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Perspectives of Humanistic Psychology

 

positiveIn response to psychoanalytical and behavioral theory, the “Third Force” humanistic theory emphasizes free will, freedom of choice, personal accountability.

The humanistic perspective emphasizes the responsibility people have for their own behavior, even when their behavior is seen as abnormal.

This theory grew out of the work of Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.  Humanistic theory concentrates on what is uniquely human, viewing people as basically rational, oriented toward a social world, and motivated to seek self-actualization (Rogers, 1995). Focusing on the relationship of the individual to society, humanistic theory considers the ways in which people view themselves in relation to others and how they see their place in the world.  These views people have the awareness of of life and of themselves that leads them to search for meaning and self-worth.  Though criticized for its reliance on unscientific, unverifiable information and its vague, almost philosophical formulations, this theory offers a distinctive view of abnormal behavior.

A major tenet of humanistic psychology is that humans possess an inner drive to grow, improve, and use their potential to the fullest Abraham Maslow calls the ultimate in completed growth self-actualization According to Maslow, the self-actualizing person is reaching the highest level of personal development and has fully realized her or his potential as a human being:

  • Focus on the relationship of the individual to society, considering the ways in which people view themselves in relation to others and see their place in the world
  • Views people as having an awareness of life and of themselves that leads them to search for meaning and self-worth

Though criticized for its reliance on unscientific, unverifiable information and its vague, almost philosophical formulations, it offers a distinctive view of abnormal behavior.

Maslow

  • Maslow proposed that needs are arranged in a hierarchy.
  • After meeting our more basic needs, we experience need progression and focus on needs at the next level.
  • If a need at a lower level is no longer satisfied, we experience  need regression and focus once again on meeting that lower-level need.

The concept of the “self” is central to the personality theory of Carl Rogers and other humanists

  • Our self-concept is our subjective perception of who we are and what we are like
  • The concept of self is learned from our interactions with others
  • Rogers distinguishes between two self-concepts. There is the self–the person I think I am, and the ideal self–the person I wish I was

A major tenet of humanistic psychology is that humans possess an inner drive to grow, improve, and use their potential to the fullest

  • Abraham Maslow calls the ultimate in completed growth self-actualization
  • According to Maslow, the self-actualizing person is reaching the highest level of personal development and has fully realized her or his potential as a human being
  • Unconditional Positive Regard
  • Carl Rogers believed that we are born with an innate need for positive regard—for acceptance, sympathy, and love from others
  • Ideally, positive regard received from the parents is unconditional—that is, independent of how the child behaves
  • Unconditional positive regard communicates that the person is inherently worthy of love, regardless of accomplishments or behavior

Based on the humanistic theories of Maslow, Rogers, and May, can individuals become self-actualized?

Abraham Maslow studied the healthy personality and described the characteristics of the self-actualizing personality. Maslow proposed that needs are arranged in a hierarchy, after meeting our more basic needs, we experience need progression and focus on needs at the next level, and if a need at a lower level is no longer satisfied, we experience need regression and focus once again on meeting that lower-level need.

People search for this level of contentment throughout the lifespan and that the major factor of humanistic psychology is that humans possess an inner drive to grow, improve, and use their potential to the fullest, this is what Maslow called the ultimate in completed growth, self-actualization. According to Maslow, the self-actualizing person is the person that reaches the highest level of personal development and has fully realized his or her potential as a human being.

Can people become self-actualized, I don’t know, contingent upon the person, the motivation, and the desires, some may be satisfied with what they have achieved and life and can start to “give back” and others may never be satisfied and will always look to achieve more.

 


References:
Bernstein, D.A. & Nash, P.W. (2008). Essentials of psychology (4th ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012), Personality: classic theories and modern research (5th ed). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.
McGraw-Hill.McGraw Hill Higher Education (2013), The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.
Ryckman, R. M. (2013). Theories of personality (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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