Lecture 7 -Psychology of Personality
We end this part of our journey with a trio of influential theorists and practitioners who are not scientific
in the traditional sense.
Their impact has been substantial but their theories lack scientific proof and their
ideas are somewhat incomplete and fractured.
In some cases their ideas are clearly not accurate yet, their
contributions have created profound change in the field of Psychology.
We'll start with Carl Rogers
whose main contribution was in the area of therapy and leading a balanced life.
I think it would make
him proud to be remembered as the one psychologist who saw good in everyone.
Remember that Freud
and colleagues saw humans struggling to throw off the shackles of their history.
Rogers had none of that.
Carl Ransom Rogers
(1902 - 1987)
Carl Rogers was born January 8, 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of
Chicago, the fourth of six children. His father was a successful civil engineer
and his mother was a housewife and devout Christian. His education started in
the second grade, because he could already read before kindergarten.
When Carl was 12, his family moved to a farm about 30 miles west of Chicago, and it was here that he
was to spend his adolescence. With a strict upbringing and many chores, Carl was to become rather
isolated, independent, and self-disciplined.
He went on to the University of Wisconsin as a agriculture major. Later, he switched to religion to study
for the ministry. During this time, he was selected as one of ten students to go to Beijing for the “World
Student Christian Federation Conference” for six months. He tells us that his new experiences so
broadened his thinking that he began to doubt some of his basic religious views.
After graduation, he married Helen Elliot (against his parents’ wishes), moved to New York City, and
began attending the Union Theological Seminary, a famous liberal religious institution. While there, he
took a student organized seminar called “Why am I entering the ministry?” I might as well tell you that,
unless you want to change your career, never take a class with such a title! He tells us that most of the
participants “thought their way right out of religious work.”
Religion’s loss was, of course, psychology’s gain: Rogers switched to the clinical psychology program of
Columbia University, and received his Ph.D. in 1931. He had already begun his clinical work at the
Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. At this clinic, he learned about Otto Rank’s
theory and therapy techniques, which started him on the road to developing his own approach.
What I am is good enough if I would only be it openly.
He was offered a full professorship at Ohio State in 1940. In 1942, he wrote his first book, Counseling