Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Carl Rogers is well known for his person-centred approach. His contribution to psychology and humanism is indisputable. But even though he wrote many autobiographical essays and did many autobiographical interviews, he never mentioned his association with CIA research.
As the study suggests, Rogers wasn't involved with the unethical research and projects conducted by the CIA at that time. Yet, "Rogers would have been available as a consultant to the agency to pick his brain on this and related topics."
Why does his participation with the CIA front organization make him suspect to some critics? "Rogers’s work with schizophrenics outside the CIA context might seem worthwhile and admirable. However, this same work, when placed in the context of CIA mind control, may, to some, stain Rogers’s image or raise questions about his motivations or ethics. Is it possible that Rogers, who personified prizing, accepting, and helping people, may have exploited a defenseless population in hopes of finding information that would aid governmental pursuits?"
Rogers was the one that always emphasised empathy and taught us that judging is easy and understanding is hard. So I don't think this is a dark mark on his career, rather an interesting not often disclosed fact. One that we can use "as a reminder that psychologists and scientists should always be vigilant about their ethical practices and the ways their work may be used by those with their own political, economic, or social agenda. It is always good to recall that things are not always as they appear to be, even in 21st century America and elsewhere."
Do these revelations change your view of Carl Rogers and his ideas?