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on becoming a person

If I can only recommend one book in my entire life till now, it would be Carl Rogers’ “On Becoming a person“. Every book has its flaws and will never be complete…

Thus if we choose as our goal the state of happiness for human beings

Thus if we choose as our goal the state of happiness for human beings (a goal deservedly ridiculed by Aldous Huxley in Brave New World), and if we involved all of society in a successful scientific program by which people became happy, we would be locked in a colossal rigidity in which no one would be free to question this goal, because our scientific operations could not transcend themselves to question their guiding purposes.

a climate of safety

The effect on the individual as he apprehends this attitude, is to sense a climate of safety. He gradually learns that he can be whatever he is, without sham or façade, since he seems to be regarded as of worth no matter what he does. Hence he has less need of rigidity, can discover what it means to be himself, can try to actualize himself in new and spontaneous ways. He is, in other words, moving toward creativity.

The greater the congruence of experience

The greater the congruence of experience, awareness and communication on the part of one individual, the more the ensuing relationship will involve: a tendency toward reciprocal communication with a quality of increasing congruence; a tendency toward more mutually accurate understanding of the communications; improved psychological adjustment and functioning in both parties; mutual satisfaction in the relationship.

This risk of being changed is one of the most frightening prospects most of us can face

If you really understand another person in this way, if you are willing to enter his private world and see the way life appears to him, without any attempt to make evaluative judgments, you run the risk of being changed yourself. You might see it his way, you might find yourself influenced in your attitudes or your personality. This risk of being changed is one of the most frightening prospects most of us can face.

This concept of trusting the individual to be himself

This concept of trusting the individual to be himself has come to have a great deal of meaning to me. I sometimes fantasy about what it would mean if a child were treated in this fashion from the first. Suppose a child were permitted to have his own unique feelings—suppose he never had to disown his feelings in order to be loved...He would, I believe, be a responsible and self-directing individual, who would never need to conceal his feelings from himself, who would never need to live behind a façade. He would be relatively free of the maladjustments which cripple so many of us.

Huxley’s Brave New World is frankly satire, but portrays vividly the loss of personhood which he sees as associated with increasing psychological and biological knowledge. Thus, to put it bluntly, it seems that a developing social science (as now conceived and pursued) leads to social dictatorship and individual loss of personhood.

Acceptance of the client

1. Acceptance of the client by the therapist leads to an increased acceptance of self by the client. 2. The more the therapist perceives the client as a person rather than as an object, the more the client will come to perceive himself as a person rather than an object. 3. In the course of therapy an experiential and effective type of learning about self takes place in the client.

But being himself doesn’t “solve problems”

But being himself doesn’t “solve problems.” It simply opens up a new way of living in which there is more depth and more height in the experience of his feelings; more breadth and more range. He feels more unique and hence more alone, but he is so much more real that his relationships with others lose their artificial quality, become deeper, more satisfying, and draw more of the realness of the other person into the relationship.