College of humanities and social sciences.



Designated common course.  

Name                                                   : OKELO O. LAWRENCE                      


 Registration no                           : C01/0022/2010


Course CODE                                         : DCC 212.


Course title                                        : GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY.


Lecturer                                                : Dr. L. ODIEMO


Date of submission                          : August 29th 2013.


v Using Karl Rodgers theory, explain a social problem that is rampant in your home area.


The theory of Karl Rodgers.

Karl Rodgers was American psychologist. He studied motivational psychology. He developed the theory of humanistic approach where he demonstrated that every human being is motivated by the desires and wants. Therefore they try by all means to satisfy those wants and desires. They are motivated towards these wants by the fact that they want to showcase their achievement. Just bas discussed below, society attaches some value to certain achievement.  On the other hand, society also has a threshold that members must comply to. There are limits of behaviour for the members. Therefore while trying to satisfy their wants and in self actualization, they must also remain within the requirement of the society.


Prostitution can be defined as having sex with someone with a view of getting payment in return. The payment can be inform of money, gifts or favours for instance getting a job, promotion etc. It is commonly referred to as sex work with most women indulging in this work.  Prostitution has remained an inherent problem in most parts of the world and Kenya in particular. The main motivation has been established as getting money and it has been turned into business practised in streets, pubs and hotels.

According to Karl Rodgers, every individual is born with organismic valuing i.e. what we like and what we do not like. In Kenya for instance, everyone would want to be associated high living standards, a lifestyle of tranquillity and pride. People face the extrinsic motivation i.e. desire to have more money etc.

People want to be appreciated i.e. they want positive regard. Therefore they develop a positive self regard. It is common everywhere that those who have money are appreciated more than those who don’t have. The rich are regarded superior, they are reserved high places in functions, they are given V.I.P care in public utilities e.g. in sports stadia, National Airports, Hotels etc.

The society has set conditions of worth to individuals. For one to be rich, he/she must work hard i.e. seek employment; but then to be employed, one has to obtain a degree, this however is beyond the reach of many people. This therefore lock many people out from securing a job and their needs remain unmet, their desires supersedes the current status for example one has a desire to live in a good  house, drive a classy car such as range rover, have a palatable and three-course meal etc. But his/her current financial ability and capability cannot allow him/her to afford those needs and desires.

Because of this, an individual is provoked to look for alternative means to satisfy their desires. For this reason, men and women indulge in prostitution in order to get money. The ideal condition is to have money because it is the basis for everything. With money, one can afford all the things that make one to be respected in the  society but since the individuals cannot legitimately obtain those desires, they  reason out that the end justify the means. They involve in the deviant behaviour of acquiring their desires. They are ready to do everything in order to achieve the conditional positive regard, through a conditional positive self regard. To them, as long as they can fulfil their needs, as long as they can favourably compete with other members of the society, it remains a justifiable means.

In a recent interview on Citizen television, one of  the  sex workers along Koinange street told Citizen TV that prostitution to them is not a  choice but rather a pressure from the society since they have families to take care of  but do  not have legitimate source of income  to  sustain their  families. Apparently on the same bulletin, there was a sex worker turned a matatu tout. In her reasoning, prostitution had erosion effect to her morality and ruined her respect.

Sex workers are activated by the fact that some have always been successful by just doing the same job. A report showing that sex work in some countries is well paying has always motivated many to indulge in the same business.

They are also driven by a goal of achieving the best for their life. Everybody wants the best for himself/herself and therefore they are willing to do whatever is possible as long as they achieve their best.

The intensity of their needs has evoked them on the need to focus on how to fulfil such needs. They concentrate on how to beat all the odds in the  society such  as being  unemployed, poverty  which is inherent in most of  the  communities just to be  able to  satisfy their needs as well  as improving their positive  regard.

On the other hand, prostitution is condemned in the society. Prostitutes are seen as deviants and people frown upon those acts. Individuals who practise it are seen as outcasts and the value attached to it is so low. Therefore those who practise prostitution are lowly regarded in the society and have low esteem attached to them. This leads to a conflict in an individual between the real self and the ideal self. As a result, the individual develops a state of incongruence.

This condition is a very dangerous state, since the gap is obviously very large, the individual end up developing a state of neurosis. The prostitute starts to summon the psychological body defences commonly referred to as defence mechanisms. These are the remedies by the individual to deny the fact that he/she has engaged in a wrongful act. The defence mechanisms are discussed below.


This is about ascribing motives to someone else or blaming others for ones own mistakes and weaknesses. For instance the prostitute may start claiming she was introduced into prostitution by others, that the society do not help them or has abandoned them or that the government has neglected them.


This is about giving logical excuses and reasons for the irrational act of prostitution, for example they may start saying that they are not married and therefore are free to engage in any act.


They may also resort to a substitute activity that is totally different from prostitution to gratify their emotive i.e. to salvage their income e.g. a prostitute turning to matatu touting or drug trafficking.


This is failure to accept the reality. As far as the society try to demonize prostitution and condemn it, to prostitutes, it is a source of income and a survival mechanism and they believe they are not doing anything bad.



This is an attempt to make up for inability to perform in one activity by making an effort in some other activities. Most of those who engage in prostitutions are perfect themselves in modelling etc.

When an individual continuously use these defence mechanisms, he/she can develop affective reaction psychosis; the prostitute shows extreme moods as the affective disorder, psychotic depression and  states of manic elation, alternation of moods in rapid  succession i.e. the prostitute may be laughing in one minute and weeping desperately in the next minute. In extreme cases, the prostitute may assume violent forms and in most cases women prostitutes start hating men.


  1. R.E Lana, R.L Rosnow (1972) Introduction to contemporary psychology, Holt,Reinhart and Winston, Inc
  2. J.M Fraser (1963) Psychology: General, Industrial and Social, Pitman Press 2nd Ed
  3. Lesko, Wayne (2003) Reading in psychology: General, classic and contemporary selection.
  4. Perez, Joseph F. (1967) General psychology; selected readings.

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