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The Construct of Self Esteem

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* Discuss how a Rogerian perspective would explain the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of people with low self-esteem.

* Explain how this theoretical orientation suggests a means to assist people in overcoming their sense of low self-esteem.

* Use the readings in the Schultz and Schultz text for this unit to support your discussion.

When applying the Rogerian perspective to the concept of self-esteem, a person's self-esteem is based on their own personal judgment of worthiness. If a person has low self-esteem, then, using the Rogerian perspective, that person would believe themselves to be unworthy. People with a low self-esteem would have a hard time perceiving the world and those around them in a real way. Since psychological stability plays a part in personal perception, people with a low self-esteem will more than likely have a poor self-concept, according to the terms defined by their parents, when they were a child (Schultz & Schultz, 2008). In other words, people behave in a way that is consistent with their self-concept. For example, a person may be told that they are pretty, and they will not believe that they are pretty. Rogers believed that people with low self-esteem received negative feedback from their parents or authority figures and caused them to have psychological problems. Having this inaccurate perception, they may become estranged from their true self. People that are considered to be psychologically healthy are able to perceive themselves, others, and events as they really are. These people are also open to new experiences.

Carl Rogers believed that therapists should extend unconditional positive regard to his clients through person-centered therapy (Schultz & Schultz, 2008). In order to deal with people who have low self-esteem, Rogers would help them overcome the negative effects of experiences they previously experienced through self-actualization. Rogers believed that all of us have an innate tendency to grow and develop. He believed if he could unconditionally serve his patients then they would develop positive self-regard and in turn provide it to others.


Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2008). Theories of personality (9th ed.). Florence, KY: Wadsworth/Cengage. ISBN: 9780495506256.



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