Essay Types - The Rogerian Persuasive Essay


In the type of persuasive essay called a Rogerian persuasive essay, the key is to approach your opponents' arguments with gentleness and respect. In Rogerian therapy, the psychologist Carl Rogers developed the concept of "unconditional acceptance." This means, whatever his patients told him, Rogers would simply accept it as true and acceptable. In a Rogerian persuasive essay, you must acknowledge and accept the validity of your opponents arguments before suggesting a different point of view. The place you are seeking is not a refutation of the other point of view, but common ground which shifts the point of view.

This will limit your types of introductions. You will want to introduce the topic by validating the point of view of your opponent. In fact, it is best to not use the concept of "opponent" but maybe "alternative point of view."

In an persuasive essay about gun control, traditionally the arguments might be for gun control or against gun control. On the "Getting Started" page I show how I would structure such an essay. In a Rogerian essay, you might be looking more carefully for a nuanced position which looks for ways to limit gun violence while still respecting the right to bear arms. In a Rogerian essay on abortion you might be looking for ways to maximize a woman's right to control reproduction while still respecting the sanctity of life of an unborn child.


In the body of the Rogerian persuasive essay you will examine the validity of the other point of view. For each concept you will look at why people believe that to be true and validate that belief. But then you will try to add some new information to the point of view to shift it toward the new ground. For example in an argument on gun control, you might accept and validate the concern about how much guns are misused for crime and violence but move the ground toward the concept that this misuse does not change the fundamental right for law-abiding individuals to properly own firearms. You would seek ways to protect society from misuse of weapons, which is the legitimate concern of those supporting gun control, while still respecting the right of those who choose to own guns.


Your conclusion in a Rogerian persuasive essay is not to show the other point of view as wrong, but to show that you have found a new and broader understanding of the area of conflict. The conclusion should suggest new ways of seeing the conflict and developing common understandings with mutual respect.

What are markers looking for?

In your Rogerian persuasive essay, the marker wants to see that you have fully appreciated the validity of the other point of view. You will need to have gone deep into the reasons that people would believe differently from you and accepted those points of view. You should have found ways to bridge the ground between you without ever being dismissive or condescending. You should have always followed Rogers' position of unconditional positive regard.

And, as always make sure your grammar is perfect.

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