Wagner once said to Nietzsche: “you must marry, or compose an opera”. But since he knew that Nietzsche was a bad musician, he added: “but marriage, I consider the best thing for you”. And knowing for sure that the guy won’t have any future as a musician he insisted : “Oh god! Do marry a rich woman !” (a letter in 1874). 

The “failed” musician Nietzsche is (I hope I’m not being rude) wrote that “Without music, life would be a mistake” (“twilight of the idols”, 1888). 

I don’t know about life, but I can say that for me “without music, my workout would be a mistake”. It just doesn’t feel right. Obviously, I don’t listen to Rachmaninov or Nielsen while working out; I need something to give me an adrenaline rush. So I have a whole playlist of remixes and rap music instead.

(Master yoda: “Hmm! Bad taste you have”.)

For example yesterday, while training at 1 am (I prefer nocturnal workout), I played a few NF songs. I like his music because he’s the only rap singer whose lyrics I could understand. A line caught my attention attention in his song “10 feet down” , after some gibberish by Ruelle and a lot of “na na na, yeah la la la”, he says:

“Church is where I found God, but it’s also where I learned to judge”

But is it wrong to judge? This takes us to one of the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century: Carl Rogers.

According to Rogers, “The counsellor experiences unconditional positive regard (UPR) – non-judgmental warmth and acceptance – towards the client.”

Who is he, anyway?

Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was an American psychologist known as the founder of the humanistic approach (sorry Abraham Maslow; I didn’t forget you). Influenced by Otto Rank, his “positive” approach was a reaction and response to the pessimistic views of psychoanalysis. We can also mention other sources of inspiration like existentialism (Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre…) and phenomenology (Husserl, Merleau-ponty…). 

Rogers’ main focus was to ensure a healthier and more creative personality functioning through the developmental processes. 

The concept of  ‘actualizing tendency’ which we saw later with Maslow’s self-actualization (hierarchy of needs), was first coined by Rogers. Rogers wrote that the individual: “has one basic tendency and striving – to actualize, maintain and enhance the experiencing organism”. In 1980 he explained further: “…life is an active process, not a passive one. Whether the stimulus arises from within or without, whether the environment is favourable or unfavourable, the behaviour of an organism can be counted on to be in the direction of maintaining, enhancing, and reproducing itself. This is the very nature of the process we call life.

So, Person-centered Therapy is:

to facilitate the client’s self-actualizing tendency. Related to that, Rogers states that there are six conditions (in a paper published in 1957 by the Journal of Consulting Psychology.): 

1- “Two persons are in psychological contact” = Therapist–client psychological contact

2- “The first, whom we shall term the client, is in a state of incongruence, being vulnerable or anxious.” = Client incongruence

3- “The second person, whom we shall term the therapist, is congruent or integrated in the relationship.” = Therapist congruence, or genuineness

4- ”The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client.” = Therapist unconditional positive regard 

5-”The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference and endeavours to communicate this experience to the client.” = Therapist empathic understanding.

6- “The communication to the client of the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard is to a minimal degree achieved.” = Client perception.

Selected works of Rogers

Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications and Theory (1951)

On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy (1961)

Freedom to Learn: A View of What Education Might Become (1969)

On Personal Power: Inner Strength and Its Revolutionary Impact (1977)

A Way of Being (1980)


“The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it.” On Becoming a Person (p. 351)

Okay, I heard you Mister Rogers. 

But I can’t help it. I can’t not judge. And neither can you.

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