Rogers' View of Human Nature

A consistent theme underlies most of Rogers' writings - a deep faith in thetendency of humans to develop in a positive and constructive manner if aclimate of respect and trust is established (Corey, 1986). Rogers believed thatpeople are essentially good and that human nature possesses a basic sense oftrust in the client's ability to move forwards in a constructive manner ifconditions conducive to fostering growth are present. Furthermore, he perceivedhuman nature as a product of environmental and societal factors as well asheredity, early development, and an innate self-drive striving for growththroughout life. In short, Rogers, and the humanistic view in general, seeshuman nature in an extremely positive light.

This positive view of human nature greatly directs the practice of Rogers'person-centered therapy. Because of this ideathat a person has an innate, inherent capacity to escape the wrath ofmaladjustment and to enter the realm of psychological health, the primaryresponsibility is directed at the "client." Therefore, person-centeredtherapy is rooted in the client's capacity for awareness and his or her abilityto make decisions (Corey, 1986). And, by perceiving individuals/clients in thispositive light, the focus is shifted to what is right with the person not onwhat is wrong with him or her.

As a result, humanistic practitioners strive to challenge individuals tomake positive changes that will lead to living more fully and authentically,with the realization that this kind of existence demands an ongoing struggle. Itis a continuous journey, whereby individuals never arrive at a static state ofbeing self-actualized. Instead, people are perpetually involved in the processof actualizing themselves.

Dr. Scott Peck (1978) said it best in his book, The Road Less Traveled, "Lifeis difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a greattruth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly knowthat life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life isno longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life isdifficult no longer matters. Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moanabout them or solve them? Because it is in this process of solving problems thatlife has meaning" (Peck, 1978).

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