Biography of Carl Rogers

Biography of Carl Rogers

Are these five qualities related to personality? If so, how?How does Rogers’ view compare with that of Maslow and other humanistic psychologists?

1902 – 1987 
Dr. C. George Boeree 
Carl Rogers was born January 8, 1902 in Oak Park, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, the fourth of 
six children. His father was a successful civil engineer and his mother was a housewife and 
devout Christian. His education started in the second grade, because he could already read 
before kindergarten. 
When Carl was 12, his family moved to a farm about 30 miles west of Chicago, and it was here 
that he was to spend his adolescence. With a strict upbringing and many chores, Carl was to 
become rather isolated, independent, and self-disciplined. 
He went on to the University of Wisconsin as an agriculture major. Later, 
he switched to religion to study for the ministry. During this time, he was 
selected as one of ten students to go to Beijing for the “World Student 
Christian Federation Conference” for six months. He tells us that his 
new experiences so broadened his thinking that he began to doubt some 
of his basic religious views. 
After graduation, he married Helen Elliot (against his parents’ wishes), 
moved to New York City, and began attending the Union Theological 
Seminary, a famous liberal religious institution. While there, he took a student organized 
seminar called “Why am I entering the ministry?” I might as well tell you that, unless you want 
to change your career, never take a class with such a title! He tells us that most of the 
participants “thought their way right out of religious work.” 
Religion’s loss was, of course, psychology’s gain: Rogers switched to the clinical psychology 
program of Columbia University, and received his Ph.D. in 1931. He had already begun his 
clinical work at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. At this clinic, 
he learned about Otto Rank’s theory and therapy techniques, which started him on the road to 
developing his own approach. 
He was offered a full professorship at Ohio State in 1940. In 1942, he wrote his first book, 
Counseling and Psychotherapy. Then, in 1945, he was invited to set up a counseling center at the 
University of Chicago. It was while working there that in 1951 he published his major work, 
Client-Centered Therapy, wherein he outlines his basic theory.

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