Humanistic psychology is one of the most important schools of thought in psychology. On his part, people love Abraham maslow (With its popular Maslow pyramid) or Rollo may they advocated a positive view of being human, whereby we are all capable of becoming the kind of people we want.
the Carl Rogers’ Theory of Personality it is an example of this vital optimism brought to psychology and philosophy. Let’s see what this theory consists of.
The person, according to humanism
Certain currents of psychology have been associated with a pessimistic view of the human being. For example, Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis presents an explanation of the psyche in which unconscious desires and their conflict with social norms govern our behavior, and American behavioralism has been accused of portraying people as machines responding to outside stimuli.
However, humanistic psychologists such as Carl Rogers have offered ideas about the mental processes in which it emphasizes the freedom of individuals to follow the course of their life. According to them, neither biological nor environmental factors are determinants of our behavior, and they do not “drag” us irreparably into certain types of behavior. In short, they were not deterministic.
Specifically, Carl Rogers he believed that everyone’s personalities developed based on how close they were to (or drifting away from) their life goals., Your goals.
This idea that personal development and the way in which the individual struggles to become what he wants to be is a central idea of humanistic psychology, but for Carl Rogers it is particularly important, because for him it is to through personal development how the character is formed. and the way of being.
Carl Rogers and the Highly Functional Personality Theory
Carl Rogers proposes the idea that the personality of each individual can be analyzed according to the way in which he approaches or moves away from a way of being and living the life to which he labels a highly functional person. .
Highly functional people are characterized by a constant process of self-actualization, that is, the search for an almost perfect match with vital goals and objectives. This personal development process is in the present, so it is still going on. In this way, the personality of highly functional people is, for Carl Rogers, a framework in which flows in real time a lifestyle that constantly adapts to circumstances.
How is the person highly functional?
According to Carl Rogers, the personality traits that define highly functional people are defined according to the following five characteristics.
1. Openness to experience
The personality of highly functional people is, according to Carl Rogers, very open to experience, in the broad sense. He does not adopt a defensive attitude by default towards the unknown, but prefers to explore new possibilities. that’s why this personality type is defined by the acceptance of the emotions associated with what is experienced, The non-avoidance of “negative emotions” and the adoption of attitudes receptive to situations which are not clearly dangerous.
2. Existential way of life
This feature has to do with the tendency to assume that it is oneself who must give meaning to the experiences lived at each moment, Through a process of creating meaning. In this way, the daily way of life can be spontaneous, creative, without trying to force everything that is perceived to fit into preconceived patterns. The lifestyle associated with this personality type, by Carl Rogers, is characterized by avoiding the tendency to prejudge.
The present is not analyzed as something that must be fully explained by past experiences, but it is fully experienced.
For Carl Rogers, embracing a free lifestyle means trusting your own judgment and your own way of making decisions above all other benchmarks. The idea is that, since no one knows how to live life better than they do, it does not tend to rely on codes of conduct imposed by external bodies.
The fact that Carl Rogers’ highly functional people are enemies of dogma and convention makes them look beyond what is considered “normal.” This allows them to develop their creativity.
5. Freedom of choice
The very creative way of being of the highly functional personality theorized by Carl Rogers means that these people are able to find new behavioral options where there seem to be few. This defines the anti-conformist character of this type of personality, capable of resolving paradoxes in which there is an apparent contradiction between the options which seem a priori available.
6. Constructive character
That kind of personality shows great ease in meeting all needs in a balanced wayThus, crises are exploited as opportunities to create new opportunities and find ways to achieve levels of well-being.
7. Personal development
Personal development it is the lifeblood of highly functional people. It is experienced as a process of constant change, in which a final final goal is never reached but is passed from one stage to another.
Criticisms and Observations on Rogers Theory
The characteristics and definitions that Carl Rogers uses to define highly functional people are very abstract and very ambiguous, as sticking to very rigid concepts would go against his idea that a personality based on self-realization and personal development constantly flows and escapes conventions.
However, it also earned him a lot of criticism: in the end, virtually anyone can feel identified with the traits attributed to highly functional people, Following the logic of the Forer effect.
Only each person is able to judge how useful or inspiring it is to have these characteristics as a benchmark.