According to Rogers’ (1961) theory, people with low self esteem have psychological problems which surface as a result of the negative feedback which they receive from their parents or figures of authority in their lives. As a result of the forcing of values by the crucial figures in their lives, the individuals develop feelings of low self esteem which cause them to be emotionally weak and low on self esteem.
Rogers (1961) affirms that these individuals tend to be under constant “inner” struggle between their desire to be and the expectations of others from them which cause them to develop low self esteem. Rogers however believes that therapists can extend “unconditional positive regard” to their clients to enable them “overcome the negative effects” of their “past experience” “on their attitudes, feelings, and behaviours” (Rogers, 1961).
In this way, by providing a relationship of “genuineness or congruence, empathy, and warmth or unconditional positive regard (Rogers, 1967), the therapists can create an “awareness of self” (Rogers, 1961) in the clients. Thus, by creating an atmosphere of trust, sympathy and understanding, the therapist aims towards the achievement of “self-actualization” so that the client begins to understand and appreciate the personal needs and wants accepting the true self rather than put on an act of ideal image or behaviours which are deemed appropriate by the authoritative or superior individuals in life.
Thus, the therapist creates an atmosphere of understanding and sensitivity to enable the client to create a change in the self image by realizing the inner potential to achieving the real identity rather than the desired public image or identity.