Issues, Etc.

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The Role of Psychology in Current Educational Reform
by W. R. Coulson, Ph.D.

Empire State Taskforce for Excellence in Educational Methods
New Paltz, New York, December 13, 1997

When Carl Rogers talked to the 1981 convention of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, it was to complain about psychotherapy of the kind that, more than any other, had influenced the association at its founding in 1960. It was called Rogerian psychotherapy-named for Rogers himself. Another name was nondirective counseling. A creation of the early 1940s, it had been proposed as a humane replacement for behaviorism in the laboratory and Freudian psychoanalysis in the clinic.

Rogers didn't much care for either name, Rogerian or nondirective. But what experience had taught him by the time of his convention appearance of 1981 was that the therapy itself was wrong, not just the name. The therapy ought to be abandoned: "I hope Rogerian therapy goes down the drain," he told the audience. "Yes, you can try to grow to be more often empathetic, and more often feel an unconditional regard for this person." These were elements of therapy his writings had made popular. Yes, you can do this, he said, "but it is not something that you should do."

Why shouldn't you? I want to talk about the complaint he made against his own creation. It bears on long-term, continuing problems of our public schools, where ideals and techniques originating in Rogers' psychotherapy shape classroom give-and-take today and where teachers have come to think of themselves no longer as transmitters of knowledge but as T-group facilitators.

By the 1950s, Rogerianism was being called client-centered psychotherapy. Changing the name didn't change the basic approach. From the beginning the idea had been that clients will straighten themselves out when they work on their personal problems in the presence of an understanding, accepting and courteous listener, a Carl Rogers. Research in the 1940s tended to validate the approach mostly, however, when practiced by Rogers himself. He was a remarkable man, and his dedication, his severity if you will, was such that his clients were practically obliged to give up their neuroses. I mean to say that in his presence, after an agreement was struck to receive therapy, people found themselves losing any inclination to fool around; they felt encouraged to embrace whatever calling they might have been avoiding; which is to say they became serious about their potential to be better human beings.

Because this effect depended on influences originating in his particular upbringing, manner and personality, any hope for universal Rogerian therapy turned out to be empty. This became especially clear when Rogerianism was inserted into classrooms. For one thing, because society still expected subject matter learning in school, there wasn't enough time to imitate the extraordinarily patient and subtle Dr. Rogers. Teachers, who tried it, failed to get his results. Abraham Maslow wrote of having tried. After applying empathy and total acceptance to his psychology classes at Brandeis University, he wrote in his diary: "I feel ineffective, not well used, not using my full power. It's as if I took a job in a chewing-gum factory. What am I being paid for? Listening to them? I might as well be a chemist then. My knowledge and experience are wasted. I'm doing therapeutic work, not teaching psychology." Under a Rogerian regimen, he said, his students had "lost the traditional Jewish respect for knowledge, learning, and teachers," which meant, he said, "a generation of lousy professionals, since you can't learn medicine or plumbing or chemistry by T-grouping, or by 'discussion,' or by yourself."

In an essay in the last book of his career, Rogers addressed at length the problem Maslow sketched. The essay described what he called a "pattern of failure," seen in connection with a long series of efforts to introduce Rogerian methods into education. Seven years after his death, I might add, his publisher reissued the book with the help of an education professor and eliminated the essay on failure. Rogerian methods are invalid in the classroom; future readers of Rogers' work on education will not know that he knew this.

Let me see if I can illustrate the problem he described in the essay and elsewhere; it speaks to the continuing popularity of psychologically oriented discussion sessions in the "Magic Circle" as one elementary school curriculum calls it. A recent New York Times report is at hand. Datelined Jamestown, New York, October 30, 1997, it begins: Inside the civic center here Wednesday night, at a panel discussion called "How Do We Protect Our Kids?" apple-cheeked high school girls with shiny blonde pageboys, crew neck sweaters and pleated skirts ushered people to their seats. These were the class officers at Jamestown High School, the good girls with their parents. here to ask questions of a somber panel of AIDS experts. On the street outside, were the girls [and friends of the girls] who had slept with Nushawn J. Williams, infected with H.I.V. and charged with a deadly swath of predatory sex here in Chatauqua County. They had stories. The more lurid the better to the television talk show hosts who were offering limousine rides and bright lights to those who would talk.

The experimental work that Rogers, Harold Lyon, I, and our colleagues did in the schools in the 1960s and early '70s eventually became the talk shows of trash TV, as restraints were widely lifted and confession became very public.

In the 1930s, somewhat by accident, when Rogers was working at a guidance clinic in Rochester, he discovered a method with the power to restore good character in people who were basically decent but momentarily stalled in life, people who were acting "neurotic." He called the key to this method "the clarifying response" and wrote it up in a book published in 1942, Counseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice. The book was written after he left full-time clinical practice in Rochester for a teaching position at Ohio State University. Graduate students were quickly enthusiastic for the approach; psychology faculty tended not to approve because, in its modesty and decency, Rogers' method challenged the assumptions about human beings endorsed by the dominant Freudian and behaviorist systems of psychology. But as Rogers' clinical students tended to like it, so did faculty and students of the college of education, and they were allowed to sign up for his courses. This is where the bigger trouble started.

Rogers' book offered numerous practical treatment examples. One case featured college student Paul, who'd sought counsel for the problem of his grades. His immediate problem was that he'd flunked a class and was putting off telling his parents. When he lived at home they knew his habit of putting things off. But now in college, "I've been sort of telling them that I improved in this respect. I was all right the first quarter. Well, I wasn't entirely all right...." He hadn't gone to gym class, and when retribution followed he put off telling his folks. To Rogers he said, "I've already flunked. I've just been negligent about it. Now, they'll know that you can't flunk in gym without being negligent about it. They'll ask why." Rogers said, "It will be fairly hard for you to tell them." Paul replied, "Yes. Oh, I don't know if they're going to sort of condemn me. I think so, because that's what they've done in the past." Rogers said, "You feel that they'll be unsympathetic and they'll condemn you...." To his readers Rogers explained: "The counselor simply restates the attitude, which Paul has been expressing, thus clarifying the feeling and helping the boy to realize that he is understood." And actually, with Rogers doing it, the "clarifying response" tended to be effective. Over time, Paul, for example, let go his neurotic ways. "The main aim of the counselor," Rogers explained, "is to assist the client to drop any defensiveness, any feeling that attitudes should not be brought into the open, any concerns that the counselor may criticize or suggest or order. If this aim can be accomplished, then the client is freed to look at the total situation in its reality, without having to justify or protect himself." Rogers' approach tended to put people in touch with reality. And if it hadn't, he would have tried another approach. He was a good man. Here is how he put the matter of "the primary technique" of the counselor. The primary technique, which leads to insight on the part of the client, is one, which demands the utmost in self-restraint on the counselor's part. . The primary technique is to encourage the expression of attitudes and feelings until insightful understanding appears spontaneously.

Rogers intended this method for the clinic, not for the classroom. He was insistent on that. But through the efforts of Louis E. Raths, a faculty member at Ohio State (who was in education when Rogers was making a name in clinical psychology), the clarifying response became the basis of what came to be called "values clarification" with Raths' graduate student Sidney Simon leading the way in promoting it to school teachers and counselors. The loosening of moral restraints among youth followed. Was harm intended? No, of course not. Rogers' graduate students were more enthusiastic for his primary technique than he was, and the educational establishment more enthusiastic yet. But I can't think that anyone guessed how badly the enterprise would turn out. All alike surely meant to do good, much like today's DARE officers, who apply Rogers' early methods in three-quarters of the nation's school districts. DARE means "Drug Abuse Resistance Education." DARE officers receive two weeks of training. An article distributed in training commends the Rogerian approach: "DARE never tells students, 'Don't use drugs.' Not once, in the course of seventeen lessons, does the DARE officer ever say, ‘Don't use drugs.’ Instead it works on developing the self-esteem that makes it easier to say 'no'."

Does it? No. An observation by Simone Weil gets at what goes wrong. Nothing is so beautiful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstasy, as the good, the true, the beautiful; no desert is so dreary, monotonous and boring as evil. But with fantasy it's the other way around. Fictional good is boring and flat, while evil is varied, intriguing, attractive and full of charm.

The Times article, that I mentioned earlier, addresses the problem of drugs. Nushawn Williams was one of a number of men who came to Jamestown to deal: "Drug dealers come here from New York, Detroit and Buffalo to ply their trade. Decked out in gold chains and dreadlocks, these men seduce vulnerable small-town girls, several of the girls said."

The Times described earlier the good girls of Jamestown, the high school class officers and the like, "with their shiny blonde page boys, crew neck sweaters and pleated skirts." But the newspaper didn’t interview the good girls. Like the talk show hosts, the Times wanted to talk to the other girls, the seduced and other children of the street. The Times, somewhat surprisingly, called them "the wayward girls" of Jamestown.

The nondirective classroom discussion circle is most readily observable today in DARE. Predecessor programs began in the 1970s and included Innerchange: A Journey Into Self Learning Through Group Interaction; Here's Looking at You; Magic Circle, and Quest. It is not coincidental that Quest was co-sponsored in the mid-1980s by a tobacco company, R. J. Reynolds, or that the company later commissioned a program of its own for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Called Right Decisions/Right Now and distributed free, the Reynolds program is said by the company to have been welcomed by now into "more than 10,000 middle schools nationally."

In the nondirective classroom discussion circle, influence runs not from the good children to the wayward, as everybody would wish (including, we must believe, the wayward), but from the wayward to the good. This on the Simone Weil principle and confirmed in research on the process and outcomes of such groups. In Rogers' 1969 article in Psychology Today, titled "Community: The Group Comes of Age," the father of nondirective psychotherapy explained how his approach worked in a group work setting (though his group work was for adults, not children.) He began by imagining a person attending his or her first human potential workshop. (Human potentialism was a name of the 1960s for the intensive group approach.) After the initial, milling-around phase of an opening group session, Rogers said, the "first significant event" will be the expression of "negatively toned feelings." This will lead to the realization, he said, that one's learning is no one's responsibility but one's own. It's this realization, and the behavior change that can follow, that leads today's promoters of programs like DARE to say circle-based education is better than traditional classroom teaching. The children come by a sense of ownership of their group experience. They become active learners, no longer passive.

Rogers says the "freedom to learn" experienced in the intensive group is necessarily risky. It may seem puzzling that what is most likely to follow such negative experiences is that a member will reveal himself to the group in a significant way. The reason no doubt is that the member has come to realize that this is in part his group. He can help to make of it what he wishes. He has also observed that negative feelings have been expressed and usually been accepted or assimilated without catastrophic results. He realizes there is freedom here, albeit risky freedom. . A climate of trust is beginning to develop. So the member gambles....

What does the member gamble? Predictably, at the least, he gambles solidarity with relatives and other back-home associates, especially (if he is a young person) his parents. Thomas Gordon writes about that. Gordon was Rogers' most prolific and influential student. Based on his teacher's approach to individual psychotherapy, he created methods called Parent Effectiveness Training, Teacher Effectiveness Training, Leader Effectiveness Training, and Youth Effectiveness Training. Here is Gordon from his book of 1970, Parent Effectiveness Training. Parents are guilty of the "hard sell." No wonder that in most families kids are desperately saying to their parents, "Get off my back," "Stop hassling me," "I know what you think, you don't need to keep telling me every day," "Stop lecturing me," "Too much." "Goodbye."

-Parent Effectiveness Training, p. 276.

He said the children of most families are desperate. But he didn't know most families. He was a clinician working with troubled youngsters. Hearing their desperation, he assumed it typified most children, even if perhaps, since he is a psychologist, especially if they and their parents didn't know it.

And here is Gordon from the 1974 book Teacher Effectiveness Training:

In T.E.T. classes, the following questions help teachers clarify their true values: "Do I have the right to choose my own values, independent of what my parents (or other important people) believe?" "Must I simply comply with what my parents said I should believe?"

-Teacher Effectiveness Training, p. 305.

Remember that Rogers said that in a climate of psychological freedom the group member gambles. He might think he is about to risk choosing his own values (to put the matter in Gordon's perspective). But maybe (to put the matter in mine) he is only swapping one set of authorities for another: the authorities back home for the authorities who set up the workshop. Be that as it may, the gamble begins, Rogers explains, "with letting the group know some deeper part of himself."

One man tells of the trap in which he finds himself, feeling that communication between himself and his wife is hopeless. A priest expresses the anger that he has bottled up; he has suffered unreasonable treatment at the hands of a superior. A scientist at the head of a large research department finds the courage to speak of his painful isolation, to tell the group that he has never had a friend. By the time he finishes his account he is shedding some of the tears of sorrow for himself that he has held in for many years. A woman of 40 tells of her absolute inability to free herself from the grip of her mother. It has begun the process that one workshop member has called "a journey into the center of the self." It is often a painful process.

The term "facilitator" is applied to the person who helps the discussion go toward the center of the self. If he's good at his craft, he helps group members not to be overcome by pain as they move down into themselves. To borrow Rogers' example of the priest, the facilitator says, "Looks like you're feeling…well, what is it, Father? You said your superior doesn't understand you? Perhaps you could say more about that?"

There was such a priest in one of Rogers' workshops in the '60s, to whom he gave the pseudonym "Father Joe." After the workshop, Father Joe wrote to him of what it meant to be encouraged to talk about his feelings, when he wasn't yet sure that he felt anything. The workshop had begun on a Monday:

By Wednesday I was really confused. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on. I sat in wonder, and in fear, and in growing excitement at the interaction that was taking place all around me. It was as if something new, and intriguing, and intoxicating, as well as frightening, was becoming real all around me. The last two days seemed like a beautiful birth to a new existence. Never in my life before that group experience had I experienced "me" so intensely.

(Our president has had group experience and has become genuinely good at helping people feel their excitement and their pain. He has been called our national "Therapist-in-Chief." )

Jane Gross, who reported the story on Jamestown in the Times, was critical of the high school principal, Mr. Benjamin Gufstason, for not doing more to integrate the wayward girls and the good girls, and for resisting "offers from AIDS counselors eager to visit the school." For my part, I commend him. You know what the counselors would do once allowed into the classroom: pushing academics to the side, they would turn the chairs into a circle and speak facilitisms like "I guess I get the feeling that you resent your mother's iron grip on you." They'd get everyone talking about "experience," the unhappier (as it would turn out) the better. And of course on the dimension of unhappy experiences, the girls from the street would have the really interesting stories to tell. In an accepting climate, such experiences, being "full of charm," become infectious.

Jane Gross reported that at the community gathering at the high school, two of the girls who said they had sex with Mr. Williams slid into seats in the auditorium after the program had begun. They rolled their eyes at what they heard and left in minutes. Their friends were in the lobby, cutting deals with television producers. Some of the girls were courted in a downtown Mexican restaurant, encouraged to telephone friends who were H.I.V.-infected. A bartender in the restaurant, also a substitute teacher at the high school, begged the girls not to follow these new Pied Pipers, who wooed them with promises of lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Some girls confessed to lying about what happened to them; that's how badly they wanted to go.

With the advent of DARE, Right Decisions/Right Now, and their curricular cousins, children don't have to go to New York City to do talk show psychology. To be probed on personal experiences in front of an interested audience, they have only to go to school. The teacher (and since 1983, thanks to DARE, the police officer) has been instructed to stand by to facilitate. Says the skillful facilitator, "Girls, don't leave before you tell us what it means when you roll your eyes like that." And of course the good girls attend the same classes as the eye-rollers and become subject to the same faux-therapeutic process. Says the facilitator to the girls in page boys, pleated skirts and sweaters, "And how about you? You haven't said much about your experience." Facilitation works. It's easy today to open people up with a soft tone and a few simple techniques. I said the Simone Weil Principle had been confirmed in the research on circle-based programs. What happens is that the intriguing reports of the experienced kids eventually make the good kids a little ashamed not to be more experienced, and because they are serious about their studies and eager to learn whatever lessons the school seems to offer, some of these kids are liable to set out to remedy their experiential deficiencies. So the research findings on "direction of influence" suggest.

As to DARE's reaction to the findings, a revealing exchange was broadcast in February. Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey is a strong supporter of DARE, as is his boss, President Clinton. In an interview with the general, Dateline NBC reporter Len Canon told about a recent study on the effects of DARE on students in Illinois:

NBC reporter: The effect on suburban DARE students in Illinois was: students used more drugs, were more violent, and had a more negative attitude toward police than non-DARE students.

Gen. McCaffrey: Oh that’s twaddle. It doesn't make any sense. It doesn't fit our experience.

The reporter replied, "So you discount this study altogether."

McCaffrey: Sure. Yeah.

NBC: And you ignore any research that shows it doesn't work.

McCaffrey: Well, you know, the biggest research I've got is to watch a graduation in Los Angeles with Rosy Grier and I [sic], and parents who are Laotian and Hispanic and Gringos, and we're all just so positive on what these kids are doing.

The general speaks the language of theory; the theory is called experiential learning; it allows programs for school children to be sold, given away (as R. J. Reynolds does), or defended without research support. It's the same philosophy introduced to a teaching order of Catholic nuns by the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute in the 1960s (after which the parents pulled their children out and the order didn't survive); and it's the same philosophy popularized by yet another student of Carl Rogers, who wrote about what he called "psychology as the science of soul." A new age may be coming in which faith in science will be replaced just as faith in the church was replaced. Reliance upon outside, rational, and experimental proofs may yield to inner, intuitional, and experiential proofs.

He wrote that in 1970; it took awhile, but the new age he describes now seems to have arrived (at least in the case of DARE).

General McCaffrey said the finding of increased drug use, violence and negative attitudes toward police following DARE doesn't make sense. But as the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the federal agency backing DARE, readily admits, the program employs values clarification, that noxious derivative of Rogerian therapy. Rogers didn't promote it. But some of his most influential students did. Thomas Gordon writes of integrating values clarification into his training programs for teachers in the 1970s. In order to promote value clarity, he'd ask participants to write a list of "your strongest beliefs, the things you are most willing to stand up for."

Ask yourself how you came to value these activities and beliefs. Are they really what you value and believe, or what someone (perhaps a parent) talked you into (or forced you into) believing? Discovering that some of your values are not based on your own real experiences but borrowed from authority figures may free you to discard them as not belonging to the "real you." If a teacher realizes that her strong compulsion for neatness and orderliness (or proper language, or manners, or conservative clothing) was pushed on her by her mother, chances are she may modify that value, which then would make her much more accepting of students' lack of neatness and orderliness in the classroom.

-Teacher Effectiveness Training, p. 304.

It is in light of values clarification that the finding of misconduct following DARE, reported by Len Canon, does make sense. "We are not doing too well in helping young people reconstruct their attitudes towards drug use," said values clarification pioneers Louis Raths, Merrill Harmin, and Sidney Simon in the second edition of their Values and Teaching, after a dozen years of promoting values clarification as drug prevention. The method failed. Looking back, it's not hard to see why. Values and Teaching called for teachers to offer "unconditional acceptance" to their students no matter what. "No advice giving, even when that is requested," the authors had written in the first edition, and they were quite insistent that "the teacher must hold himself back." They gave examples: "Even when a young girl talks about a decision that involves sexual activity that terrifies the teacher, the teacher must accept the issue." For the teacher to say anything like, "You shouldn't be involved in things like that" was to disqualify the teacher as a helper, they said. Their ideal was the ideal abandoned, and then cursed, by Rogers: the wooden, uninvolved, withholding, pre-1950s nondirective counselor. A student says, "I can't decide whether or not to go away for a long weekend, skipping school on Friday, or to stay home and study for Monday's big test." The temptation for the teacher to think and talk in terms of the importance of schoolwork can be overwhelming, but must be contained. Another student says, "The gang wants me to go stealing with them. What should I do?" Again, the teacher must refrain from placing his values against the issue.

Imagine a student who proposes to bring a loaded gun to school, which is an example offered in the DARE student workbook. Because DARE is values clarification, the officer is forbidden to issue a warning. He or she is instructed to ask scripted questions instead, designed to promote value clarity. "What bad things could happen?" is one of the questions the officer is to ask, and "What good things could happen?" is another. What good things could happen! I said that Rogers had abandoned, then cursed, this approach. Because it's unprecedented to submit life-and-death matters to "discussion" by fifth- and sixth-graders.

Just how dangerous it can be is evident in the public record of developments in the life and career of author Harold C. Lyon, the federal education official who wrote Learning to Feel, Feeling to Learn: Humanistic Education for the Whole Man for the textbook series Rogers and I edited. Following the success of that book, he moved on to trade publication of books on popular psychology, management, and education. A 1977 book offered reflections on his learnings after a decade of clarifying his values. I have grown to the place where I now have what might be called "a religion of the self." I believe that most of the answers are within myself and that learning to tap the love and beauty and strength within myself is really a worshiping of the inner self. In essence, I believe in God. God is within each of us. We are all God. I now meditate to the God within my own inner self, and each time I meditate, I discover new resources of boundless love and beauty within myself.

The next major development was to be arrested for sexual offenses, committed in the name of personal growth (at least in my interpretation, though he also got written up in a book on "sex addiction," i.e., as a man with a psychiatric condition). He lost his government job because of the public scandal (which made the front page of the Washington Post), pleaded guilty, and went to jail.

Let's return to Jamestown. Of the tragedy there, Times reporter Jane Gross wrote that the County Health Commissioner, Dr. Robert Berke, acknowledged the gulf between the two groups of girls in town. In the words of the reporter, it is "a gulf not uncommon" across America today. Of drug dealer Nushawn Williams, Dr. Berke said that "He found the seam in the fabric of this community and he worked it." The way to overcome the gulf between the ethically able children of our communities and increasing numbers of the ethically impaired, is not with programs of classroom interaction that borrow from counseling theory and adapt the outdated lessons of the personal growth movement to today's classrooms. To apply an analogy from Carl Rogers, "The building is on fire," and values clarification is simply not appropriate, either by itself or in combination with therapeutic group work. We ought to be teaching academics, not encouraging teachers and police officers to engage in amateur counseling. At a conference called to consider how counseling theory and the personal growth movement do and do not apply to our schools, Rogers said this in 1964, shortly after his arrival in California from the Midwest. Not every relationship has the facilitation of personal growth as its purpose, nor is it necessary that it should. If fire breaks out in this room, I might want some of you to do things, and you might want me to do things. And whether it made for your personal growth or not is really secondary. We want something done. I think that's an entirely legitimate kind of relationship.

We want something done. It had better be academics. Our schools are failing. Classroom psychotherapy turns out to be no substitute for subject-matter instruction.

(the original paper did not contain numerical footnotes)

1. Reported in the newsletter of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, special issue, fall 1981, p. 11.

2. "T-group" is a another name for sensitivity training-"T" stands for "training"-as "encounter group," "creativity workshop," "organizational development group," "process group," and "team building group" are others. Rogers said the variety of names doesn't suggest essential differences: in all the groups, as in group therapy, "there is a focus on the process and dynamics of immediate personal interactions" rather than on subject matter. See Carl Rogers on Encounter Groups (NY: Harper & Row, 1970), p. 2-8.

3. In Richard J. Lowry, editor, The Journals of A. H. Maslow (Monterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole, 1979), Maslow's entry of October 22, 1968, p. 935.

4. Ibid. entry of January 6, 1969, p. 1089.

5. See C. R. Rogers, Freedom to Learn for the 80's (Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., 1983), pp. 227-252.

6. Carl R. Rogers and H. Jerome Freiberg, Freedom to Learn (NY Merrill/Macmillan, third edition, 1994).

7. Jane Gross, "Runaways Exposed to H.I.V. Survived on Edge of Community," New York Times, October 31, 1997, page A-15.

8. From C. R. Rogers and W. R. Coulson, editors, Studies of the Person (Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., Vol. 2 [1969], 4 [1971], and 15 [1973]). In the Carter administration, I should note, Lyon, "an early subscriber to the human potential movement" (as the Washington Post Magazine described him), was director of federal programs for gifted and talented children in the U. S. Department of Education and as such was influential in the movement to identify education with psychotherapy.

9. C. R. Rogers, Counseling and Psychotherapy: Newer Concepts in Practice (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1942), p. 135.

10. Ibid., p. 195.

11. Ibid.

12. Author-educator Howard Kirschenbaum points out that other techniques were gradually added to the values clarification armamentarium; by 1972, he could catalogue six dozen. See Sidney Simon, Leland Howe, and Howard Kirschenbaum, Values Clarification: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teachers and Students (NY: Hart Publishing Co., 1972), where the clarifying response, now called "Rogerian Listening," is listed as Strategy Number 51. When Raths was formulating the approach, Rogers' method was pretty much the whole of values clarification, as Kirschenbaum points out in his Advanced Value Clarification (La Jolla, Calif.: University Associates, 1977): "Although he did employ several of what later came to be called structured value-clarifying 'strategies,' including the Value Sheet, Raths' use of the clarifying response was his main vehicle for value clarification" (p. 140).

13. Rogers discusses this in the introduction to his A Way of Being (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1980). The field in which he'd made his reputation was scientific research, where one reason his subject matter was researchable, he said, was that it was sharply circumscribed, that is, "completely focused on verbal interchange between a helper and a person in need of help; it contained no suggestion of broader implications" (p. vii). This was as it should be, as Rogers' acquaintance with the philosophical writings of physical scientist Michael Polanyi confirmed for him. Polanyi, whom Rogers deeply respected, had shared a fellowship year with him at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and later Polanyi conferred with Rogers on the problem of an over expansive behavioral science (see W. R. Coulson and C. R. Rogers, editors, Man and the Science of Man [Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., 1968], pp. 11-29, 85-127, and 193-201). Seeking an explanation for the failure of a large-scale Rogerian project at the Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute, Rogers read, and then circulated to colleagues, Polanyi's Terry lectures of 1962, delivered at Yale University: "Goethe wrote that the master proves himself by his restraint, and the same holds for science. Whether his calling lies in literature or art, or in moral and social reform, even the most revolutionary mind must choose as his calling a small area of responsibility. Perfectionism, which would transform the whole of thought and the entire society, is a program of destruction, ending up at best in a world of pretense" (reprinted in Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension [NY: Doubleday, 1966], pp. 80, 85). Rogers agreed. However, in the mid-1960s, in shifting his base of operations to California, where he was no longer affiliated with a university, he had attracted a new cadre of followers. They tended to lack the scientific background of his university students, and they tended to be less interested in calling this a deficiency than in proceeding directly to initiate programs of institutional change. Approximately a third of the team in California eventually consisted of priests, nuns and ministers who had been freed from parish or academic responsibilities and who were inclined to think that Rogerianism might be the basis of a desired "quiet revolution" in the Church. In this they were not unlike denizens of the education college at Ohio State University twenty years earlier: followers of John Dewey, by and large, they were social reconstructionists. All along Rogers' principal interest had been the conduct of scientific tests of his therapeutic approach; all along his followers in education and religion seemed to be impatient to expand their master's reach. One result (as he explained in A Way of Being) was that chapters on "group therapy, group leadership and administration, and student-centered teaching" were added to his 1951 book, Client-Centered Therapy, and all of them represented the work of his students, not his own initiative.

14. Rogers was ambivalent about leading a movement. To a 1976 facilitator training program at the University of California at San Diego (a program that was the work of his students) he explained: "One of the things that really concerns me a great deal is that I don't know of any movement in history that hasn't contained within it the seeds of its own downfall." He illustrated this concern by telling of "a strange experience" he'd had the previous summer: "It was a large workshop of 135 people [yet another student-initiated program], and at one point an appointed committee presented to the whole group a proposed schedule for the balance of the two weeks; after about five minutes of discussion, somebody said, 'Let's adopt that.' And my hand went up with everybody else's. And we all thought, 'Boy, here's what is often a very difficult problem for a large group to handle; it's been handled beautifully. We all agree on it. Great.' Then somebody said, 'I wonder if we aren't going a little too fast on this,' and I thought, 'Oh, gosh, why don't you shut up.' And then a few more spoke up. They said, 'We live all our lives in terms of schedule. Would it be possible for a group like this to live by intuition?' And pretty soon the whole group got carried away by that and dragged me well beyond where I'd ever thought of going. That night I went to bed thinking, 'By gosh, this is really going well. I'm learning things I wouldn't have expected to learn.' And I woke up in the morning feeling so depressed that I could hardly stand it. I couldn't wait to get to our small encounter group to, to, ah, well, to weep, to tell the truth; I was just feeling very, very much depressed. And then I realized that what was wrong with me was I started this thing. and where's it going to carry us, and did I start something that is in some fundamental way mistaken and that may lead us off into paths that we will regret? When I first started some of these ideas in the field of individual therapy, to see it creep into education and pastoral work and industry and music conservatory and artists' groups and international organizations and cross-cultural groups and everything else. I feel that's absurd; that's grandiose." (tape recorded July 19, 1976; emphasis added).

15. Patricia Sammon, "Daring to Change the Future" Hometown Press (Huntsville, AL), March/April 1988, p. 12.

16. See Bureau of Justice Assistance, "Fact Sheet on DARE," September 1995, where it is pointed out that DARE "has been revised to be more interactive through promoting active participation by students" (p. 4).

17. Maura Ellis of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, personal communication, November 12, 1997.

18. C. R. Rogers, "Community: The Group Comes of Age," Psychology Today, July 1969, p. 30.

19. Quoted in Carl Rogers on Encounter Groups, p. 75.

20. From Len Cannon's interview of Gen. McCaffrey on Dateline NBC, broadcast February 21, 1997.

21. Joseph T. Hart, "Experimental Mysticism-Psychology as the Science of Soul," in J. T. Hart and T. M. Tomlinson, editors, New Directions in Client-Centered Therapy (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1970), p. 581.

22. See Bureau of Justice Assistance, "Program Brief: An Introduction to DARE" (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, 1991), second edition, p. 2.

23. See Louis Raths, Merrill Harmin, and Sidney Simon, Values and Teaching: Working with Values in the Classroom, second edition (Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., 1978), p. viii.

24. Louis Raths, Merrill Harmin, and Sidney Simon, Values and Teaching: Working with Values in the Classroom, first edition (Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill Publishing Co., 1966), p. 150.

25. Ibid., pp. 149-50.

26. Ibid., p. 150.

27. See footnote 13.

28. Harold C. Lyon, Jr., Tenderness is Strength: From Machismo to Manhood (NY: Harper & Row, 1977), p. 82.

29. Sandra G. Boodman, "Extrovert or Exploiter? Federal Official Charged With Sex Offenses," Washington Post, November 15, 1981, pp. A1-2.

30. In jail he became a Christian. Later he told me he wouldn't have "those books" in his home-he didn't want his children corrupted. He meant not only his books but also mine (and possibly Rogers'). For my part, I have to agree. As for Rogers, Lyon wrote about their relationship in his second book. (See Harold C. Lyon, Jr., It's Me and I'm Here! From West Point to Esalen: The Struggles of an Overachiever to Revitalize His Life Through the Human Potential Movement [NY: Delacorte Press, 1974].) He reflected on what struck him as Rogers' "reluctance to take a stand, right or wrong, about anything." (He seems to have read Rogers as if Rogers still practiced values clarification.) He added, "I feel he is very middle-of-the-road at times in his desire to always be accepting, and this angers me when I am treated this way. How can he accept everything, everyone?" Then he thought about it and wrote: "I could be way off base about Carl. Perhaps he isn't as accepting as I think he seems. As I mentioned earlier, I really don't know him that well personally, though I have gained this impression of him. What I have done to Carl Rogers (and myself) is the disservice of making him bigger than life" (p. 157). If that is true, Rogers got over it. Lyon went on to write about the "boundless love and beauty within myself" (but then he got over it, too).

31. Jane Gross, loc. cit.

32. Tape-recorded at the Islandia Hotel, San Diego, May 4, 1964.

Dr. William Coulson is the Director of the Research Council on Ethno-Psychology.

Research Council on Ethno-Psychology
Post Office Box 134, Comptche, California 95427 U.S.A.
Phone - (707) 937-3934
Fax - (707) 937-5417

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