Wednesday, April 09, 2014


Self-promotion is far more common than is promoting the development of our self or helping others to grow their self. We see examples of self-promotion all around us each day. People seldom do a good deed that they don't make sure everyone knows about. People want their names in the paper or on the evening news telling about their accomplishments. We all want to be recognized by our peers and by the society we live in.

Carl Rogers (January 8, 1902 – February 4, 1987) had his own unique approach to psychology and human development which was called the person-centered approach. His theories touched therapy with client-centered therapy and education with student-centered learning. He received many awards, but to me his most lasting achievement was his concept of self.

Rogers believed that people must be fully honest with themselves. Rogers' conception of the self was a triangle. The three sides of the triangle as he saw it were composed of the Perceived Self (how a person sees self & and how others see them), the Real Self (how person really is) and the Ideal Self (how person would like to be). In Rogers' triangle the ideal serves as the base of the triangle which supports the two other elements of the self. Rogers thought the ideal self is at the core from which all else is built. In other words, a person's dreams of what they want to become is the building block of their recovery journey. How many times have you been told or heard someone told that their dream was simply unrealistic? I believe with all my heart that Rodgers would send that mental health worker to the house to dream about were they wanted to work next.

It is not a matter of whether Rogers was totally right or just partially right. His contribution was to make what the person perceived, was and dreamed about being important. He spent his life making person-centered something that could be defended and practiced. The tragedy is that it is mostly just words on paper in a mental health system with too much power to oppress the people they are serving.

I had the privilege of attending the 38th Facilitator Training Course in Psychological Counseling at the Elizabeth H. Faulk Foundation, Inc.'s Center for Group Counseling in Boca Raton, FL in 1995. It was a course based on the concepts of Carl Rodgers.

This world would change for the better almost over night if we could stop self-promoting and start promoting self in ourselves and others.

© Ed Cooper, 4/9/2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
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