Example Formal Academic Summary - WR 122 Handout

Cora Agatucci

Writing 122, Prof. C. Agatucci

Formal Academic Summary

22 January 2001

Rogers, Carl R. "Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation." [On Becoming
          a Person
. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1961. 329-337.]  Current Issues and
          Enduring Questions
. Ed. Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. 3rd ed. Boston:
          Bedford-St. Martin's P, 1993. 794-801. Print.
In "Communication: Its Blocking and Its Facilitation," psychotherapist Carl R. Rogers proposes that his client-centered approach to dealing with failures of communication, can be effectively applied to improving human communication in general.  In Rogers’ view, the main barrier to effective interpersonal communication is an individual’s immediate tendency to evaluate, from her or his own point of view, another’s statement.  This obstacle can be removed only if the individual delays judgment, genuinely listens to and tries to understand the statement from the other’s point of view.  While this solution sounds simple, Rogers acknowledges that it is difficult to achieve empathetic understanding of another's frame of reference, especially when participants are emotionally invested in defending their own positions.  Courage is required to listen empathetically when to do so means opening oneself up to the risk of change.  In such cases, Rogers explains, a disinterested but sympathetic third party can help antagonists achieve mutual understanding by inducing them to approach the task as partners trying to solve a problem together, rather than as opponents attacking each other.  Rogers believes that his “test tube” solution could be successfully applied to global communication failures if Western leaders had enough faith in the social sciences to invest in peace-making projects like his.  Indeed, Rogers warns, the continued survival of humankind may depend upon such an investment.


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1997-2010, Cora Agatucci, Professor of English
Humanities Department, Central Oregon Community College
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