk the talk.
You are encouraged to fully contemplate Rogers during this unit and attempt to practice unconditional positive regard. You may find this to be an eye-opening experience!
DeCarvalho, R. J. (1990). A history of the third force in psychology. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 30(4), 20–44.
• To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Identify the major tenets of Rogers’s person-centered theory of personality.
2. Consider perspectives on the person-centered approach from an expert in the field.
3. Compare the similarities and differences between the person-centered approach and other, more outcomes-based approaches.
4. Evaluate the person-centered approach based on literature reviewed in this unit.
5. Analyze the construct of self-esteem from a Rogerian perspective.
6. Submit your film selection for the course project.
Learning Activities Studies
Complete the following tasks:
• In the Theories of Personality text, read Chapter 10, “Carl Rogers: Self-Actualization Theory,” on pages 265–282. This chapter introduces Rogers’s theory, discusses clinical applications of the theory, describes the major components of personality from Rogers’s perspective, and identifies recent developments and movements related to Rogers’s theory.
• Read Kirschenbaum and Jourdan’s 2005 article, “The Current Status of Carl Rogers and the Person-Centered Approach” from Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, volume 42, issue 1, pages 37–51. This library article provides additional, current perspective on Rogers’s theory.
Discussion 1: 1 page needed with two references.
Viewpoints on the Person-Centered Approach
In recent years, some have argued that the person-centered approach to counseling has fallen out of favor, with counselors using more outcomes-based approaches. For this discussion:
• create a post that:
o Compares the similarities and differences between the person-centered approach and the other theories you have explored in the course.
o Describes myths regarding why the person-centered approach may be viewed less favorably than other approaches.
o Provides your own evaluation of the person-centered approach.
• Use the Kirschenbaum and Jourdan article, “The Current Status of Carl Rogers and the Person-Centered Approach,” to substantiate your post.
Discussion 2: 1 page needed with two references.
The Construct of Self-Esteem
In your assessment of self-esteem for this unit:
• Discuss how a Rogerian perspective would explain the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people with low self-esteem.
• Explain how this theoretical orientation suggests a means to assist people in overcoming their sense of low self-esteem.
• Use the readings in the Theories of Personality text for this unit to support your discussion.