Innovative American social scientist Carl Ransom Rogers (1902-1987) was born on this day in Chicago, Illinois and spent two years at Union Theological Seminary before becoming a psychologist.
A gifted teacher, he shared Abraham Maslow's humanistic approach to psychology, which is the optimistic belief in the innate goodness of each person.
"The only learning which significantly influences behavior is self-discovered, self-appropriated learning." said Rogers.
Self-concept, he believed, determined accomplishments; a person with positive self-esteem tended to act in positive ways. His client-centered therapy celebrated unconditional empathy so patients could solve their own problems.
Trust your inner wisdom, he urged in the spirit of Emerson and Thoreau, not someone else's evaluation.
"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change," he said. The 1961 publication of On Becoming a Person brought Rogers international fame as the "Father of Humanistic Psychology."
"What is most personal is most general," he said. "Feelings...most private, most personal...has turned out to be...expression(s) for which there is a resonance in many other people."
This celebration of the person-to-person approach revolutionized psychology. His premise that individuals are self-reliant inspired the works of Erich Fromm, Victor Frankl, and others.
"One cannot be creative without being out there and alone; the extent of the aloneness depends on the extent of the creativity. The more creative the act, the more completely alone one is," he said. "I prize the privilege of being alone.
More Carl ROGERS Quotations
Every change is an education.