Term Paper: Theorists From the History of Psychology Carl Jung and Carl Rogers

Pages: 5 (1406 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper

Beyond the contributions of Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers and Carl Jung may be the two most important individuals in the development of the modern study of psychology. Jung, having studied under Freud, expanded on Freud's concept of the libido and theorized that libido was the aspect of human behavior that controlled all other traits while Rogers was the first to offer that all individuals are born with a set personality but that said personality can be altered over time. Both men's theories sprouted the growth of individualized psychological theories that are part of the regular study of psychology.

Carl Rogers' contribution to the study of psychology, education, counseling, and conflict resolution has been considerable. Credited with founding the field of humanistic psychology, Rogers' has been extensively published in each of the mentioned fields. In his long career, he has authored sixteen books and over 200 professional articles.

Rogers was one of the first psychologists to break away from the traditional psychoanalytic approach pioneered by Freud. Instead, Rogers developed an approach that centered on the client. He espoused open communication and the empowering of individuals to achieve their full potentials. Rogers believed that each individual has the capacity within himself or herself the ability to understand his or her own personality. Through acquiring this understanding Rogers believed the individual was capable of altering his or her own self-concept, attitudes, and behavior.

Like many young adults, Carl Rogers pursued several career options before pursing his doctorate in psychology. He had originally planned a career in agriculture but quickly changed his mind and began his pursuit for a degree in religion. Shortly before graduating with his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin, he again changed career objectives and ultimately graduated with a degree in history. Later he completed his masters and doctorate programs at Columbia University.

Upon graduating with his doctorate, Rogers began his career in academia. Over several years he held positions at The Ohio State University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Wisconsin. It was during this tenure at each of these institutions that Rogers was able to develop his unique approach to therapy that was originally described as "nondirective therapy" but has developed to be called "client-centered" therapy. Rogers eventually developed some conflicts with other faculty members at the University of Wisconsin what resulted in his deciding to leave the institution and the field of teaching. His first post-academic position was with the Western Behavioral Studies Institute in La Jolla, California and later he and several professional colleagues formed a new research group called the Center for Studies of the Person. Rogers remained at said Center until his death in 1987 (Kirschenbaum, 2008).

Rogers in his theory argued that all human beings are born with set behaviors and that the process of life is an attempt to achieve the highest level of each of life's qualities as possible. Once a person reaches their fullest potential, they are accepted as being a fully functioning person. To obtain this state of being fully functioning, however, required that one be raised in an unconditionally positive environment. This means that children must be raised in an environment where they are accepted and praised. For Rogers this was the key to children living long and healthy lives.

The popularity of Rogers' theories was partially due to his exceptional writing and speaking skills. He was able to clearly and enthusiastically explain his concepts to his listeners and his emphasis on listening and empathic understanding was well received by those in and out of the field. His approach created a climate where the client is afforded dignity and equality with the therapist. The therapist no longer directed the therapy but was an equal participant in the process (Rogers, 1979).

Rogers opposed psychoanalytic theory as being dehumanizing. Instead, Rogers developed a theory that viewed humans as being driven by activities that provided them with personal satisfaction. His theories were built on an optimistic view of human nature and his belief that all individuals are in a constant struggle to obtain self-actualization. His critics, however, argue that Rogers' views were overly optimistic and naive. Despite his critics, Rogers' approach remained popular throughout his life and remain widely discussed.

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