I would like to start by saying that Carl Ransom Rogers was the influential American psychologist who together with Abraham Maslow found humanist approach to psychology, non-directive psychotherapy, which he named Client-Centered therapy and later-renamed person-centered psychotherapy or person-centered approach (PCA) to show that he meant all interactions between people rather than only those happening between the therapist and the client.
The psychological theory of Carl Rogers is well known for its humanistic approach and thus found great application in the adult education, with the experiential theory of learning. Rogers proved it that all human being have natural desire to learn in the two categories of learning such as meaningless/cognitive (memorizing the multiplication tables or road rules) and significant learning such as the one addressing the needs of the learner (Frankland, 2003).
Rogers stated that if there exists unconditional positive regard and emphatic understanding in any relationship between people that grows, they will contribute to the psychological healing by allowing the client to experience all of them fully. According to Rogers the primary cause of mental, emotional and existential suffering in humans is their inability to allow themselves to fully experience their own personality even if it involves socially unacceptable matters.
Rogers ideas of a well-developed and fully functioning individual that a person can become under the treatment of Rogerian psychologists drastically resembles the Buddhist philosophy:
- Openness to experience. A person needs to have an accurate perception of one’s own feelings and experiences as applicable to the entire world. He/she needs to view life as a set of experiences and never resist them.
- Existential living represents living in the present rather than in the past or in the future which are either gone or not yet come. Existential living is the only thing that can assure happiness and proper perception of the unique experiences (Levant, 2004).
- Organismic trusting represent trusting personal feelings and thoughts, considering them accurate and normal. Things that happen in life naturally should be viewed as normal and happening.
- Experiential freedom represent the personal understanding that everything in the world depends on our free choice and freedoms and take responsibility for one’s own actions and freedoms. The experiential freedom gives a person a feeling of full control of reality as based on individual’s actions, choices and thoughts (Lago, 2003).
- Creativity involves full participation in the world comprising the contribution to the lives and activities of other people.
In conclusion, I would like to note that the so called person-centered approach had proved to be of extreme value to human society by providing thorough explanation of human interaction and what can be done to improve them and contribute to psychological healing. The concept of Rogers’ humanity is closely related to the view of Buddhism, thus incorporating the approached developed by humanity several thousand years ago.
Levant, Ronald, 2004, Client-Centered Therapy and the Person-Centered Approach, Prentice Hall, pp. 120-125.
Frankland, Alan, 2003, The Person-Centered Approach to Brief Counseling and Psychotherapy, NY Random House, pp. 203-204.
Lago, Colin, 2004, Experiences in Relatedness: Groupwork and the Person-centered Approach, McGraw Hill, pp. 187-189.
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