50th Anniversary of the
Center for Studies of the Person
2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Center for Studies of the Person (CSP). CSP was born in 1968, a year of marked contrasts, of great social and political upheaval in the United States and around the world. The year was marked in the United States by the killings of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy Jr., by racial riots and civil rights protests, by political protests and student unrest against the Vietnam War; by civil unrest, student protests,and riots in Europe; and by the invasion of Czechoslovakia bringing an end to the Prague Spring. On a more hopeful note, it was the year the American civil rights act was signed and the three man crew of Apollo 7 first circled the moon.
It was at this time that Carl Rogers and a group of social scientists and psychologists founded the Center for Studies of the Person. Their intention was to develop a greater understanding – through the study and and experiencing of our interactions with ourselves and others – of what it is to be fully human, of our strengths and weaknesses, of our ability to grow and potential for change.
The founding of the Center marked the shift in Rogers’ focus from Client Centered Therapy (CCT) and the therapeutic encounter – which was the first to conduct research in the field of psychotherapy – to the application of the same principles – Empathy, Congruence and Unconditional Positive Regard – to the broader field of human relationship and activity. In the 1980’s, this new development became known as the Person Centered Approach (PCA).
Over this period a greater vision of humanistic psychology emerged. This included explorations of the worth and dignity of the individual, of the conditions of human experience and growth, of the search for meaning and self-transcendence, of love, identity, psychological health and the hope for better future.
Influenced by the work of Carl Rogers and his colleagues further developments have appeared over the past 50 years to revolutionize psychology, learning and education. Focusing, Motivational Interviewing, Effectiveness Trainings and Non-Violent Communication are some of the better known. Other areas which have been influenced include: mental and physical health, psychotherapy and counseling, community development, peace, justice and conflict resolution, , social services, organizational design and development, spirituality, politics and governance. For this and many other accomplishments in his work and life, Rogers was many times considered by the Networker for many years the most influential psychologist of our times.
We will be honoring this anniversary year at our 2019 Conference whose theme – Celebrating 50 years of person centered healing and wisdom – commemorates the many significant contributions of the Center, its members and others who have been influenced by Carl Rogers, to the study and understanding of human behavior. We will focus on the past, the present and the future – where we have been, where we are, and where we are going.