Client-Centred Therapy - Carl R Rogers (Constable - London)

Part III Implications for Psychological Theory

Chapter 11 . A Theory of Personality & Behavior

The 19 Propositions

I) Every individual exists in a continually changing world of experience of which he is the centre.

II) The organism reacts to the field as it is experienced and perceived. This perceptual field is, for the individual "reality".

III) The organism reacts as an organized whole to this phenomenal field.

IV) The organism has one basic tendency and striving - to actualize, maintain, and enhance the experiencing organism.

V) Behavior is basically the goal-directed attempt of the organism to satisfy its needs as experienced, in the field as perceived.

VI) Emotion accompanies and in general facilitates such goal-directed behavior, the kind of emotion being related to the seeking versus the consummatory aspects of the behavior, and the intensity of the emotion being related to the perceived significance of the behavior for the maintenance and enhancement of the organism.

VII) The best vantage point for understanding behavior is from the internal frame of reference of the individual himself.

VIII) A portion of the total perceptual field gradually becomes differentiated as the self.

IX) As a result of interaction with the environment, and particularly as a result of evolutional interaction with others, the structure of self is formed - an organized, fluid, but consistent conceptual pattern of perceptions of characteristics and relationships of the "I" or the "me" together with values attached to these concepts.

X) The values attached to experiences, and the values which are part of the self structure, in some instances are values experienced directly by the organism, and in some instances are values introjected or taken over from others, but perceived in distorted fashion, as if they had been experienced directly.

XI) As experiences occur in the life of the individual, they are either (a) symbolized, perceived, and organized into some relationship to the self, (b) ignored because there is no perceived relationship to the self-structure, (c) denied symbolization or given a distorted symbolization  because the experience is inconsistent with the structure of the self.

XII) Most of the ways of behaving which are adopted by the organism are those which are consistent with the concept of self.

XIII) Behavior may, in some instances, be brought about by organic experiences and needs which have not yet been symbolized. Such behavior may be inconsistent with the structure of the self, but in such instances the behavior is not owned by the individual.

XIV) Psychological maladjustment exists when the organism denies to awareness significant sensory and visceral experiences, which consequently are not symbolized and organized into the gestalt of the self structure. When this situation exists, there is a basic or potential psychological tension.

XV) Psychological adjustment exists when the concept of the self is such that all the sensory and visceral experiences of the organism are, or may be, assimilated on a symbolic level into a consistent relationship with the concept of self.

XVI) Any experience which is inconsistent with the organization or structure of self may be perceived as a threat, and the more of these perceptions there are, the more rigidly the self-structure is organized to maintain itself.

XVII) Under certain conditions, involving primarily complete absence of any threat to the self-structure, experiences which are inconsistent with it may be perceived, and examined, and the structure of the self revised to assimilate and include such experiences.

XVIII) When the individual perceives and accepts into one consistent and integrated system all his sensory and visceral experiences, then he is necessarily more understanding of others and is more accepting of others as separate individuals.

XIX) As the individual perceives and accepts into his self-structure more of his organic experiences, he finds that he is replacing his present value system - based so largely upon introjections which have been distortedly symbolized - with a continuing organismic valuing process.





Theory of Personality & Behaviour