Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was a humanistic psychologist who believed that for a person to “grow”, 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).
Without these, relationships and healthy personalities will not develop as they should.
One of Carl Rogers most important contributions to psychology, is that we behave as we do because of the way we perceive our situation. “As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the best experts on ourselves.”
Carl Rogers (1959) believed that humans have one basic motive; that is, the tendency to self-actualize – i.e., to fulfill one’s potential and achieve the highest level of ‘human-beingness’ we can.
Rogers believed that people are inherently good and creative. They become destructive only when a poor self-concept or external constraints override the valuing process. Carl Rogers believed that for a person to achieve self-actualization they must be in a state of congruence. This means that self-actualization occurs when a person’s “ideal self” (i.e., who they would like to be) is congruent with their actual behavior.
The self-concept includes three components:
Self-worth (or self-esteem) comprises what we think about ourselves.
How we see ourselves, which is important to good psychological health. Self-image includes the influence of our body image on inner personality.
This is the person who we would like to be. It consists of our goals and ambitions in life, and is dynamic – i.e., forever changing. The ideal self in childhood is not the ideal self in our teens or late twenties etc.
How we think about ourselves – our feelings of self-worth – are of fundamental importance both to psychological health and to the likelihood that we can achieve goals and ambitions in life and achieve self-actualization.
A person who has high self-worth, that is, has confidence and positive feelings about him or herself, faces challenges in life, accepts failure and unhappiness at times, and is open with people.
A person with low self-worth may avoid challenges in life, not accept that life can be painful and unhappy at times and will be defensive and guarded with other people.
Rogers believed that we need to be regarded positively by others; we need to feel valued, respected, treated with affection and loved.