The humanistic approach is often discussed in relation to an individual's phenomenology, the study in which only a human's conscious interpretations and subjective experience of objects and events are relevant to their personality traits. This belief is in direct opposition to the previous theory, because it rejects motivational and subconscious drives. Carl Rogers pioneered this way of thinking and, like Freud, created his beliefs based on his experiences in working with emotionally afflicted people.
Rogers encouraged a positive, optimistic outlook, believing a person has the ability to change for the better. He practiced person-centered therapy that included sessions in which the client would discuss the problems she was having and what she would like to do about them. As a therapist, Rogers developed the concept of “unconditional positive regard.” This means that although Rogers would respond genuinely to patients’ behavior even if it angered or irritated him, his essential care and respect for the client was not damaged by negative things the client brought up in a session. Centered on a patient's ideal self, thoughts, feelings, and solutions emerged in order to help the person assess the problem, find a solution, and develop a set of goals and plans that would help her become who she would like to be.
In analyzing one's own characteristics and abilities, self-conscious thought patterns develop and the person begins to ask herself a series of questions. Placing the responsibility of personality traits in the hands of consciousness allows the person to direct her own fate, live up to her real potential, and ultimately feel happy and satisfied with the results.