Why I'm Drawn to Carl Rogers
What attracted me to integrative psychotherapy was the opportunity of blending the works of my heroes into my own personal therapeutic model. No approach is perfect but as an integrative psychotherapist I have created a model that I feel best helps the client. My model incorporates the work of Alfred Adler with that of Lev Vygotsky, Carl Rogers, William Glasser and Carl Jung. I do consider myself however as predominately Adlerian in mind set and spirit but my integrative approach has not prevented me from understanding the value of other therapeutic approaches.
Carl Rogers’ Person Centred theory is perhaps the best known of the Humanistic theories, it evolves primarily from phenomenological philosophy in particular the works of Kant and Husserl. Philosophically therefore Carl Rogers theory is closely related to that of Alfred Adler. Rogers like Adler concluded that reality was subjective and therefore exclusive to every individual, because we all perceive reality differently (Pervin, Cervone, & Oliver, 2004). Adler believed this process was achieved via the uniqueness of the individual’s social context.
Rogers promotes the idea of seeing the world through the eyes of others in order to better comprehend the individuals subjective experience. Rogers suggest (1980:102) “The only reality I can possibly know is the world as I perceive and experience it at this moment.” Rogers like Adler rejected Freudian determinism suggesting that we behave as we do because of the way we perceive our situation. “As no one else can know how we perceive, we are the best experts on ourselves.” (Gross 1992:905). Moreover Rogers claims that individuals have a great capacity for self-healing and personal growth and this provides the basis for self-actualisation. Rogers disliked Freudian psychoanalysis suggestion of a psychological leitmotif and abandoned the predominately canonical Freudian view that the individuals past influences the present, Rogers instead studies the individual’s current perceptions and the importance of the here-and-now an approach also found in William Glasser's Reality therapy.
Rogers like Adler before him believed that mankind was essentially good and that all individuals seek to achieve self-actualization Adler viewed this as egalitarian social interest. Rogers believed that only when individuals achieve their full potential of self- actualization do they reveal their true nature. Within the context of Rogerian theory therefore, “man is an actualizing process” (Van Belle:1980: 70).
Rogers suggests that actualization is a dynamic force for change, suggesting “the actualizing tendency present in every living organism’s tendency to grow, to develop, to realize its full potential. This way of being trusts the constructive directional flow of the human being toward a more complex and complete development. It is this directional flow that we aim to release” (Rogers: 1986b:198) this process resembles Adler’s “law of movement” Adler wrote (Ansbachers & Ansbacher: 1964: 87) “The law of movement in the mental life of a person is the decisive factor for his individuality. The declaration of this law was actually the strongest step Individual psychology has taken. We have always maintained the view that all is movement.”. Essentially life for both Rogers and Adler is a dynamic process towards self actualization.