According to Carl Rogers, personalities among family members are formed by individual evaluations of experiences they encounter. Each person can have a different evaluation of the same experience, based on his or her organismic and introjected valuing process. Organismic values come from self and are embedded in the individual. (Olson & Hergenhahn, In a Christian family, for example, parents may reward the child who prays before bed and punish the child who does not. Both children are affected by the parents’ introjected values. The child who prays before bed could have organismic values towards faith, and naturally seek the experience of positive regard from their parents; therefore, the injected act of praying before bed becomes much easier or natural. Since this child is receiving positive regard from abiding by the introjected value of praying, their condition of worth and self-regard are increasing.
The child who does not pray before bed may not have organismic values towards faith, so remembering to pray before bed is not natural for this individual. This child also seeks positive regard from their parents, and the child’s condition of worth is lowered every time they are punished for not abiding by the interjected values. This creates incongruence between self and experience and interferes with the child’s actualization process, which results in decreased self-esteem and self-regard. According to Rogers (as cited in Olson & Hergenhahn, 2011), “When an incongruence exists between self and experience the person is by definition, maladjusted and is vulnerable to anxiety and threat…” (p. 444). For a child to become well-adjusted and fully functional, they must receive unconditional positive regard from their parents, so they can internalize and experience positive regard in all they do.
Olson, M. H., & Hergenhahn, B. R. (2011). Theories of personality (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.