Carl Ransom Rogers

Carl Ransom Rogers (1902-1987), an American psychologist, was born in Oak Park, Illinois. He is best known for the development of new methods of therapy. Rogers taught at several American universities and worked with abused children. Dissatisfied with contemporary therapeutic and diagnostic techniques, he founded what is now known as client-centered therapy, client meaning patient. This method stresses the relationship between therapist and client and the client’s use of this relationship to guide the course of therapy. Rogers techniques predominate today in psychotherapy in the United States. Carl Rogers would be classified as Progressivism in educational philosophy circles.

Rogers published the following books, articles, and videos:
1. Becoming partners; marriage and its alternatives
2. Carl Rogers on encounter groups
3. Carl Rogers on personal power
4. Client-centered therapy; its current practices, implications, and theories
5. The clinical treatment of the problem child
6. Counseling and psychotherapy; newer concepts in practice
7. Counseling with returned servicemen
8. Freedom to learn; a view of what education might become
9. On becoming a person; a therapist’s view of psychotherapy
10. Psychotherapy and personality change; research studies in the client-centered approach
11. A way of being
12. Carl Rogers on empathy (video recording)
13. Dr. Carl Rogers (video recording)
14. Three approaches to psychotherapy (video recording)

While studying at Teachers’ College of Columbia University, Rogers was greatly influenced by Otto Rank and John Dewey. Dewey’s concepts of human organism as a whole and the belief in the possibilities of human action enabled Rogers to conclude that the client usually knows better how to proceed than the therapist. Rogers separated learning into two types: Cognitive (academic knowledge such as psychology or multiplication tables) and experiential (applied knowledge such as learning about engines in order to repair a car). Experiential learning addresses the needs and wants of the learner and is equivalent to personal change and growth.

Rogers felt that all human beings have a natural propensity to learn’ the role of the teacher is to facilitate such learning. This includes:
1. setting a positive climate for learning
2. clarifying the purposes of the learner(s)
3. organizing and making available learning resources
4. balancing intellectual and emotional components of learning
5. sharing feelings and thoughts with learners but not dominating

Learning is facilitated when:
1. the student participates completely in the learning process
2. student has control over the learning process
3. based upon confrontations with practical, social, and personal problems
4. self-evaluation is the principal method of assessing progress or success.

Rogers also emphasizes the importance of learning to learn and openness to change. Rogers theory of learning originates from his views about psychotherapy and humanistic approach to psychology. It applies primarily to adult learners and has influenced other theories of adult learning such as:
1. Significant learning takes place when the subject matter is relevant to the personal interest of the student.
2. Learning which is threatening to the self is more easily assimilated when external threats are at a minimum.
3. Learning proceeds faster when the threat to the self is low.
4. Self-initiated learning is the most lasting and pervasive.

Rogers philosophy of education stressed growth regardless of how it was measured or defined. He emphasized process rather than product. Rogers research revealed a positive association between affective classrooms and growth, interest, productivity, self-confidence, and trust. He documented evidence that students learn more, attend school more often, and are more creative and capable of problem solving when they are allowed to participate in the learning process. Rogers has provided educators with many fascinating and important questions with regard to their way of being with students and the processes they might employ. He believed interpersonal relationship in the facilitator of learning is more important than the methods used.

Works Cited

 Carl Rogers Experiential Learning. Biographical details and more on his ideas. (2000, July 6). Available:

 Carl Rogers and Informal Education. Carl Rogers. (2000, July 6). Available: http:/// Rogers, Carl R. (2000, July 6). Available:

 McNeil,  John. (1990). Curriculum: A comprehensive introduction. (4th ed.). Los Angeles: Harper Collins Publishers.

Report Prepared by:
Don McDaniel