Carl Rogers Criticism - Essay

Carl Rogers and Mary Harrington Hall (interview date December 1967)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Rogers, Carl, and Mary Harrington Hall. “Carl Rogers Speaks Out on Groups and the Lack of a Human Science.” Psychology Today 1, no. 7 (December 1967): 19-21, 62-66.

[In the following interview, Rogers and Harrington discuss group therapy methods, and Rogers criticizes modern psychology for ignoring patients' personal needs.]

[Hall]: Shall we talk about groups—encounter groups, T-groups, sensitivity-training groups, group therapy? The group phenomenon demands exploration and explanation. And I've wondered … are people drawn toward this intense group experience because they feel loneliness and alienation in our strange society?


(The entire section is 5687 words.)

Diane C. Mader (essay date winter 1980)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Mader, Diane C. “What Are They Doing to Carl Rogers?” ETC: A Review of General Semantics 37, no. 4 (winter 1980): 314-20.

[In the following essay, Mader argues against the trend in rhetoric study that positioned Rogers as an Aristotelian rhetorician while ignoring the real goals of his methodology.]

Recent college composition texts seem to imply that there is a new rhetoric, or, at the least, an alternative to classical persuasion strategy. In Rhetoric: Discovery and Change the authors advocate Rogerian argument as an alternative to the traditional Aristotelian framework; similarly, the author of A Contemporary Rhetoric has a section that...

(The entire section is 2947 words.)

James S. Baumlin (essay date winter 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Baumlin, James S. “Persuasion, Rogerian Rhetoric, and Imaginative Play.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 17, no. 1 (winter 1987): 33-43.

[In the following essay, Baumlin explores the role of Rogerian group therapy in persuasive argument.]

Ideas can shape us, change us, and a change in beliefs enacts a change in self: witness, in an extreme literary case, Ebenezer Scrooge, or the man who admits, after years of self-deception, that he is an alcoholic. Yet teachers, preachers, politicians alike know that real change is rare and slow; we are, as a species, resistant to changes in our belief-structures. Reasons for this resistance are easy to find. When beliefs...

(The entire section is 4422 words.)

Wayne Pounds (essay date winter 1987)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pounds, Wayne. “The Context of No Context: A Burkean Critique of Rogerian Argument.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly 17, no. 1 (winter 1987): 45-59.

[In the following essay, Pounds presents a critique of the Rogerian rhetoric of love using Kenneth Burke's rhetoric of killing.]

But there is one aspect of the rhetorical tradition that so far as I can tell remains quite dead—its focus on public discourse. … a rhetoric is defined not just by its theory, but by the sorts of rhetorical problems it gives most emphasis to.1

—S. M. Halloran

My title refers to the problem of idealism in...

(The entire section is 5609 words.)

Phyllis Lassner (essay date spring 1990)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lassner, Phyllis. “Feminist Responses to Rogerian Argument.” Rhetoric Review 8, no. 2 (spring 1990): 220-32.

[In the following essay, Lassner examines the responses of female writing students to Rogerian persuasive techniques.]

When Rogerian argument was introduced in the 1970s, it was hailed as a heuristic which would “break the stalemate” that occurs when writers close themselves off from feeling the validity of an opposing argument (Hairston, “Carl Rogers' Alternative to Traditional Rhetoric” 373). Young, Becker, and Pike presented Rogerian argument as an alternative to traditional argument on the grounds that instead of using logic to destroy...

(The entire section is 5162 words.)

Brian Thorne (essay date 1992)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Thorne, Brian. “Criticisms and Rebuttals.” In Carl Rogers, pp. 64-89. London: SAGE Publications, 1992.

[In the following essay, Thorne outlines major arguments against Rogers's methodology.]


Rogers had his critics from the very beginning and they have not grown less vociferous with the passage of the years. At the present time the standing of person-centred scholars and therapists within the world of academic psychology is not high: they tend to be patronized as naive enthusiasts from a former age or to suffer the greatest indignity of all—indifference. Certainly the person-centred viewpoint does not align itself easily...

(The entire section is 11121 words.)

Samuel J. Sackett (essay date fall 1995)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Sackett, Samuel J. “The Application of Rogerian Theory to Literary Study.” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 35, no. 4 (fall 1995): 140-57.

[In the following essay, Sackett argues that the focus of Rogerian theory on empathetic understanding of the other can be successfully applied to the study of literature.]


Literary critics have long wrestled with the questions of why authors write at all and why a certain author wrote a certain work. The answers to these questions usually given by Freudian critics, not wholly in keeping with Freud's own attitudes, have tended to postulate that writers write because...

(The entire section is 6504 words.)