HUMANISTIC THEORY

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.
See 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, psychopathology, etc.

    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 capacities."


Part of mankind's biological nature is to seek continual growth.
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 chart)

SELF-ACTUALIZATION.... Growth needs

ESTEEM NEEDS
LOVE & BELONGINGNESS
SAFETY, SECURITY
PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS

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 health.

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)

Basic Premise:
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.