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What is congruence?

Congruence is the feeling of contentment when the person we are “matches up” with who we want to be. In other words, our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions align. For example, if you work at a job that you love, it may make you feel fulfilled. Or if you begin to prioritize yourself and your wellbeing, you may find that you are happier and have more energy. Congruence is something we constantly strive to accomplish as we like our thoughts and behaviors to be consistent with one another. According to Carl Rogers, self-actualization is the life-long process of fostering congruence in all aspects of our life. 

How does congruence/incongruence affect me?

When we reach congruence, we tend to feel happier and more fulfilled out of life. We tend to appreciate our relationships better, have healthier boundaries, and have more enjoyment in multiple aspects of our lives. However, the opposite is true when we have incongruence. Incongruence is when our ideal self and self-image don’t match up. In other words, our thoughts and behaviors do not align. For example, if you work at a job that you hate, you feel unaccomplished. Incongruence causes a feeling known as dissonance which can ultimately lead to anxiety, depression, and other problems. 

How can I be more congruent?

As humans, we like to be consistent. We thrive in situations when our thoughts and behaviors align. It can be challenging to get to a point of congruence. However, there are a few things you can do to get to this place. First, it’s important to recognize what your core values are and how your actions (no matter how small) align with these values. It may help to journal each day what you did that was either congruent or incongruent with these values. Second, once you identify areas of incongruence, develop goals and a plan to reach congruence. If you have a therapist, they can help you set goals to work towards being congruent. 

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.