Carl Ransom Rogers minted the concept of a fully functioning person. He was a humanistic psychologist who was in complete unison with Abraham Maslow’s theory of self-actualization. According to Rogers, anyone who has self-actualized has, in fact, become a fully functioning person (McLeod). Moreover, Rogers believed that such a person has some distinguishing characteristics that are explained in the following paragraphs.
First and foremost, fully functioning person is open to experience and exhibits no defensiveness (Freeth 37-38). Burger says that such people “rather than falling into familiar patterns” ready themselves for anything that comes their way during their life (279-280). They do not rely on their defenses to react to situations but rather, give the response that is due. This is because they interpret experiences accurately (Freeth). They, therefore have a larger consciousness than their peers.
Fully functioning people are also characterized by existential living. They prefer to live in the present and believe in seizing every moment. They are able to enjoy each experience they undergo because they keep preconceptions and other biases at an arm’s length (McLeod). They have a “flexible rather than static self-concept open to change through experience” (Freeth). They are proponents of living every experience to its utmost extent and not just pass through them.
An important ingredient to becoming a full function person is to trust in one’s feelings, also referred to as organismic trust. Intuition and perception are not ignored. Trust in one’s own interpretation and response toexperience is exhibited, and values are developed according to that experience (Freeth). Such a person does not resort to denials or distortion of experience and makes decisions in all awareness.
Experiential freedom is another characteristic that is of the essence in becoming a fully functioning person. Such a person is free to choose. Although he is not insensitive, he does not even feel the need to be bound by criteria set by society for his behaviour patterns (Burger). They take feedback from their environment without demur to incorporate positive changes (Freeth).
Lastly, a fully functioning person evinces creativity. It is this creativity that opens the avenue of risk for him. Every moment must be lived differently from the previous one. There is no point in staying stuck in the past or in monotonous routines. The adventure lies in adapting and seeking a new (McLeod).
In a nutshell, Rogers believes that a fully functioning person is the one who is aware of his innermost desires and wishes, who dare to seek the attainment of these wants creatively and does not dither to experience something new. This person-centered approach also highlights the fact that a person’s personality is not fixed ,but rather; it can undergo a series of changes to achieve the point of self-actualization. According to Rogers, fully functioning people are well-settled and interesting to meet. They also receive much accolade in society and tend to outshine others.
Burger, Jerry. Personality. Cengage Learning, 2010. 279-280. Google Books. Web. May 28 2014.
Freeth, Rachel. Humanizing Psychiatry and Mental Health Care. Radcliffe, 2007. 37-38. Google Books. Web. May 28 2014.
McLeod, Saul. “Carl Rogers.” Simplypsychology.org. Simply Psychology, 2007. Web. 28 May 2014.