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Carl Rogers developed a humanist personality theory that emphasized the importance of self-actualizing tendency in forming a self-concept.
Identify the key points of Roger's theory, and relate them to the larger humanistic perspective of personality.
Carl Rogers was a highly-influential humanistic psychologist who developed a personalitytheory that emphasized the importance of self-actualizing tendency in shaping human personalities.
Rogers believed that humans are constantly reacting with their subjective reality (phenomenal field) which changes continuously.
Over time, a person develops a self-concept based on all the feedback from this field of reality.
In the development of self-concept, positive regard is key.
Unconditional positive regard is an environment that is rid of preconceived notions of value.
Conditional positive regard is an environment that is full of conditions of worth that must be achieved to be considered successful.
Human beings develop an ideal self and a real self based on the conditional status of positive regard.
Correspondence between an aspect of the ideal self and an aspect of the real self is called congruity.
Fully functioning people can achieve ‘the good life' in which they constantly aim to fulfill their potential and allow their personalities to emanate from their experiences.
A psychological perspective which rose to prominence in the mid-20th century in response to psychoanalytic theory and behaviorism; this approach emphasizes an individual's inherent drive towards self-actualization and creativity.
Carl Rogers was a prominent psychologist and one of the founding members of the humanist movement .
Humanistic psychology emphasized the active role of the individual in shaping his/her internal and external world.
Rogers advanced the field by stressing that the human person is an active, creative, experiencing being who lives in the present and subjectively responds to current perceptions, relationships, and encounters.
He coined the term ‘actualizing tendency' which refers to a person's basic instinct to succeed at his/her highest possible capacity.
Through person-centered counseling and scientific therapy research, Rogers formed his theory of personality development, which highlighted free will and the great reservoir of human potential for goodness.
Rogers based his personality development propositions on humanistic (person-centered) psychology and phenomenal field (subjective experience) theory.
He believed that everyone exists in a constantly changing world of experience in which he/she is the center.
A person reacts to changes in his/her phenomenal field in a holistic fashion .
All behavior is motivated by self-actualizing tendencies, which drives a person to achieve at his/her highest level.
As a result of these interactions with the environment and others, an individual forms a structure of the self—an organized, fluid, conceptual pattern of concepts and values related to the self.
In the development of the self-concept, Rogers elevated the importance of positive regard or feedback.
People raised in an environment of unconditional positive regard, in which no preconceived conditions of worth are present, had the opportunity to fully actualize.
People raised in an environment of conditional positive regard, in which certain conditions of worth are laid out by others, must match or achieve those conditions to fully actualize.
The extent to which a person is forced to develop outside of true actualizing tendency determines personality incongruence—the gap between the real self and the ideal self.
Incongruity grows or diminishes based on the conditionality level of positive regard and self-regard, leading to either disorganized and bizarre or organized and functional personalities.
The Good Life
Rogers described life in terms of principles rather than stages of development.
These principles existed in fluid processes rather than static states.
He claimed that a fully functioning person would continually aim to fulfill his/her potential at each of these processes, achieving what he called the good life. These people would allow personality and self-concept to emanate from experience.
He found that fully functioning individuals had several traits or tendencies in common:
Growing openness to experiences and a lack of defensiveness toward anything new.
Increasingly existential lifestyle in which each moment is appreciated and lived to its fullest.
Preponderance for organismic trust of their own judgments and choices.
Greater freedom of choice and a lack of personal restrictions or rules.
Higher levels of creativity and adaptability without necessarily conforming.
Extreme reliability and constructiveness in their dealings with others.
Tendency toward rich, full lives with exciting and intense experiences.
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