By Geoffrey Geddes
Psychologist Carl Rogers’s therapeutic model rests on two philosophical pillars: first, that a person will, unless hampered by environmental factors, move toward congruency with his or her real self or, as Kierkegaard phrased it, “that self which one truly is”; and second, that the prototypical human self is intrinsically “constructive and trustworthy.” In other words, people are, by design and desire, good, and the job of a psychotherapist is to help them overcome the environmental evil forces that threaten to derail their journey to the land of joyful congruency. My tongue is not so firmly pressed into my cheek that I cannot appreciate the kind heart with which Dr. Rogers approached each day and each sufferer. Despite his protestation to the contrary, Dr. Rogers was the best kind of Pollyanna: one who applies his positive philosophical presumptions to improve our collective lot. And who knows? Maybe he was right.