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Carl Rogers: biography of the impeller of humanism in therapy

Carl Rogers: biography of the impeller of humanism in therapy

November 11, 2022

The name of Carl Rogers is widely known in the world of psychology. One of the pioneers of humanistic psychology and creator of client-centered therapy, his contributions made him even worthy of the presidency of the APA. Knowing the life of this author can be of great interest, and that is why in this article we are going to make a summary of the biography of Carl Rogers .

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Brief biography of Carl Rogers

Carl Ransom Rogers was born on January 1902 in Oak Park, Chicago , being the fourth of six brothers. His parents were Walter Rogers (civil engineer) and Julia Rogers (housewife), being the fourth of six siblings. The family had strong Christian and evangelical convictions, being the important religion in the maturational and intellectual development of the author. Family bonding was positive and close, instilling in parents values ​​such as the importance of effort and perseverance.


When she was twelve years old her family bought a farm and moved to it, spending her adolescence and acquiring Rogers a great interest in agriculture and biology , actively participating in the care of animals and often reading scientific literature related to that sector.

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Years of formation and marriage

In 1919 he enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in the Agriculture degree. However, throughout his studies and after attending various religious days decided to turn his interest and studies towards theology and history .


In 1922, during his penultimate year of studies, he was chosen to participate in an international conference of the World Federation of Christian Students in China. During the stay in the Asian continent and in the conference he was able to observe a great diversity of beliefs and the confrontation still existing between the members of the countries involved in opposing sides during the First World War. This trip would make Rogers rethink his conception of life. After his return, he graduated in History.

During his university years he would resume contact with Ellen Elliott, a former elementary schoolmate whom he would fall in love with and who he would end up marrying in 1924. After that and once the studies were over, the couple he moved to New York, where Rogers would enroll in the "Union Theological Seminary" . There he would continue his studies on theology and philosophy at the same time that he would begin to attend different courses of the School of Teachers of the University of Columbia. In the latter he discovered and was interested in aspects related to psychology.


After concluding in one of the seminars that his path and his philosophy were not ascribed to religion (although he retained an interest in aspects such as the meaning of life), he decided to abandon the theology degree. Likewise would enroll at Columbia University to study Psychology , specifically in the clinical psychology program, and start working with children at the Institute for Child Guidance in New York. He obtained his master's degree in 1928, and his doctorate in Psychology in 1931.

Professional life, therapy and humanistic psychology

During the year 1928, he was hired at the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Child Cruelty, where he would work on aspects such as prevention of crimes in young people at risk of social exclusion and with different problems and who would become director. In this place I would work for twelve years, observing and working with multiple patients.

In Rochester he observed on several occasions that in the work with patients it is the client himself who knows the most about what affects him and where his problems are, often knowing what direction to take to solve them. As well tried to rush to present proposals on forms of therapy .

In 1940 he was hired by the State University of Ohia as a teacher, after the publication of his first book "Clinical Treatment of the Problem Child" the previous year. The same year would begin to make conferences, being remarkable the one realized in the University of Minesotta in which it would establish the bases of the non-directive therapy. Rogers He stated that the user of the services of the psychologist was not a patient but a client (which assumes that the subject is not limited to receiving the intervention but is an active subject and the architect of their own recovery) and that the role of the therapist is to help the client in a non-directive way, as a support to their own activity of the subject.

In 1945 he was invited to create a health care center at the University of Chicago, learning as time passed to establish useful, close and therapeutically productive relationships with his patients. Due to his numerous contributions in 1947 He was named president of the American Psychological Association (APA) . Throughout 1951 he published "Client-Centered Psychotherapy", in which the author develops his well-known theory in which he highlights the role of each of us to achieve growth and personal change.

Rogers returned to the University of Wisconsin in 1957, where he would act as professor of the department of psychology at the same time that he would perform research programs with schizophrenic population . However, different conflicts in that department caused the author to become disenchanted with the university world. In 1964 he was offered a position as a researcher in La Jolla, where he lived and worked until his death.

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Death and legacy

During his last years of life Carl Rogers continued to research and publish different works of great importance, in addition to working in clinical practice and various conferences.

In February of 1987 Rogers fractured his hip in a fall that made him undergo surgery. The intervention was a success, but soon after he suffered a cardiac arrest. Carl Rogers died on February 4, 1987 in San Diego , California.

Rogers' legacy is broad. It is one of the pioneering authors of humanistic psychology , highly interested in the personal development and in the possibility of the own person to rule their life and to evolve. In addition, it emphasizes the conception of client-centered therapy, the importance given to the interaction between therapist and patient and the fact of proposing non-directive therapy, which supposed a revolution in his time. Many of its methods are still applied today, or have served as inspiration for other authors.


Mercury KF9 progress (November 2022).


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