Rogers’ Self Theory
All aspects of Rogerian theory tend to be encompassed by the general term “self theory”. Others have presented many variants on the “self” theme, but Rogers’ version appears to be one of the most advanced. It ought to be stated, however, that Rogerian theory is largely secondary, originating from therapeutic practice rather than the other way around. The core conditions, for example, only crystallised after some thirty years of Rogers’ clinical experience. Indeed, Rogers objected simply to the label “Rogerian”, being so focused on the private experience of the individual and concerned to avoid any kind of “cult” status beyond those parameters.
Theory is outlined tentatively in the full realisation of its limited life-span. It is appreciated that one of the main functions of a theory is to stimulate further research which may ultimately contribute to its demise. Theory is also provisional in the sense that there is no wish to convey, even implicitly, that individuals are influenced passively by events and processes external to their own experience. Notwithstanding the above, it does appear, however, that Rogers’ research orientation has been undervalued. It tends to be overlooked that he was an enthusiastic exponent, if not the prime mover, of an empirical approach to psychotherapy, from which useful theory might emerge.
Rogers condensed his ideas into twenty-two propositions (Rogers, 1951 for 1-19; Rogers, in Koch [ed], 1959 for 20-22).