Quiz 11: May: Existential Psychology
Rogers' first basic assumption is that all matter, both organic and inorganic, tends to evolve from simpler to more complex forms.This tendency is the formative tendency. More important to humans is the actualizing tendency.Humans share this tendency with both the plant and animal kingdoms.The actualizing tendency assumes that all living things, including humans, move toward completion or fulfillment of potentials. Because humans possess an actualizing tendency, the source of psychological growth resides within the individual. Although people have a variety of needs, all of their behavior is relative to the single actualizing tendency.The organism operates as a whole in moving toward actualization. Even though actualization is a natural condition of humans, people do not automatically move in that direction; that is, actualization can only be realized when people experience a relationship with a congruent or authentic partner who shows them both empathy and unconditional positive regard. The actualization tendency refers to the organismic experiences of an individual.After the self begins to evolve (during early childhood), people become motivated by self-actualization, or the tendency to actualize the self as perceived in awareness.
Rogers postulated that each individual has a tendency toward actualization that refers to the motivation a person has to reach harmony between perceived self and the person's organismic experiences which are holistic-conscious and unconscious, physiological and cognitive. Incongruence may arise between the ideal self and the perceived self, resulting in conflict and unhappiness.Psychologically healthy individuals perceive little discrepancy between what they would ideally like to be and their self-concept. Without such awareness the self-concept and the ideal self would not exist according to Rogers.He argued that three levels of awareness existed whereby a person may either ignore or deny, accurately symbolize or distort life experiences.In doing so, the individual shapes experiences so that they may be assimilated into the existing self-concept. Rogers also discussed the processes necessary to becoming a person.For example, as the awareness of self begins to emerge, an infant develops the need to be loved and accepted by others.Rogers called this need positive regard.Humans tend to value those experiences that satisfy their needs for love, acceptance, and friendship. Along with our need for positive regard, we need to think well of our self, a need Rogers called self-regard.If we perceive that others love and accept us, then this perception tends to satisfy our need of self-regard as well as for positive regard.However, positive regard is a prerequisite for positive self-regard.
Rogers believed that for therapeutic growth to take place, certain conditions are necessary, three of which are both necessary and sufficient. For therapeutic growth to take place, an anxious or vulnerable person must come into contact with a congruent person who demonstrates empathy and unconditional positive regard for the first person.The first person must recognize the empathy and unconditional positive regard of the other person.In addition, the relationship must be of some undetermined duration. Congruence exists when a person's organismic experiences are matched by an awareness of them and by an ability and willingness to express these feelings openly.Rogers also use the terms genuine, authentic, and real to express this concept. Positive regard is the need to be liked, prized, loved, or accepted by another, and when that need is fulfilled with no strings attached, a person experiences unconditional positive regard.Rogers also used the terms nonpossessive warmth and acceptance to express unconditional positive regard. Empathy exists when one person accurately senses the feelings of another and is able and willing to communicate these perceptions so that the second person feels that the other has entered into his or her world of feelings without prejudice or evaluation.Rogers also used the term empathic listening to express this concept.