chapter  42
It is untrue that person-centred theory includes an unduly optimistic view of human nature as fundamentally `good' and that this leads to a naõÈve disregard for destructive drives and an avoidance of challenge and confrontation in the therapeutic endeavour
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There is a widely held view that person-centred theory holds that people are `essentially good'. This presumed assumption is criticised in the light of the observed behaviour of people. For example, how can the perpetrators of the Nazi Holocaust, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, ethnic cleansing in too many con¯icts to name be fundamentally good? In Kirschenbaum and Henderson (1990b: 239±255) there is a debate between Rogers and Rollo May which addresses this. While Rogers (pp. 237± 238) acknowledges the vast amount of destructive, cruel and malevolent behaviour to be encountered in the world, he does not ®nd that people are inherently evil. However, this is not the same as stating that people are innately good.