Strengths Ad Weaknesses of Rogers' Understanding of the Person

Understanding in Counselling.   Essay 1
“What are the strengths and weaknesses of Rogers’ understanding of the person? How does this understanding fit with your own experiences and beliefs?
In this essay I will outline Rogers’ understanding of the person and examine some of the philosophical and personal context within which he developed it. I will go on to examine what I consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of his understanding, using material from the literature, from research findings and from my own beliefs and experiences. I will conclude that while on the whole there may be some aspects of Rogers’ theory of self with which I cannot fully agree, my view is that the person-centred approach on which it is based continues to offer a firm bedrock for much successful counselling practice in the UK, Europe and beyond.
Personal philosophy and historical context of Rogers’ work
Rogers’ personal philosophy was both humanist and phenomenological   He believed that “the subjective human being has an important value which is basic; that no matter how he may be labelled and evaluated he is a human person first of all, and most deeply.” (Rogers 1961, p8).   Building on the work of the philosopher Husserl, he argued that understanding could only be subjective:   "Experience is, for me, the highest authority. The touchstone of validity is my own experience. No other person's ideas, and none of my own ideas, are as authoritative as my experience. It is to experience that I must return again and again, to

Jackie Colton, MSc Counselling Psychology
discover a closer approximation to truth as it is in the process of becoming in me” (Rogers 1961, p23). Both of these statements resonate with me, and find echoes in my own personal beliefs: I find them both affirming and uplifting, in contrast for example to the darkly pessimistic world-view of the Freudians, or the deterministic and reductionist perspective of behaviourism.   He rejected the deficiency...