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The Third Force

Humanistic Theory
The Third Force

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

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.

Social/Cognitive Perspective of Personality

The social-cognitive perspective as been described as personality development that is comprised of learned behaviors that are displayed in particular social situations. This perspective expands the original learning theory of personality which theorizes that personality is learned in social situations through interaction and observation. Feldman continued to explain that further research by Albert Bandura indicated that people learn what they consider to be appropriate responses by observation. By watching others in addition to thinking and reasoning personality develops and changes over time. Albert Bandura argued that personality development requires constant interaction of thought, environment, and behavior, and that one component alone could not explain personality. Feldman explained the reciprocal determinism theory that Bandura coined concluding that personality is shaped by all of the stated elements and not one in itself.

Veronica Emilia Nuzzolo, MED

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.
Ryckman, R. M. (2013). Theories of personality (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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