An older man wearing glasses and a white shirt.

Carl Rogers (1902 – 1987)

Carl Rogers is widely regarded as one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th-century. He was a humanistic thinker and believed that people are fundamentally good. Carl Rogers is considered one of the founders of humanistic psychology and the person-centered approach. In his fifty-year professional career, psychologist Carl R. Rogers (1902-1987) was a pioneer whose work inspired many people. His continuing legacy is evident not only in the field of therapeutic psychology, where he is considered one of the twentieth century’s giants, but also in education, peace work, religion, community and other organizations, and philosophy. All of these applications stem from Rogers’ abilities to develop a certain way of relating (“being with”) those people with whom he came in contact. Rogers practiced these abilities in relationships where he was moved to help another person; he researched, thought and wrote about these abilities and their successes. Rogers’ groundbreaking sensitivity is that for a person to be truly helped, the important healing factor is the relationship itself. Rogers focused on the ways that the helper can promote certain core conditions between him or herself and the client.

These core conditions at the heart of his theory of relationship are Congruence, Empathy and Unconditional Positive Regard. For many people this is the essence of the Person Centered Approach (PCA).

The Center for Studies of the Person was the organization where Rogers spent the last 20 years of his professional life, and a person-centered-approach was his focus during this period. Rogers’ contribution and leadership was in his discovery process and his articulation of personal attitudes towards such an approach. Although the principles of PCA were the same as those in his earlier client-centered therapy (CCT), he and his colleagues shifted emphasis. The core conditions which Rogers found essential for personal growth in the field of psychotherapy were experimentally, and carefully, applied to the general arena of broader applications to human relationships and interaction. Today, PCA crosses cultures—studied and practiced today in Europe, the Americas, Australia, Africa and Asia. It is a proven, effective manner for persons to come together.