Four Characteristics Used to Describe Individuals Becoming Actualized

Rogers (1961) described four characteristics necessary for the attainment of thebasic goal of person-centered therapy.

1. Openness to experience: This includes seeing reality withoutdistorting it to make it turn out as the individual would like it to. Opennessmeans becoming aware and experiencing reality as it exists "outside ofoneself." It also refers to acceptance of ambiguity, that is, theindividual has an unrestricted awareness of his or herself in the presentincrement of time with the capacity to fully experience him or herself in fresh,new, and open ways.

2. Self-trust: This is a basic faith in oneself as being growth-directedand positively oriented. Without self-trust, which is often lacking in theclient's initial state of incongruence, the individual cannot progress intherapy because s/he does not have faith in their ability to solve problems orto accurately experience the here-and-now.

3. Internal source of evaluation: This third component is closelyrelated to self-trust. It means that the person must look within him or herselfto find the answers to the problems of existence. Thus, the individual looksinward for validation of his/her real personhood. In short, this is aself-management approach whereby individuals decide his or her own standards ofbehavior as well as the choices and decisions he or she will abide by.

4. Willingness to continue growing: This characterstic emphasizes theneed for an individual's continuous process of becoming. Since many individualsenter therapy in hopes of being spoon fed a specific formula that will ensuresuccess and happiness, this therapeutic process stresses that growth is alifelong process. Each moment, individuals are given new experiences,challenges, and problems.

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