In the book Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes describes psycho-analysis as “a systematic analysis of the subjective thought. It (psycho-analysis) is based upon theory that nature is perfect and when let alone will flow through man in a perfect state of health” (Holmes, 1926/1938). With psychology being developed during the time of Holmes, his ideas were in line with self-theory instead of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory of the time.
In this research, the author will examine the theoretical process of self-theory and its therapeutic techniques and principles. The theory will also cover a brief history of its development and other theories and thoughts that have stemmed from its roots.

With the emergence of numerous psychological theories over the years, one could say that choosing a theory is worse than choosing a pair of shoes to wear for a special occasion. In order to avoid such an inner turmoil, I decided to choose the theory that was closer to where my ideas and thoughts find themselves currently as a student.
After reading through the few theories that were written in the book, Counseling: Theory and Process, written by James C. Hansen, Robert Rossberg and Stanley H. Cramer (1972/1994), I found myself following more and more after the ideas and concepts of humanism, or self-theory. Although there are many branches off of this theory, I decided not to delve into an area that could take far more time to understand than the time given for this research.
To try and comprehend every theory and theorist under the self-theory guise would nearly be impossible to do. Although it is able to be done over a matter of time, with the amount of time given to complete this task, I found it impossible to find many additional theories under this self-theory umbrella. However, with various ideas that presented themselves throughout the course of this research, I chose to include a few thoughts and their thinkers into this concentrated area of humanism/ self-theory. With the evolution of humanity and science, “…theory is being continually formulated and revised…” (Rogers, 1951), making current thought on self-theory more advanced than it was in the early, middle, and even latter years of Carl Rogers’ career.
Gordon Allport once said that “the goal of psychology is to reduce discord among our philosophies of man and to establish a scale of probable truth” (1955). In a previous text he relays that “general psychology…selects a single attribute or function that can be conveniently isolated for study” (Allport, 1937). William Wundt believed that psychology examines the complete content of experience in its associations to the subject while William James added that psychology is the science of limited minds, and while Edward B. Titchener said that psychology is the study of familiarity measured as reliant on any person (1937). All of this, though more than 70 years old, still holds true to today’s thoughts and ideas of psychology as being a science that deals with the mind and emotions (Agnes, 2007). The belief of what it does or what it is could take a number of pages if one were to look at all the various thoughts and ideas on the subject matter and would also become increasingly uninteresting, therefore, these ideas will be the basis of psychology for this research.

In order to conduct the research for this project, there were two methods used. By using the Chapman University Leatherby Libraries, I was able to obtain numerous books and articles on self-theory, humanism, or any other number of thoughts under these guises. I also sought out the services of Google.com to find various web sites to assist in additional thought or theory that could be of use for this research.

By conducting research through numerous means and in order to determine the factors that need to be included in self-theory, I was able to use ideas from Gordon Allport and his personality and trait theories, Carl Rogers and his psychotherapeutic techniques, concepts on theories of personality, thoughts on personality testing, ideas that have been previously presented by Heinz Kohut, and various other humanistic approaches. (Kohut himself, although he predominantly followed Freudian or psychoanalytic theory, he eventually makes two very conceptual shift’s; first from psychoanalysis to drive or discharge theory and second to the primacy of self experience (Gottesfeld, 1984). This later shift began the development of Kohutian theory. Although some of his thoughts were specifically found in the primacy of self experience, they follow very much in the guise of self-theory.)
The ideas and thoughts of which abnormal psychological issues that are able to be supported with this theory will be examined in minor detail at the present time and will be further studied at a later date. While looking at self-theory, we find that the locus of control appears to be a vital aspect in itself. Through many previous research projects that involve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, as well as self-esteem concerns, the locus of control appears to be a highly important factor in psychological research. This vital part of self-theory originated from Julian B. Rotter and his social learning theory (Mearns, 2000/2009) and “refers to people’s very general, cross-situational beliefs about what determines whether or not they get reinforced in life” (2000/2009). Mearns also said that people can be categorized along a gamut from incredibly internal to extremely external. Christiansen, Baum and Bass-Haugen said that “Rotter introduced locus of control to suggest that individuals may limit their choices…based on their beliefs about the control they have over the outcomes of events” (2005). Although locus of control is not highly discussed in self-theory, it is a vital part of the theory and its relative components.

The history of psychology dates back to Alkindus in the ninth century (Yaqub Ibn Ishaq Al-Kindi, 2002) eventually evolving into ideas set forth by Descartes in the 16th and 17th centuries (Fancher, 1979/1996) and has an in depth history that defines its principles and ideas through modern day. In modern day psychology, the history has evolved from great minds such as Immanuel Kant, William James, John Watson and many others. This history has caused an evolution effect in psychology that has allowed new theories to be born from thoughts of how older theories work. Self-theory is one of these theories which have evolved from both classic psychoanalytical theory and neo-Freudian thought as well. Some of the many supporters of self-theory have included Allport, J.F.T. Bugental, Charlotte Buhler, Maslow, Rollo May, Gardner Murphy, Henry Murray, and Rogers along with humanists from other disciplines as well (Humanistic, 2001). Much of (self-theories) construction has revolved about the construct of self (Rogers, 1951).
It was Carl Rogers’ view of human nature that brought forth his humanistic/ person-centered therapy/ self-theory to the light of day. This theory would off a fuller concept of what it means to be human and would become known also as the “Third Force” according to Abraham Maslow (Humanistic, 2001; Glassman & Hada, 2006). Rogers started studying the humanistic approach in the 1930’s and since then it has grown to be one of the foundational theories used n psychology today. Duane and Sydney Shultz describe humanism as a system of thought in which human interests and values are of primary importance and the humanistic psychologist argues against psychoanalysis and behaviorism, arguing that these systems present too limited and demanding an image on human nature (Schultz & Schultz, 2001). It was acceptance and respect that Carl Rogers chose the core concepts of his approach to therapy as he understood such a powerful impact to be on the individual (Branden, 1994).
To understand self-theory, one needs to look at the fundamental principles and theoretical perspectives that allow it to help in psychology. With the examination of the several components of humanism, we find six main components of humanism or self-theory. Each of these six components were explored and consist of; core principles, the explanation of maladaptive or abnormal behavior, the therapist’s role in relationship to the client, the goals of counseling, the treatment plan, and the therapeutic techniques. It was this therapy, also known as Rogerian therapy, that was one of the first major alternatives to psychodynamic therapy that helped open the field to new approaches and the paving of the way for psychologists to practice psychotherapy, which had previously been considered the exclusive territory of psychiatrists (Comer, 2007).

Core Principles
When looking at the core principles of self-theory, one of the main ideas presented by Carl Rogers was that everyone is basically good or healthy, not bad or ill (Hansen, Rossberg, & Cramer, 1972/1994; Boeree, 1998/2006). Rogers did not believe in the ideas that Freud had presented of everyone has a mental illness or is inherently bad. This led him to his main thoughts on the individual.
Every part on the organism’s existence, specifically its experiences, or the phenomenal field, and the self (Hansen, Rossberg, & Cramer, 1972/1994), which includes self-esteem, self-concept, self-image, self-affirmation, and self-actualization (Allport, 1955), produces change which aids the person in endeavoring toward self-actualization. It is through this process that we are able to view the organism’s personality development. This then helps to draw a distinction between what are matters of importance to the individual and what are merely matters of fact. This is the first thing an adequate psychology of growth should do (1955).
The theories principles are entirely built on a single “force of life” that Rogers calls the actualizing tendency, or the basic human motivation to actualize, maintain, and enhance the self (Boeree, 1998/2006; Schultz & Schultz, 2001). These principles are based on the valuing process of the organism that includes; positive regard or another way of stating this according to Kohut is selfobject (yes, this is a correct spelling, according to the text) which refers to an aspect of the person’s experience of another person (Ornstein, 2002), positive self-regard, conditions of worth, and proper conditions of normal development (Boeree, 1998/2006; Ewen, 1998; Hansen, 1972/1994; Schultz & Schultz, 2001). This assists in the development of the “fully-functioning” person and their characteristics. This is also brought about by several important factors awareness to all experience, existential living, appreciation of all experiences, organismic trusting, experiential freedom, creativity, and a continual need to grow (1972/1994; 1998; 1998/2006; 2001).

Maladaptive or Abnormal Behavior
It is more than likely that the individual has experiences during early childhood that leads to maladjustment or maladaptive behavior. This is relative in theories across the board. Because of the necessity for positive regard, the organism eventually renounces its feelings, at least to some extent (as in Karen Horney’s theory) and ultimately incorporates the parental (or leadership) feelings into the self-concept. This is a process for which Rogers borrowed the Freudian term introjection (Ewen, 1998). It is through this process that the conflict develops between actualizing and self-actualizing concepts and ultimately brings about the abnormal behavior.
The failure in the process of the proper interaction of the organism, the phenomenal field and self can bring about noticeable characteristics of those who fail in this area (Hansen, Rossberg, & Cramer, 1972/1994). Estrangement seems to be the beginning of the maladaptive behavior taking place in the self in which the organism may need to seek out therapeutic assistance. This estrangement begins when the person, or organism, strives hard, or finds that they have a need and desire for the positive regard of others. This ultimately leads to the incongruity of self, a state of anxiousness and confusion, and ultimately the idea that the individual organism needs to develop defense mechanisms in order to keep the person’s perceptions of experiences consistent with the self-structure (1972/1994). To understand this in a better sense, let us take a look at an individual who has had an obstructed view of themselves and the world around them.
David grew up in a home that he felt had no love for him. His mother was married more than once, had a temporary bought with drugs and alcohol, and eventually was left to raise her three children on her own. David felt that his mother never believed him and that she would always stick up for the man that she was dating or married to. When David was in his teens, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Eventually however, he decided that he did not like what the drugs did to him, as is the case with many individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Over the years, David has not been true to himself and has found that the only was to try and obtain positive regard from others is if he elaborates every story to make himself look better. This has led him into severe incongruent behavior; constantly lying to others, making threats on others lives when he feels that he is being threatened by others’ words, and stealing anything that he desires from even his closest of friends and his own family. To make the matters worse, David has found that even his anxiety level has changed for the worse and that he constantly has to defend himself and deny what others say about him in order to try and continue the cycle of looking better to others in order to gain their positive regard.

Therapist’s Role
The therapist’s role is not to try and fix the client, but to help them discover what they need to do by just listening and concerning themselves with the client’s perception of the self and the world (Carl Rogers:, n. d.), as well as through reflection (Boeree, 1998/2006). Reflection, however, must be used carefully and must come from the heart. It is “in the field of therapy that the first requisite is a skill which produces results” (Rogers, 1951).
The primary importance of the therapist’s role is stated in three conditions, genuineness or congruence, empathic understanding, and unconditional positive regard (Boeree, 1998/2006; Carl Rogers:, n. d.; Schultz & Schultz, 2001). Schultz and Schultz describe genuineness the best, “the counselor, in a sense, is transparent, allowing feelings and behaviors to occur within the relationship and with the client” (2001). Avril Thorne wrote “that it is…necessary to understand the motivations or goals of the individual” (Thorne, 2007). Gordon Allport said that “Rogers, in effect, asks counselors to sit back and, with little more than an occasionally well-placed m-hm, to encourage the patient himself to restructure and re-plan his life” (Allport, 1960).

Goals of Counseling
The goals for therapy do not lie on the therapist, but on the client. It is the client’s primary responsibility for the direction of therapy to flow where they desire (Carl Rogers:, n. d.). Rogers believed that people can regulate their behavior and develop their goals under the proper circumstances and that if the conditions are properly provided, the behavior will be positive and socially acceptable (Hansen, Rossberg, & Cramer, 1972/1994). They also believe that the counselor’s presence or behavior does not directly influence the client’s behavior in a counseling relationship.
In his 1942 book, Counseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice, Rogers lists twelve therapeutic techniques used in counseling the client:
I) The individual comes for help.
II) The helping situation is usually defined.
III) The counselor encourages free expression of feelings in regard to the problem.
IV) The counselor accepts, recognizes, and clarifies these negative feelings.
V) When the individual’s negative feelings have been quite fully expressed, they are followed by the faint and tentative expressions of the positive impulses which make for growth.
VI) The counselor accepts and recognizes the positive feelings which are expressed, in the same manner in which he has accepted and recognized the negative feeling.
VII) This insight, this understanding of self, is the next important aspect of the whole process. It provides the basis on which the individual can go ahead to new levels of integration.
VIII) Intermingled with this process of insight is a process of clarification of possible decisions, possible courses of action. (This should be emphasized that the steps outlined are not mutually exclusive, nor do they proceed in a rigid order.)
IX) The initiation of minute, but highly significant, positive actions.
X) Once the individual has achieved considerable insight and has fearfully and tentatively attempted some positive actions, the remaining aspects are elements for further growth.
XI) There is increasingly integrated positive action on the part of the client.
XII) There is a feeling of decreasing need for help, and a recognition on the part of the client that the relationship must end (1942).
It is at this point that the termination process of the counselor and client needs to begin and it should involve 1) assessing the client’s readiness to end the counseling process, 2) resolving any remaining affective issues, and 3) maximize the client’s transfer of learning and increase their self-reliance and confidence to maintain the changes (Hansen, Rossberg, & Cramer, 1972/1994). Rogers believed that the counseling process also included releasing expression, the achievement of insight and the closing phases.

Treatment Planning
It is clear that there are five main areas of the treatment plan. These include the worth of the individual, the nature of the counseling relationship, time limits, focusing on the individual and the here and now (Hansen, Rossberg, & Cramer, 1972/1994).
The worth of the individual is one of the primary reasons that the client most likely chose to originally seek therapy. By becoming an alter ego for the client, the counselor is able to help the client see themselves outside of themselves. This is done in part by being perceptive and sensitive to the client and their experiences. The counselor also assists the client by having a nonthreatening and nonjudgmental atmosphere that will welcome the client’s feelings into the structure of the self.
The next part allows the client-centered therapy to help the client understand that it is the client’s responsibility to find their own solutions and not the counselors. The counselor is only there to help the client find the solutions.
Time constraints also are an important factor. One reason is due to insurance companies that choose to only allow a certain number of treatments. The second is to help the client understand that there needs to be a time limit for not only each session, but also to try and help the client accomplish their goal that they originally came in for.
Focus is a two part plan in that the client needs to focus on themselves and not on other things that they cannot change and secondly to focus on the here and now. The client cannot change how another person reacts to them or treats them nor can they change anything from the past. The only thing that they can truly change is themselves and the here and now that they are facing.

Therapeutic Techniques
The final step in self-theory is therapeutic techniques. This is not to say that there are no other steps to be taken in the process, however, the current research only allowed for such steps to be completed.
It is insight that becomes a necessary prerequisite for behavior change and in order to accomplish this, the client must understand that the total self and all the underlying dynamics of their own behavior. Before the client can get along with, if he currently does not, he must know the reasons why before the behavior can improve. The counselor’s ability to establish proper conditions for therapeutic change must be the emphasis of the counselor (Hansen, Rossberg, & Cramer, 1972/1994).. By providing the sufficient and necessary conditions, the counselor acts to facilitate the client’s exploration of self, which leads to self-understanding and ultimately to changes in behavior. In techniques for therapy, there are basically no other techniques required for therapy. On the other hand, the more eclectic approaches that have derived from Rogers’ work use more specific techniques to accomplish certain goals.

In conclusion, I believe that with the ideas that I have been following in self-esteem for the past year, the thoughts and theory beliefs of Gordon Allport, and the work that I am interested in doing in counseling the LGBT community, self-theory will be highly helpful, if not the most beneficial theory that I could use. The ideas that Rogers and Maslow had in the beginnings of this theory, although have changed in a mild manner; have ultimately evolved to a better state for the therapeutic process. Although there are hundreds of theories out there, and many that are probably not even known, I believe that even with the basis of self-theory, having an overlapping concept with trait theory and behaviorism, I find that my ideal counseling techniques will be as James Hansen put it, “eclectic.”
The ideas that Rogers had for the client to actually find their own answers with the assistance and guidance of the therapist has been the foundations of what I have been doing since before I chose psychology as my major. Using this theory helps place my thoughts and ideas in a more concrete position that I can actually know who needs to be done when counseling a client.

The References have been removed to prevent plagerism of this paper. If you would like to quote anything from this paper please let me know and I will get you the information.