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The French existentialism movement during the early and mid twentieth century influenced many areas outside of the philosophical world Among those effected was uprising humanistic psychology Carl Rogers played a principal role in this new concentration Rogers psychological contributions consisted mainly of his practice of client-centered therapy and his idea of the self and self-actualization Both of these theories have strong existentialist connections Rollo Mays The Origins and Significance of the Existential Movement in Psychology also presents interesting relationships between Rogers and prominent existentialists Rogers while not an existentialist philosopher incorporated existentialist themes and ideas into his contributions to the humanistic psychology movement To understand Carl Rogers ideas it is important to first briefly examine his life history Rogers was born in 1902 in Chicago His family life was that of a strict religious household that held the family unit to the utmost importance Rogers made few friends growing up and in college did not stray much from his religious foundations Originally planning on a life as a minister Rogers did not turn to psychological studies until he started working with abused children at the Rochestor Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Here Rogers formed the basis of many his ideas regarding client-centered therapy and the self Thorne 6 Rogers would continue studying these ideas throughout his career In examining Rogers place in existentialist history it is interesting to note how Rogers himself viewed it Rogers considered himself an existentialist by nature In an interview with Richard Evans Rogers commented on a lecture that he once gave titled How to be an Existentialist without really trying 69 He believed that instead of trying to think like an existentialist he discovered many main existentialism ideas through his research with patients and their quest for self-actualization In respect to American versus European existentialism Rogers felt that he related more to the positivism of the American movement but still connected with Europeans like Soren
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