Carl Rogers (1902-1987)

Carl RogersCarl Ransom Rogers is best known as the founder of ‘client-centred’ or ‘non-directive’ therapy. He was born on January 8, 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois. Rogers was the fourth of six children, born to a father that was a successful civil engineer and a mother that was a housewife and devout Christian.

He initially went to the University of Wisconsin to major in agriculture, but switched his focus to religion. After graduation he married Helen Elliot and moved to New York City, where he began attending a famous liberal religious institution called Union Theological Seminary. His time at the seminary was short and he soon switched to the clinical psychology program at Columbia University, receiving his PhD in 1931.

Rogers began clinical work at the Rochester society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and learned about Otto Rank’s theory and therapy techniques. This experience enabled him to start developing his own approach.

In 1940 Rogers was offered a full professorship at Ohio State. By 1945 he was invited to set up a counseling centre at the University of Chicago, and while there he published his major work, Client-Centred Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications and Theory, wherein he outlines his basic theory.

Rogers accepted a position in the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin in 1957, but quickly became disillusioned with higher education due to conflicts within the department. By 1964 he was happy to leave the University for a research position in La Jolla, California. It was there that he provided therapy, gave speeches and wrote until his death in 1987.

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