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Carl Rogers Essay

“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 Best Known For:

•Carl Rogers is best-known for his nondirective approach to treatment known as client-centered therapy.
•His concept of the actualizing tendency.
•Developing the concept of the fully-functioning person.
Birth and Death
•Born January 8, 1902
•Died February 4, 1987
Timeline of Events:
•1902 – Carl Rogers was born in Oak Park, Illinois.
•1919 – Enrolled at University of Wisconsin.
•1924 – Graduated from University of Wisconsin and enrolled at Union Theological Seminary.
•1926 – Transferred to Columbia.
•1931- Earned Ph.D. from Columbia.
•1940 – Began teaching at University of Ohio.
•1946 – Elected president of American Psychological Association (APA).
•1951 – Published Client-centered Therapy.
•1961 – Published On Becoming A Person.
•1980 – Published A Way of Being.
•1987 – Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize.

Early Life:

Carl Rogers enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in 1919 as an agriculture major, but later changed to religion. After attending a 1922 Christian conference in China, Rogers began to question his career choice. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1924 with a bachelor’s degree in History and enrolled at the Union Theological Seminary before transferring to Teachers College of Columbia University to complete his master’s degree. He completed his doctorate at Columbia in 1931.


After receiving his Ph.D., Rogers spent a number of years working in academia, holding positions at Ohio State University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin. It was during this time that Rogers developed his approach to therapy, which he initially termed “nondirective therapy.” This approach, which involves the therapist acting as a facilitator rather than a director of the therapy session, eventually came to be known as client-centered therapy.

After a number of conflicts within the psychology department at the University of Wisconsin, Rogers accepted a position at the Western Behavioral Studies Institute (WBSI) in La Jolla, California. Eventually, he and several colleagues left WBSI to form Center for Studies of the Person (CSP). Carl Rogers continued his work with client-centered therapy until his death in 1987.

Contributions to Psychology:

With his emphasis on human potential, Carl Rogers had an enormous influence on both psychology and education. Beyond that, he is considered by many to be one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century. More therapists cite Rogers as their primary influence than any other psychologist. As described by his daughter Natalie Rogers, he was “a model for compassion and democratic ideals in his own life, and in his work as an educator, writer, and therapist.”

Selected Works By Carl Rogers:
Rogers, C. (1951) Client-centered Therapy: Its current practice, implications and theory. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Rogers, C. (1961) On Becoming A Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotheraphy Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Rogers, C. (1980) A Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Biographies of Carl Rogers:
Cohen, D. (1997) Carl Rogers. A critical biography. London: Constable.

Thorne, B. (1992) Carl Rogers. London: Sage.

Sources: Rogers, N. “Carl Rogers Biography.”

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