CARL ROGERS SUMMARY
Nondirective," "client-centered," and "person-centered." are the terms Rogers used successively, at different points in his career, for his method. This method involves removing obstacles so the client can move forward, freeing him or her for normal growth and development. It emphasizes being fully present with the client and helping the latter truly feel his or her own feelings, desires, etc.. Being "nondirective" lets the client deal with what he or she considers important, at his or her own pace.
Avoidance of Argument. Rogers was willing state his own position clearly, and hear you out and listen to your position carefully. He asked, "Can we learn from each other?" He was not interested in winning arguments.
Case histories. Rogers was the first person to record and publish complete cases of psychotherapy.
Congruence. Open, authentic, communication in which the way I present myself to the world matches what I think and feel at a deeper level. (Incongruence is similar to Jung's persona, or wearing a mask." It may be conscious deception or unconscious self-deception.) Rogers writes, "I have found, in my relations with persons, that in the long run it does not help to pretend to be something I am not."
Avoidance of Control; Responsibility for self. The person-centered therapist consciously avoids control over, or decision-making, for the client, so that the client becomes responsible for himself or herself. This changes the power relationship between therapist and client by putting the control over decision-making, as well as the responsibility for decisions, in the hands of the client.
Curiosity. Rogers was deeply curious. He wanted to really sense, hear, feel what life was like for the other person. He had a phenomenological attitude.
Education. Rogers views our schools as generally rigid, bureaucratic institutions which are resistant to change. Applied to education, his approach becomes "student-centered learning" in which the students are trusted to participate in developing and to take charge of their own learning agendas. The most difficult thing in teaching is to let learn.
Empathic understanding: to try to take in and accept a client's perceptions and feelings as if they were your own, but without losing your boundary/sense of selve.
The facts are always friendly. If new evidence shows that our opinions, views, and hypotheses are mistaken, it leads us closer to what is true. This is learning, and though sometimes painful, it leads to a jore accurate way of seeing life.
Feelings. "A vitally important part of therapy is for the person to learn to recognize and express his feelings as his own feelings, not as a fact about another person." For example, "I feel annoyed by what you are doing," rather than, "What you are doing is all wrong."
The Fully-Functioning Person. Rogers' term for an "ideal personality." A person who is open to her own experience, lives in the moment in an existential fashion, and is fully connected to her own stream of consciousness, which is constantly changing. She trusts her organism and does what "feels right" in a situation. To be "fully functioning" is not a finished state, but a direction we can be moving in.
Human nature. Rogers believed that at a basic level, human beings are good and trustworthy. The more fully-functioning a person is, the more that basic nature will be evidence.
Inner Freedom. This involves freedom from such things as threat, and freedom to choose and be.
Judgment, evaluation, approval or disapproval of another person. "This tendency to react to any emotionally meaningful statement by forming an evaluation of it from our own point of view is the major barrier to interpersonal communication."
Learning. Significant learning is self-initiated, it has a quality of personal involvement, and it is evaluated by the learner.
Meaningful learning is self-directed, experiential, and uses both intellectual and intuitive processes.
Listening. As a person learns to listen to himself he becomes more accepting of himself.
Living in the moment. If I say, "I am this," or "I am that," it is already past. For example, as soon as I can say, "I'm being defensive," that itself changes things.
Organismic values. Basic positive human and social values that appear to be common to all people at a deep level. These tend to emerge as a person becomes more open to his or her deep experience.
Personal growth. Rogers' clients tend to move away from facades, away from "oughts," and away from pleasing others as a goal in itself. Then tend to move toward being real, toward self-direction, and toward positively valuing oneself and one's own feelings. Then learn to prefer the excitement of being a process to being something fixed and static. They c ome to value an openness to inner and outer experiences, sensitivity-to and acceptance-of others as they are, and develop greater abilityachieve close relationships.
Politics of relationships and therapy. How persons maneuver or position themselves for power and control within relationships, both personal and therapeutic.
Politics in a broader sense. Applying Rogers' perspective, Assemblyman John Vasconcellos says, "The basic struggle in politics is between those who think people should be free to control their own destiny, and those who think everyone should be controlled."
Reflection, reflective listening, "active listening." A therapeutic technique in which the therapist mirrors or repeats, in his or her own words, what the client has just said.
Research. Rogers was an early advocate for research on the effectiveness of therapeutic approaches.
Transparency involves expressing my deep feelings, as my feelings rather than as facts about another, revealing myself as a person, real and imperfect as I am, in my relationship with another.
Unconditional positive regard. To give a client or person my full, caring attention without judging or evaluating them. "It is a kind of liking which has strength, and which is not demanding."
What is most personal is most general. The most private, personal feelings are often those which, if shared, would speak to others most directly.
Willingness for another to be separate: Allowing others to have different believs, feelings, values, and goals than you do.