HUMANISTIC THEORY -
Basic concern is with the uniqueness of the individual. Much
like Adler, they believe that to truly understand behavior
you need to understand the individual's perception of the world,
experiences, his goals.... What is it that motivates the
individual... or holds the individual back? Maslow's theory
is a theory of MOTIVATION. Understanding the motivational needs
of an individual will help us understand the behavior and development
of that individual.
Basic premise: The human organism
is innately motivated to growth... to grow/develop into higher
levels of functioning... to move toward self actualization.
Maslow video clip
ABRAHAM MASLOW (1908-1970)
Born in Brooklyn, NY to Jewish immigrants, he felt isolated and developed
as a shy adolescent. His father wanted him to become a lawyer,
which Maslow resisted. Their relationship was further strained
when he fell in love at sixteen, still in high school. In an
attempt to avoid the strained relationship he enrolled at Cornell
Univ. and began his study of law. Two years later he transferred
to Wisconsin, and began studying psychology and married his teenage
sweetheart (20 yrs.).
He showed an early interest in Behaviorism and saw it as a panacea
for the worlds problems, but soon became disillusioned as he attempted
to use the techniques on his own children. He was fascinated with
the notion of why some individuals are able to achieve great things
while others remain unproductive. He began his search for what he
referred to as the GHB (Good Human Being), and kept a GHB notebook
of his thoughts and observations between 1945 and 1949.
Dec. 1945: The Nature of
Mankind (the organism) ??? In other words, what is the potential
of man as endowed by nature (biology).
- "The big point is
that we just can't find in ordinary mankind the answer to the
question. But what if we study extraordinary people? Certainly
a visitor from Mars descending upon a colony of birth-injured
cripples, dwarfs, hunchbacks, etc., could not deduce what they
should have been. But then let us study not cripples, but the
closest approach we can get to whole, healthy men. In them
we find qualitative differences, a different system of motivation,
emotion, value, thinking, and perceiving. In a certain sense,
only the saints are mankind. Others are sick, twisted cripples."
Jan. 1946: "The notion
I am working toward is of some ideal of human nature,
closely approximated in reality by a few 'self-actualized'
people. Everybody else is sick in greater or lesser degree
it is true, but these degrees are much less important than
we have thought. The self-actualized person is so different
from all others that we need a different theory of motivation,
perception, emotion, thinking, values, humor, personality,
We may use these people as synonymous with
human nature in general because there seems to be no intrinsic
reason why everyone shouldn't be this way. Apparently every
baby has all possibilities for self-actualization, but most
all of them get it knocked out of them.
I think of the self-actualized man not as
an ordinary man with something added, but rather as the
ordinary man with nothing taken away. The average man is
a full human being with dampened and inhibited powers and
Part of mankind's biological nature is to seek
Growth tension leads to imbalance... as the need is satisfied the
tension is reduced and a state of homeostatic balance is achieved.
The individual can then move on to the next stage. (See hierarchical
SELF-ACTUALIZATION.... Growth needs
LOVE & BELONGINGNESS
When these needs are not met...
the individual becomes neurotic, psychotic, maladjusted... leading
to more severe psychopathology. When met satisfactorily... the
individual is freed to move forward... toward self-actualization.
SELF-ACTUALIZATION ...to Maslow, it meant Psychological
Chief characteristics (1943):
"peace, contentment, calmness, the full utilization of capacities,
full creativity... success of interpersonal relationships".
(1945)... good judgment, and absence of psychopathology... and
"need for privacy"... "more efficient perception of
reality and more comfortable relations with it" ... and what
he referred to as
"peak-experiences" (1946)... and in 1947 he added "lack
of cant" (bias, hypocrisy),
"Also sense of humor, lack of fanaticism tolerance of others,
or whatever it is..."
HOMEOSTASIS: The maintenance of an optimum
balance in the body between tension and satisfaction.
CFS 1500 - NOTES
CARL ROGERS - (1902-1987)
The concept of SELF is based on how the person feels
about himself/herself in relation to the constantly changing
world and the multitude of countless occurrences in that world.
Real self... and Ideal self.
Humans are ruled by a CONSCIOUS perception of themselves
and the ever changing world, and they have the power to control
their own action
The individual's PERCEPTIONS ARE PRIVATE and subjective
and have meaning only to that individual. Personal perceptions
should not be denied by others.
The need for POSITIVE REGARD is present in all people.
Humans have the tendency to adapt and grow and to develop
all of their abilities
(Self-Actualization) and to become a FULLY FUNCTIONING PERSON.
In the therapeutic sense, there was concern in helping
adults change their patterns of behavior in relationships with
children and others... to promote the development of the individual...
to offer Unconditional Positive Regard...
freeing the individual to move toward self-actualization.
The discovery of the hidden,
repressed self was a focus of encounter groups and sensitivity
sessions... To "find
one's self"... to
"get your head on straight"... to get in touch with the
inner self, the inner you.
"... if I can form a helping relationship to myself... then
the likelihood is great that I can form a helping relationship toward
another....if I am to facilitate the personal growth of others in
relation to me, then I must grow, and while this is often painful
it is also enriching."
From Rogers, Carl. (1961). On Becoming a Person.