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3.7 Carl ROgers

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Rogers background
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Born in Oak Park, Illinois ( a suburb of Chicago) Fourth of six children (five of which were boys) Father was a civil engineer and contractor who achieved considerable success in his profession, so family was financially secure At the age of 12, Rogers’s parents bought a large farm 13 miles west of Chicago, so Rogers grew up in essentially rural atmosphere
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more
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Parents, though sensitive and loving, were devoutly and rigidly committed to fundamentalist religious views (at least, the mother was) They fostered independence and common sense Rogers could never recall having been given a “direct command on an important subject” over his span of maturing years, yet “such was the unity of our family that it was understood by all that we did not dance, play cards, attend movies, smoke, drink, or show any sexual interest.” (1967, p.344) Family’s most central belief was that hard work could straighten out any of life’s problems
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education
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He attended University of Wisconsin, selecting scientific agriculture as his initial field of study He became active in various Christian youth groups Then he decided to study for the ministry
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more education
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He attended a course at Union Theological Seminary, and there was for the first time exposed to psychiatrists and psychologists who were applying their skills to individuals needing help Rogers started taking psychology courses at Teachers College, Columbia University Finally, in his second year of graduate study, he left theology and turned to psychology
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education and professional legacy
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Rogers had no mentor, and was thankful for it, since he never had someone to defend or react against as he came to intellectual maturity Took Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1928 Accepted a position with the Rochester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and stayed there for 12 years Developed his approach to the treatment of both children and adults in what was then called nondirective therapy and is better known today as client-centered therapy
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reconciliation of psychotherapy and psychology
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rogers
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central ideas
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His central question was how persons find ways to develop their potential to live healthy and creative lives He believed that people have an inborn genetic tendency toward striving to actualize their potentials.
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phenomenology
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maintained that each individual exists in the center of a phenomenal fi hilosophy, phenomenology seeks to describe the data, or the “given,” of immediate experi- ence. In psychology, phenomenology has come to mean the study of human awareness and perception. Phenomenologists stress that what is important is not the object or the event in itself but how it is perceived and understood by the individual.eld. The word phenomenon comes from the Greek phainomenon, which means “that which appears or shows itself.” In
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phenomenal fi eld
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is the total sum of experiences. It consists of everything that is potentially available to conscious- ness at any given moment. As you read you may not be aware of the pressure of the chair on your buttocks, but when attention is drawn to this fact you become conscious of it.
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Phenomenal field
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herefore defines the person’s subjective reality It is literally impossible for us to know another person’s phenomenal field or to know anything free and clear of our own phenomenal field The only way we can learn about ourselves is to turn our attention to our feelings and get in touch with their meanings (symbolize them accurately)
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Rogers’ assumption
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Rogers took it as a basic assumption that all living organisms strive to maintain, further, and actualize their experience Witnessed clients spontaneously taking a positive course of action to correct some problem Rogers termed this motivation ‘organismic enhancement’ The primary tendency of the organism is to maintain, actualize, and enhance itself. This ac- tualizing tendency is part of a universal life force (Van Kalmthout, 1995); it follows lines laid down by genetics and may also be infl uenced by temperament
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behavior
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Behavior is the “goal-directed attempt” of the organism to meet its needs as it perceives them (Rogers, 1951). This goal-directed behavior is accompanied by emotions that, unless they are excessive or inappropriate, facilitate the behavior. Rogers’s view of emotions is a very positive one. Fully experiencing one’s emotions facilitates growth, whereas the denial or distortion of emotions may permit them to raise havoc in our lives.
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organismic valuing process
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Our inner experiences are intrinsically growth- producing. An organismic valuing process subconsciously guides us toward productive growth experiences provided that it has not been overlaid with external rules and societal values that preclude healthy self-actualization
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Organismic enhancement
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Needs of the organism (biological in nature) are not always consonant with the needs of the self (psychological in nature) Valuing process Many of our formal values as encompassed in our self-concept are handed to us by our culture as reflected in the attitudes of our parents Along with a need for organismic enhancement and growth, and individual has a need to be self-consistent Self-inconsistency experienced as a threat
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Congruence vs. incongruence
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We may say that freedom from inner tension, or psychological adjustment, exists when the concept of self is at least roughly congruent with all the experiences of the organism.” Congruence “when self-experiences are accurately symbolized, and are included in the self-concept in this accurately symbolized form, then the state is one of congruence of self and experience” Incongruence “This state is one of tension and internal confusion, since in some respects the individual’s behavior will be regulated by the [organismic] actualizing tendency, and in other respects by the self-actualizing tendency, thus producing discordant or incomprehensible behaviors.”
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Organismic enhancement
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However, according to Rogers, the self is never finished, it is a constant process of change within spells of sameness Both the organism (biological being) and the self (psychological being) are pitched toward actualization – that is – growth, enlargement, enrichment, and diversity
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Psychotherapist as self-actualization facilitator
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After graduating with Ph.D., Rogers worked in the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in Rochester, and for the first time came in contact with social workers influenced by Otto Rank Rogers found that therapist insights often failed to help the client materially alter his or her lifestyle The Rankian emphasis on shifting creative self-definition to the client began to cement with Rogers’s heavy personal commitment to the ideals of individual choice and freedom Pragmatism “There was only one criterion in regard to any method of dealing with these children and their parents, and that was ‘Does it work?'”
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Psychotherapist as self-actualization facilitator
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What is considered as psychopathology results when persons are prevented or do not have a chance to become who they truly are. His insight developed from psychoterapeutic studies He was among the first therapists/researchers to commit the process of therapy to scientific scrutiny by recording the sessions.
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Focus on the Therapist
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Usually, counselors do both information gathering and dispensing Responsibility then, lies with the counselor too Usually feelings are ‘talked about’ rather than experienced right on the spot
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Focus on the Client
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The client encouraged to express a wealth of feelings In all replies, the counselor responds to the emotional content of the client’s statement Helps client clarify his or her feelings “… it is client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried.” (1961, pp.11-12)
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Non-directive approach:
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Therapy is not a matter of doing something to the individuals, or of inducing him to do something about himself. It is instead a matter of freeing him for normal growth and development…” (1942. p.29) “… this newer therapy places greater stress upon the emotional elements, the feeling aspects of the situation, than upon the intellectual aspects. (1942, p.29) “… this newer therapy places greater stress upon the immediate situation than upon the individual’s past.” (1942, p.29) The newer approach “… lays great stress upon the therapeutic relationship itself as a growth expreience…” (1942, p.30)
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Originally, the focus was on ‘attainment of insight’
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The problems with early practice of non-directive approach Some counselors interpreted it too literally and adopted a laissez-faire policy “… the passivity and seeming lack of interest… is experienced by the client as a rejection, since indifference is in no real way the same as acceptance.” (1951, p.27)
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Client-Centered Therapy
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Counselors need to be making an effort to be empathic in understanding the client’s world, and communicate that understanding to their client. Clarification of feeling s through rephrasing the emotional content of client’s statement very important “… it is counselor’s aim to perceive as sensitively and accurately as possible all of the perceptual field as it is being experienced by the client… and having thus perceived this internal frame of reference of the other as completely as possible, to indicate to the client the extent to which he is seeing through the client’s eyes (1951, p.34).
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By 1957, the focus has shifted to experiential therapy – with focus on mutual expression of feelings by both clients and counselor 6 postulates
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Two persons are in psychological contact The first person, the client, is in a state of self-incongruence The second person, the therapist, is self-congruent The therapist experiences unconditional positive regard for the client The therapist experiences an empathic understanding of the client’s internal frame of reference and endeavors to communicate this experience to the client The communication to the client of the therapist’s empathic understanding and unconditional positive regard must be minimally achieved
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Positive regard
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“If the perception by me of some self-experience makes a positive difference in my experiential field, then I am experiencing positive regard for that individual. In general, positive regard is defined as including such attitudes as warmth, liking, respect, sympathy, acceptance.” Rogers later added that every person has a “need for positive regard”
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self-concept
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self-concept is a portion of the phenomenal fi eld that has gradually become differ- entiated. It is composed of those conscious perceptions and values of “me” or “I,” some of which are a result of the organism’s own valuing of its experiences and some of which have been introjected or taken over from important others. Because the self-concept comes in part through others, the potential for dissociation or estrangement exists (and usually oc- curs to some degree)
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Positive regard
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refers to being loved and accepted for who one is. Young children behave in such a way as to show their strong need for the acceptance and love of those who care for them. They will undergo signifi cant changes in their behavior in order to attain positive regard.
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Unconditional positive regard
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is not contingent on any specifi c behaviors. A parent can limit or curb certain undesirable behaviors by ob- jecting only to the behaviors and not disapproving of the child or the child’s feelings. A par- ent who sees a child scribble on the wall may say, “Writing on the wall destroys it. Use this blackboard instead.” Here, the parent limits remarks to the behavior itself. But the parent who says, “You are a bad boy (girl) for writing on the wall,” has shifted from disapproval of the behavior to disapproval of the child. Such regard is no longer unconditional.
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Conditional positive regard
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is given only under certain circumstances. Children are led to understand that their parents will not love them unless they think, feel, and act as their parents want them to.
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conditions of worth,
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In such cases, the child perceives the parent as imposing conditions of worth, specifying the provisions under which the child will be accepted, such as being pretty or earning top grades. Such conditions of worth may lead the child to introject values of others rather than of the self and lead to a discrepancy between the self-concept and the experiences of the organism.
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Positive self-regard
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follows automatically if one has received unconditional positive re- gard. Children who are accepted for who they are come to view themselves favorably and with acceptance. It is very diffi cult, however, to view oneself positively if one is continually the target of criticism and belittlement. Inadequate self-concepts such as feelings of inferi- ority or stupidity frequently arise because a person has not received adequate positive re- gard from others.
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Fully Functioning Person
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Openness to experience Aware of experience, without needing to distort it Existential living Able to live in the moment without preconceived structures Organismic trust Trust in one’s own experience Experiential freedom Assumes responsibility for one’s own actions Creativity Able to adjust creatively to changes
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Rogers’s studies suggested that three attitudes on the part of therapists are necessary and suffi cient for change
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By necessary, Rogers meant that these attitudes are essential and must be evident to the client. By suffi cient, he meant that no other conditions are required for change to occur.
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the three attitudes
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empathy acceptance genuineness
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empathy
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the ability to experience another person’s feelings as if they were one’s own but to never lose sight of the “as if.” Through empathy, the therapist is able to put him- or herself in the client’s shoes without trying to wear those shoes. The therapist understands the client’s internal frame of reference and communicates this understanding, largely through statements that refl ect the client’s feelings.
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acceptance.
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The therapist does not posit any conditions of worth. Acceptance is nonjudgmental recognition of oneself and the other person. Through accep- tance the therapist lets the other person be.
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is genuineness.
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An effective therapist is genuine, integrated, free, and deeply aware of the dynamics of the therapeutic relationship. The therapist need not be a model of perfect mental health and may have shortcomings and diffi culties in other situa- tions. But within the relationship of therapy, the therapist needs to be congruent.
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Psychotherapist attitudes
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Would you go to the therapist that has the three attitudes but has no formal training in psychotherapy? Would you go to the therapist that has an officially recognized training in psychotherapy, but does not have these three attitudes?
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How illness goes away
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No attempt to control the client No reinforcement of certain responses In Rogerian world, every person is a therapist for every other person. Therapy is life and life is therapy ‘mmm hmmm’ therapy
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How illness goes away
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The therapist’s hypothesis “Effective counseling consists of a definitely structured, permissive relationship which allow the client to gain an understanding of himself to a degree which enables him to take positive steps in the light of his new orientation.” Relationship is a central concept The client “begins to drop the false fronts, or the masks, or the roles, with which he has faced life. He appears to be trying to discover something more basic, something more truly himself (1961, p.109)
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How illness comes about
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When a person’s self-concept is incongruent with the organismic valuing process, so that he or she holds to a self-concept that is not truly reflecting the underlying organic feelings Psychological maladjustment arises when the personality system “denies to awareness, or distorts in awareness, significant experiences, which consequently are not accurately symbolized and organized into the gestalt of the self-structure, thus creating an incongruence between the self and experience.”
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more
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Often, the milder forms of maladjustment work themselves out over time – a person becomes more in touch with their organismic valuing process In cases of a more serious maladjustment, however, defenses will be tightened and symbolization will be distorted even more The individual has lost communication within his or her personality system, and this breakdown affects interpersonal relations as well.
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client vs patient
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Diagnosis is unnecessary Rogers preferred the term client to the more passive designation of patient
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different kinds of responses to emotional communications. Rogers de- veloped a number of studies in which he explored how people communicate in face-to-face situations in everyday life as well as in therapy (Rogers & Roethlisberger, 1952). Consider the following hypothetical communication: “The doctor keeps telling me not to worry, but I’m frightened of this operation.” There are many different ways to respond to such a statement. Rogers discovered that most responses fall into one of fi ve categories used in the following order of frequency in everyday life
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(1) evaluative, (2) interpretative, (3) reassuring, (4) probing, and (5) refl ective. Each ty
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reconstructive psychotherapy
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At one end of the spectrum, psychoanalysis stands as an example of reconstructive psychotherapy. Through analysis of the resistances and transference the analyst seeks to re- move defenses so that the analysand can communicate true feelings and integrate his or her personality
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supportive psychotherapy,
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On the other hand, many psychotherapeutic techniques are best characterized as supportive psychotherapy, because they seek to strengthen adaptive instincts and de- fenses without necessarily tampering with the underlying personality structure. Clearly, re- constructive psychotherapy is a much more intensive undertaking, which accounts for the long duration of psychoanalysis. Although he was not averse to providing insight when the occasion merits it, Rogers’s approach tends to be supportive rather than reconstructive.
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group counseling
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In later years, Rogers was less interested in individual counseling and more interested in group counseling, as well as broader social concerns. He was a leader in the fi eld of encoun- ter groups and sponsored some interracial and intercultural groups. Under the guidance of a facilitator, rather than a traditional leader, encounter groups seek to create an atmosphere in which members can express their feelings, focus on their experience, and acknowledge how they are perceived by others in the group. Encounter groups were a forerunner of the support and help groups that many people today fi nd very useful.
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soceital implications
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Rogers challenged some of the concepts on which our society is based, such as that power is power over other people or that strength is the strength to control. Instead he suggested that infl uence is gained only when power is shared and that control is constructive when it is self-control.
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rked congruence. One method that Rogers used for studying changes in a person’s self-concept is the Q-sort technique, developed by William Stephenson. The Q-sort test uses a packet of one hundred cards containing descriptive statements or words that can be used to describe the self. The person is given the cards and asked to sort them according to his or her self- perception into a prearranged order, which resembles a normal curve of distribution.
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The Q-sort technique has been used to measure changes that occur throughout therapy. In short, Rogers provided an impetus to developing means for ongoing empirical research on the processes of therapy and the self.
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weaknesses
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1. Not a philosophical concept, but a name for a group of processes, which can be studied scientifically 2. Emphasis on subjectivity = > made scientific research difficult 3. Extrospection: open to error = > introspection is useful 4. Criticism: based on simplistic concept of phenomenology, not reflect complex process of human awareness, fail to recognize power and intensity of unconscious forces, not fully understand external influences, 5. Criticized Skinner -> technology to control human behavior 6