Rogers Conception of Self

Person-centered therapy is characterized asnon-directive because it believes that all people have the potential to solvetheir own problems without direct intervention from the therapist. Through thetherapist's attitudes of genuine caring, prizing, respect, acceptance, andunderstanding, the client's are able to loosen their defenses and rigidperceptions and move to a higher level of personal functioning (Corey, 1995).

Rogers believed that people must be fully honest with themselves. Inaddition, he thought that a fundamental function of the counselor was tofacilitate the personal discovery of the client; hence resulting in Rogers'conception of the self (aka self-concept) - a triangle.

The three sides of the triangle are composed of the Perceived Self(how person sees self & and others see them) . The Real Self (howperson really is). And the Ideal Self (how person would like to be).

In Rogers' triangle, the ideal serves as the base of the triangle which supportsthe two other more external elements of the self - the perceived and the real.This demonstrates that Rogers thinks that the ideal self is at the core in whichall else is built from. Nonetheless, throughout humanism there is agreement oneach person's search for wholeness, a quest ground in theself-actualization process.

Thus, Rogers believed that people enter counseling in a state ofincongruence, or a point at which a discrepancy exists between the individual'sself-perception and their experiences in reality. This means that the person isexperiencing conflict between their perceived and real self. In fact, Rogers(1961) would often find himself utilizing the same phrase during his counselingsessions. The phrase was as follows, "So, you find it hard to believe thatthey would love and accept you if they knew who you really were."

In addition, Rogers commented on the self, the concept of self, andself-structure as follows: "These terms refer to the organized,consistent, conceptual Gestalt composed of perceptions of the characteristicsof the I or me and the relationships of the I or me to others and to variousaspects of life, together with the values attached to these perceptions. It isa Gestalt available to awareness although not necessarily in awareness. It is afluid and changing process, but at any given moment at least partiallydefined in operational terms" (Rogers, 1984).

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