Lecture #8 (03/02/2009)
Peak experiences are activating the same areas in the brain that drugs activate. Certain drugs
promote that feeling, others promote the opposite.
Carl Ransom Rogers (1902-1987)
And his therapeutic approach
REMEBR: Humanist psychologists inspired by phenomenology
REMEBER: Phenomenology: what is stressed is not the object of perception but the perceiver,
what the perceiver brings to the situation.
Rogers descried a phenomenal field: Which was the sum total of the experiences that a person
has and is currently having. It is everything that could be observable to consciousness.
So phenomenal field would be everything in the conscious and preconscious mind, everything
that can be drawn into consciousness.
And the organism or person as a whole is influenced by this phenomenal field.
So there’s a focus on the individual’s unique perception.
Perception of reality that counts not the reality itself.
Rogers argued that the need to actualize is built into everyone, it’s not cultivated by everyone but
it’s built into everyone. And it can be foiled or assisted by the environment we are in. Not just
physical environment but also the social environment. The process does not occur naturally it is
Behaviour to Rogers is goal-directed in the sense that an organism perceives a need/goal and
attempts to fulfill it.
To Rogers, there is room for emotion in this theory.
Before it was thought that emotion was irrational, and thinking was rational
But to humanistic psychologists emotion is a part of being human and it’s a positive thing, and it
can also create problems for us.
Emotion was facilitative; it was for doing something it had a purpose.
Rogers uses the term Organismic valuing process in an essence we know what’s good for
us, maybe not at a conscious level but its built into us in some way, we know what’s good for us.
So when we are born we don’t have to be taught that we have to eat we just know that we are
hungry and we have some idea what will satisfy it. Rogers had this idea of trusting the self. So if people trust themselves, trust in what they are
drawn to, they are more likely than not to develop in a positive way.
Organismic valuing process is this innate process can be subverted by external rules. The
Oranismic valuing process can be changed by rules that are imposed upon us,
for example, in Maslow’s theory and Rogers theory as well, sex would be something that is
important to people, important foundation for romantic relationships. But we may grow up in a
society that looks down on promiscuous relationships, so in that case the organismic valuing
process tells us one thing but society tells us another thing.
Food example, we know it’s good to eat, and it feels good to eat. But there may be rules on how
to eat and when to eat and how much to eat (to obtain a specific body type). So someone may go
to a restaurant and not eat what they want to eat but what they are expected to eat. Basically not
doing what the self desires.
Basically the organismic valuing process can be skewed by socialization. Rogers similar to
Watson in the sense that the environment is more important than genetic predispositions.
phenomenal field: everything that is relevant to us, out of this field there is some info that is
more closely associated with our concept of “I” or “me” or “self” and this is what becomes
known as the “self concept”
That collection of information relevant to us as individuals, and self concept will vary from
person to person according to Rogers because the organismic valuing process is going to orient
different people to different things.
So the self concept is not simply derived from ourselves, we don’t create our self concept by
ourselves; our self concept is in part created by the expectations others put upon us.
For instance, when our rents say “oh your a good little boy or your a good little girl” they are
telling us that , so we think “hmm im good or Im bad so i should behave accordingly and do
good/bad things” and what is good is also largely determined by other people.
Given that part of our self concept comes from other people, we can have a self concept that is
divested or detached from what we currently are or what we aspire to become.
And to Rogers this is where anxiety and neurosis occur mismatch between what we think
about ourselves and what we think we should or could be.
So to Rogers: a fully functioning person is the equivalent of a self-actualized person,
Fully functioning person So they have an ideal self and actual self overlap is one who trusts
the self to do what is right or steer them in the right direction, they are open to new experiences,
and they focus on the present. Maybe not always happy, but they are living for the here and now,
not for the future.
So there’s a need for the self as perceived, to match the real self. And the more overlap, the
more satisfied people will be with their lives. Basically .. To the extent that our experiences map onto our self structure, we have congruent
experiences. These are if not happy experiences, at the very least they a