In Carl Rogers’s theory of personality, the organismic valuing process refers to evaluating subjective experiences in order to determine the possible impact they will have on self-improvement.
A Closer Look at the Organismic Valuing Process
According to Rogers, the underlying motive that drives behavior is the need for self-actualization. In other words, we are always striving to become the best possible versions of ourselves that we can be. The actualizing tendency motivates us toward self-actualization, but it is the organismic valuing process that helps guide this actualizing tendency.
As we approach an experience or even, we consider both the short-term and long-term potential it has to aid us in our quest toward reaching our full potential. Rogers believed that, when presented with two different alternatives, people who are emotionally healthy and self-aware will always choose the option that best promotes the actualizing tendency.
A Few Observations About the Organismic Valuing Process
“Experiences judged as consistent with the objective of self-enhancement are evaluated positively, while those judged as inconsistent with this objective are judged negatively. For example, a person’s decision to stop drinking at a party, even when there is peer pressure to continue drinking, is based on the assessment of the organismic valuing process that the short-term gain of peer acceptance is outweighed by the long-term risks to the self associated with getting drunk (e.g., being arrested for drunk driving.” (Carducci, 2009)
“The organisms valuing process in individuals enables them to make value judgments and choices based on their sensory and visceral experiences and organismic processing of situations. Rogers believes that people are naturally rational and responsible, and that they are ‘capable of evaluating the outer and inner situation, understanding herself in its context, making constructive choices as to the next steps in life, and acting on those choices’.” (Thomas & Segal, 2006)
Carducci, B. J. (2009). The psychology of personality: Viewpoints, research, and applications. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing
Thomas, J. C. & Segal, D. L. (2006). Comprehensive handbook of personality and psychopathology, personality and everyday functioning. (Eds.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.