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Carl Rogers
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Carl Rogers

Carl Ransom Rogers (January 8, 1902 - February 4, 1987) was a psychologist who was instrumental in the development of non-directive psychotherapy (Rogerian psychotherapy). His basic tenets were unconditional love, a positive client-counselor relationship, and that the client could solve their own problems by talking about them with someone else.

Born in Oak Park, Illinois. His father was an engineer, his mother a housewife and devoted Christian. Following an education in an strict, religious and ethical environment, he became a rather isolated, independent and disciplined person, and acquired a knowledge and an appreciation for the scientific method in a practical world. His first career choice was agriculture, followed by religion. At age 20, following his 1922 trip to Beijing for an international Christian conference, he started to doubt his religious convictions; to help him clarify his career choice, he attended to a seminar entitled 'Why am I entering the ministry?', after which he decided to change career.

He signed-up to the psychology program in Chicago, and obtained his Ph.D. in 1931. He taught and practiced at Ohio State (1940), the University of Chicago (1945) and the University of Wisconsin (1957). However, following several internal conflicts at the department of psychology of Wisconsin, Rogers became disillusioned with academica. He received an offer at La Jolla for research, where he remained, doing therapy, speeches and writing until his sudden death.

Rogers also made a significant impact upon Education Psychology, a field in which his views are generally regarded as Humanist. He also developed a theory of experiential learning, which he contrasted to what he called "cognitive learning."

Rogers' idea of the 'fully functioning person' involved the following qualities, which show marked similarities to Buddhist thinking.

Computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum's famous 1966 computer program, Eliza, produced what was (and still is) a startlingly effective illusion of discourse with a human, primarily by using simple syntactical transformation rules to transform the user's statements into questions and responding with these questions. Weizenbaum described Eliza as providing a "parody" of "the responses of a nondirective Rogerian psychotherapist in an initial psychiatric interview.

Rogers and some colleagues are also the founders of "Group Encounter" (for young people, managers etc.) and of Marriage Encounter (ME).

See also: Person Centred Counselling, Buddhism, Christianity, Communication