Carl Rogers's Theory

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Born in 1902, Carl Rogers was brought up in a very religious family who believed in the virtues of hard work. At the age of twelve, his family bought a farm – Rogers believed one of their reasons for doing so to remove the adolescents of the family from the temptations of suburban life. It was in this new farm environment that Rogers demonstrated much aptitude and interest in science, including scientific controls.

Rogers early years in college opened up his understanding of the world. Here, Rogers was given the opportunity to travel to China, see the impact World War II had on French German relations (they hated one another, despite each being a likeable individual), was forced to expand his thinking outside the religious beliefs his
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Optimal level of human functioning achieved when need for PR is satisfied
The person centered approach is based on the hypothesis that individuals:
• have the resources to understand themselves, to alter their own concept of self and alter their behaviour (Rogers, 1979) i.e. that they can self-heal
• “have a basically positive direction” (Rogers, 1989: 27 edited by others, check ref). Rogers believed that people, as organisms, have the tendency to develop so as to “maintain or enhance the organism” i.e. self-actualise (Rogers, 1959: 196). Like the potatoes left in Rogers’ farmhouse basement that sprouted and grew to the light – their conditions were unfavourable, but the still strived to be. (Rogers, 1979).

Rogers’ hypothesised that there are six conditions were required for PCT to have effect:

1. Two persons are in psychological contact
Simply put, the client and therapist are aware of one another (Rogers,
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(Rogers, 1957)

3. The therapist is congruent in the relationship
The therapist needs to be genuine, put up no façade. Rogers describes this as being “transparent”. (Rogers, 1979)

4. The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client
The therapist accepts the person as they are, puts no condition on valuing them, separates the behaviour from the person. When they know they are not being judged, it allows the client to think perhaps they do not have to judge themselves (Rogers, 1975?)

5. The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s frame of reference and communicates this experience to the client
When the client is empathically heard, they get greater understanding of themselves. (Rogers, 1979)

6. The communication to the client of the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard are to some degree achieved
PCT emphasises the relationship between the counsellor and the client. For PCT to be effective, the client must be aware, to some level, of the existence of the therapist’s empathy and unconditional positive regard for the client. If not, they do not exist in the relationship for client and so change cannot occur in therapy (Rogers,

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