Chapter 10 - CARL ROGERS Carl Rogers was born in 1902 and...

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CARL ROGERS Carl Rogers was born in 1902 and spent his childhood in the Midwest. He described his family as religious fundamentalists (Rogers, 1980 ). Rogers was raised to be judgmental of behaviors and attitudes that conflicted with his parents’ values. His family rarely shared personal thoughts and feelings. Rogers reported that he had little social contact with children other than his brothers and viewed himself as distant and aloof. Rogers’s later ideas about emotional health seem to be the converse of what he experienced while growing up. Rogers’s family instilled in him the importance of hard work, the scientific method, and a sense of responsibility, values that were reflected in his academic pursuits. He was an outstanding student who prized academic accomplishment. College and graduate school, however, were periods of great transition for him. Initially majoring in agriculture, Rogers soon realized that following the career path reflected by his family background was not right for him, and he changed his focus first to history, then to religion, and finally to clinical psychology. Rogers completed his undergraduate work at the University of Wisconsin and began study for the ministry at Union Theological Seminary but transferred to Columbia University, where he received a Ph.D. in psychology in 1931. These shifts in career direction parallel Rogers’s growing awareness of the importance of social relationships and of sharing thoughts and feelings. His experiences as a camp counselor and on a trip to China as part of the World Student Christian Federation Conference, his dating experiences, and his marriage immediately after college all contributed to his evolution from a person with a rigid and judgmental view of others to one who appreciated the individuality of each person while believing strongly in the importance of world peace and the interconnections of all humankind. Rogers’s career reflected a growing involvement with people and the evolution of his theory of counseling and psychotherapy. He initially worked with children in Rochester, New York, and later was a faculty member at Ohio State University and at the University of Chicago. From 1963 until the end of his life, Rogers promoted his ideas through the Center for Studies of the Person in La Jolla, California. During his later years, he focused on using person-centered approaches to reduce interracial tensions, resolve intergroup conflicts, and promote world peace and social justice. He led workshops and encounter groups around the world (Kirschenbaum, 2004 ). By bringing together groups in conflict such as the Catholics and Protestants from Northern Ireland and Blacks and Whites in South Africa, he sought to promote communication and understanding and reduce antagonism. Rogers was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize although he did not receive that award.
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