The gift of death: Congruence and finitude in Carl Rogers’s person-centred therapy

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O’Loughlin, Darren
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This thesis will critically explore Carl Rogers’s understanding of human existence, self-formation and his notion of congruence. It will be argued that Rogers’s theory does not sufficiently acknowledge the relevance of finitude (or mortality) in meaningful human being, despite the theory identifying a knowing relationship to finitude (understood as the potential for one’s destruction) at the deepest level of the individual’s existence. The thesis aims to explore how this relationship to finitude plays out in the development of the self as understood by Rogers, as well as its relevance to Rogers’s concepts of congruence and incongruence. Rogers’s theory will also be brought into dialogue with some of the key teachings from the school of existentialism, particularly with regard to the role and importance of death in what it means to be human. In so doing, the thesis will investigate to what extent finitude, present but underdeveloped in Rogerian theory, can be enriched by the teachings of existentialism, while still remaining faithful to Rogers’s understanding of existence, the self and congruent being.