Basic Psychology, History Of Psychology

Carl Rogers

Carl Rogers was an American psychologist known for his influential psychotherapy method known as client-centered therapy. Rogers was one of the founding figures of humanistic psychology and widely regarded as one of the most eminent thinkers in psychology. In one survey of professional psychologists, Rogers was ranked as the sixth most eminent psychologist of the 20th-century.

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Carl Rogers was a psychologist and educator who along with Abraham Maslow founded the Humanistic Approach’ to psychology. .As a teenager, living on a farm nurtured an interest in agriculture which later led to an interest in science, but he also developed a special compassion and understanding for people. He was a very good listener, but it took him some time to find his own path. He changed his major three times before settling on clinical psychology. He rejected the dominant approaches to Psychotherapy and Psychology of the time based on his experience with troubled children, and started developing his own approach. He worked as psychotherapist while teaching, which gave him unique opportunities to explore his ideas. His Person-Centered approach would end up turning the fields of Psychotherapy and Psychology upside down. The approach transferred equally well to education, industry, and conflict resolution. Believing the therapist and client to be equals, his approach changed forever the therapist-client relationship. He believed strongly that, with help, people are capable of understanding their own problems and figuring out how to solve them for themselves. He was relentless in researching, testing, and understanding his approach and the human mind.

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Roger’s life in a nutshell

1902 (January 8th) : Born in Oak Park, Chicago to Walter Rogers and his wife, Julia Cushing. Carl was the fourth of six children.


1919 (September) : Attended University of Wisconsin where he studied agriculture


1921 (September) : Changed course and began studying History at the University of Wisconsin.


1924  : Attended the Union Theological Seminary, New York, with a view to becoming a church minister.


1924 (August 28th) : Married Helen Elliot.


1926  : Decided against Religion as a career and went to study Psychology at Teachers College, University of Columbia.


1928 : He became a child psychologist at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. During his work in the Child Study Department, his theories about personality began to develop.


1931 (March 20th) : Gained PhD in Psychotherapy from Columbia University.


1939 :  based on his work with disadvantaged and often distressed children at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, he published his first book, ‘The Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child’.

1940 (December 11th) : Made a speech to the University of Minnesota’s Psychological Honors Society and client-centered therapy is explained for the first time.


1942 : he released ‘Counseling and Psychotherapy’ where he described his ‘non-directive approach’ including full transcripts of his therapy sessions with his client, Herbert Bryan.


1951 (onwards) : Roger’s theories were centred around the Nineteen Propositions, client centred counselling and the use of Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR).


1961  : Published ‘On Becoming a Person’, a collection of writings and lectures from the past 10 years. In this book, he described how he developed his person-centered approach to therapy.

1968  : Formed the Center for Studies of the Person (CSP).


1987 (February 4th) : Died in La Jolla, California.

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