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Conception of a human being

Conception of a human being

As a person-centered psychotherapist, I believe in individual’s inherent necessity to grow and to develop his capabilities. In the person-centered approach, we call it a self-actualizing tendency.
If one is acting destructively, or is not able to develop his capabilities to his full capacity, the self-actualizing tendency is most probably blocked by environmental conditions.

While growing up, individual encounters numerous experiences. Every subjective experience, whether conscious or non-conscious, makes a contribution to the formation of the self-concept.
If the individual is aware of the experience, that is what we describe as symbolization. In this case, a symbol for the emotion has been established.

The self-concept is an image every person has of him/herself. It is formed by the experiences one makes, with himself and with the environment on a daily basis. The self is a process, it is nothing rigid or static. It constantly changes through the experiences one acquires. One’s personality therefore, never remains the same. In the course of time, one’s attitudes, needs, emotions and interests undergo a change. The self-actualizing tendency contributes to the development of the self as well. If the self of a person matches the experience, and for that reason the experience can be integrated in the self-concept, that is what we describe as a state of congruence. The individual is fully aware of his feelings and needs, and is living them out.

Incongruence in the person-centered approach, on the other hand, means that the self and the experience do not match, the feelings toward the acute experience are not accepted by awareness. Subjectively, this person feels as if something was wrong with him/her. The person wants to actualize the self that is not matching the experience, which is why the experience has to be declined.

Another aspect of the person-centered approach is the necessity of a counterpart. This means, that only in a relationship to others one can evolve in a positive way or correct an undesirable development. Carl Rogers calls this mutual acceptance of two individuals “personal encounter”, which is a very important variable of being a psychotherapist. Yet, not only in psychotherapy but in other aspects of life is this kind of relationship of an enormous relevance for human cohabitation.

In his book “On personal power” Rogers emphasizes, that the person-centered approach can also be applied for parent/child or teacher/student kind of relationship, in romantic relationships, as well as in politics.
Ever since the 70ies, Rogers used to run the so-called encounter-groups, in which individuals could practice their social interactions, based on basic principles of the person-centered approach. Here, he emphasizes that the core conditions of the person-centered approach (empathy, congruence and positive regard) can also be applied and be effective in all kinds of relationships.


Man becomes an I through a You

Martin Buber

Tijelo je prevoditelj duše u vidljivi.

Christian Morgenstern

Termin Englisch
Katarina Batinić
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