Carl Rogers
  • Born January 8, 1902 (Oak Park, Illinois)
  • Died February 4, 1987 at the age of 85

"Experience is, for me, the highest authority. The touchstone of validity is my own experience. No other person's ideas, and none of my own ideas, are as authoritative as my experience. It is to experience that I must return again and again, to discover a closer approximation to truth as it is in the process of becoming in me." -Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person

Carl Rogers was a humanistic psychologist. Although he was heavily influenced by Abraham Maslow, he proposed that in order for a person to have growth, they need an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard), and empathy (being listened to and understood). Rogers believed that every person could reach their goals, wishes, and desires. He called this success Self-actualization. Self-actualization is when a person reaches their goals. For a person to reach their potential, a number of factors must be satisfied.
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Carl Rogers Video: On Becoming a Person
Humanistic Pshychology: The Third Force

Examples of how theory applies in education/training
Learner-Centered Teaching
  • “A person cannot teach another person directly; a person can only facilitate another's learning” (Rogers, 1951).
  • “A person learns significantly only those things that are perceived as being involved in the maintenance of or enhancement of the structure of self” (Rogers, 1951).
  • “Experience which, if assimilated, would involve a change in the organization of self, tends to be resisted through denial or distortion of symbolism” (Rogers, 1951).
  • “The structure and organization of self appears to become more rigid under threats and to relax its boundaries when completely free from threat” (Rogers, 1951).
  • “The educational situation which most effectively promotes significant learning is one in which (a) threat to the self of the learner is reduced to a minimum and (b) differentiated perception of the field is facilitated” (Rogers, 1951).
Rogerian Rhetorical Approach
  • Carl Rogers described his principles of communications as a method of discussion based on finding a common ground.
  • He proposed trying to understand our adversary’s position by listening to them before adopting a view point without those factors in mind.
  • The principles of communications attempts to find compromise between two sides.
  • Carl Rogers influenced the writers of the Rhetoric: Discovery and Change, which was influential in college writing. The method of argument involves each side restating the person’s position, rather than dismissing them.
  • 1955 Nicholas Murray Butler Silver Medal
  • 1956 First President of American Academy of Psychotherapist and special contribution award, American Psychological Association
  • 1964 selected as humanist of the year, American Humanist Association
  • 1968 honorary doctorate, Gonzaga University
  • 1972 distinguished professional psychologist award, Division of Psychotherapy

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