Humanistic Approach

Humanistic approach is a system in which human values and interests are the primary importance. This approach of personality is part of the humanistic movement which waved during the 1960s and 1970s. Humanistic psychologist including Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers  criticized Freud and other psychologist because they focused on emotionally disturbed side of the human personality. The psychologist of this era decided to study the positive human characteristics such as our strength and virtues. My focus is going to be Carl Rogers’  personality theory, Development of the Self in Childhood.   Carl Rogers was in 1902 in Illinois. His parents had strong religious views and emphasized moral behavior. Rogers did not have much of social life growing up. He decided to study agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, but during his sophomore year, he abandoned the study of agriculture and stated preparing for the ministry. He traveled for six months and during that time, he became more independent and his religious views went from being fundamental to liberal. He developed the idea that the “core of human nature is positive”(Pesittelli, 1996) which influenced his theory of personality. There are three parts to Rogers’ Development of the self: positive regard, conditions of worth, and incongruence.  According to Rogers, during the positive regard stage of development, children seek for love, approval and acceptance from others especially their mothers. Rogers believe that when the positive regard is unconditional, mothers love and approval are freely granted not conditional on the child’s behavior. However, when it is conditional, we receive love and approval for our positive behavior. Once we receive it from others,  we form positive regards for ourselves. Rogers’ stage of conditions of worth is similar to Freud’s idea of superego. During this stage, we see ourselves as worthy only under the conditions that are acceptable to our parents. We avoid behaviors or conditions that are not acceptable to our parents. Last but not least, incongruence is the last stage in which incongruence is developed between the self-concept and behavior  which threatens our self-image.

Rogers’ work has been criticized for failing to describe the nature of self-actualization and the impact of the unconscious forces in his personality theory. However, he still influenced the field of psychology for having a different perspective of counseling techniques called “The client-centered Therapy” and his personality theory.

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