Humanistic view puts the emphasis on the positive aspects of life, free choices and personal growth experiences. Abnormality results from refusal to accept personal responsibility for one’s own actions and thoughts. So human behavior is caused by the choices we make voluntarily. The Humanistic assume that human nature is inherently good and they blame abnormal / aggressive behavior caused by the society but not by the individual.

Is Maslow a humanistic Psychologist?

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) postulated a hierarchy of needs beginning with physiological needs at the bottom and self actualization at the top. An individual must meet the basic needs before trying to meet the higher needs.

Self Actualization Self Esteem

Love and Belongingness Safety Needs Psychological Needs

personality psychology  MASLOW’S THEORY:

Maslow’s Theory (Hierarchy of needs)

The triangle or pyramid has a broad base and narrow top, so majority of individuals are involved at fulfilling basic needs and only few reach the top i.e. self actualization means that we can reach our highest potential in all areas of functioning if we had freedom to grow. Majority of the people are involved in fulfilling the needs at the lower level and it is very few who reach the top. Examples are Quaid-e-Azam, Dr. Abdul Salam, and Javed Miandad.

Do you want to reach the top?

Certainly all of us involved in this process of self actualization, but it is very few who reach the top.

Basic Concepts of Humanistic Psychology

1-The Individual as an Integrated Whole 2-Irrelevance of Animal Research 3-Man’s Inner Nature 4-Human Creative Potential 5-Emphasis on Psychological He

4- Maslow’s Hierarchical Theory of Motivation

1-Physiological Needs

2-Safety needs

3-Belongingness and Love Needs

4-Self-Esteem Needs

5-Self-Actualization Needs Why Can’t All People Achieve Self-Actualization? Differences between basic needs and meta-needs.

7- Empirical Validation of Humanistic Theory Concepts

8-What Are Self-Actualizers Like?

(Sixteen characteristics of self actualizers)

9-Self-Actualizers Aren’t Angels

10-What is goal of psychotherapy?

11- Summary


Biographical Sketch

Abraham Harold Maslow was born April 1, 1908, in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were uneducated Jewish immigrants from Russia who dreamed of a better life for their son than theirs had been. Maslow, the eldest of seven children, was strongly encouraged by his parents to be academically successful.

Maslow’s decision to study psychology at Wisconsin was largely affected by the behaviorism of John Watson. Maslow’s enthusiasm for behaviorism literally vanished when the first of two daughters was born. Evidently, the complex behavior displayed by Maslow’s own children convinced him that Behaviorist Psychology was more relevant to understanding animals than humans.

As a member of the American Psychological Association he was president of the Division of Personality and Social Psychology, and was elected president of the entire association for 1967-1968. Maslow was also a founding editor of both the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, and he served as consulting editor of numerous other scholarly periodicals. Maslow was vitally interested in growth psychology.

The majority of Maslow’s books were written within the last ten years of his life and include Toward a Psychology of Being (1962); Religions, Values, and Peak Experiences (1964); Eupsychian Management: A Journal (l965b); The Psych’ology of Science: A Reconnaissance (1966); Motivation and Personality (1970, 2d edition); and The Farther Reaches of Human Nature (1971, a collection of articles previously published by Maslow in various psychological journals). A volume compiled with the assistance of his wife and entitled Abraham H. Maslow: A Memorial Volume was published posthumously in 1972.

Basic Tenets of Humanistic Psychology

The term “humanistic psychology” refers to third force in psychology. Although proponents of this movement represent a wide range of views, they do share certain fundamental conceptions of human nature.

Existential philosophy is concerned with man as an individual and the unique problems of human existence. Man is literally one who exists as being-in-the-world, consciously and painfully aware of his own existence and eventual nonexistence (death).

1-The Individual as an Integrated Whole

One of the most fundamental aspects of humanistic psychology- and Maslow’s version of it-is that each individual must be studied as an integrated, unique, organized whole. In fact, Maslow’s theory was primarily developed as a revolt against those theories (especially behaviorism) that deal in bits and pieces of behavior while ignoring the person as a unified whole.

2-Irrelevance of Animal Research

Advocates of humanistic psychology recognize a profound difference between human and animal behavior. For them, human beings are more than just animals; they are special kinds of animal. Highly significant from a humanistic perspective, then, is the fact that there are no rat, pigeon, monkey, or even dolphin personologists- only humans have the capacity to theorize about humans.

3-Man’s Inner Nature

Freud’s theory implicitly assumed that man basically has an evil character, human impulses, if not controlled, will lead to the destruction of others as well as the self. One might not be able to appreciate this view while being mugged in Central Park; however, from the humanistic perspective, the evil, destructive, and violent forces in people arise from a bad environment rather than from any inherent rottenness on their part.

4-Human Creative Potential

The primacy of human creativity is perhaps the most significant concept of humanistic psychology. Maslow (1950) merits the distinction of being the first to call attention to the fact that the most universal characteristic of the people he studied or observed was creativeness. One need not write books, compose music, or produce art objects to be creative. Comparatively few people do. Creativity is a universal human function and leads to all forms of self-expression. Thus, for example, there can be creative homemakers, disc jockeys, shoe salespersons, business executives, and even college professors!

5-Emphasis on Psychological Health

Maslow consistently argued that none of the available psychological approaches to the study of behavior does justice to the healthy human being’s functioning, mode of living, or life goals. In particular, he strongly criticized Freud’s preoccupation with the study of neurotic and psychotic individuals. For example, the nature of graduate students would hardly become evident by studying high school dropouts exclusively. In fact, such a study would be much more likely to discover what graduate students are not like than what they are like.

Maslow’s Hierarchical Theory of Motivation

Maslow believed that much of human behavior can be explained by the individual’s tendency to seek personal goal states that make life rewarding and meaningful. In fact, motivational processes are the heart of his personality theory. Maslow (1970) depicted the human being as a “wanting animal” who rarely reaches a state of complete satisfaction. If nirvana exists, it is temporary. In Maslow’s system, as one personal desire is satisfied, another surfaces to take its place. When a person satisfies this one, still another clamors for satisfaction. It is characteristic of human life that people, are almost always desiring something.

Maslow proposed that human desires (i.e., motives) are innate and that they are arranged in an ascending hierarchy of priority or potency.

In this need-hierarchy conception of human motivation. The needs are, in order of potency:

(1) basic physiological needs;

(2) safety needs;

(3) belongingness and love needs;

(4) self-esteem needs; and

(5) self-actualization needs, or the need for personal fulfillment. Underlying this scheme is the assumption that low-order needs must be at least somewhat satisfied before an individual can become aware of or motivated by higher-order needs.

For instance, he noted that some creative people have pursued the development and expression of their special talents despite serious hardships and social ridicule. There are also people whose values and ideals are so strong that they are willing to suffer hunger or thirst or even die rather than renounce them. For example, social reformers have continued their struggles despite harrassment, jail sentences, physical deprivation, and, often, certain death. In general, however, the lower the need in the hierarchy, the greater its strength or priority tends to be.

Let’s examine each of Maslow’s need categories.

1-Physiological Needs:

The most basic, powerful, and obvious of all human needs is the need for physical survival. Included in this group are the needs for food, drink, oxygen, activity and sleep, sex, protection from extreme temperatures, and sensory stimulation. These physiological drives are directly concerned with the biological maintenance of the organism and must be gratified at some minimal level before the individual is motivated by higher-order needs.

2-Safety needs:

Once the physiological needs have been satisfied, an individual becomes concerned with a new set, often called the safety or security needs. The primary motivating force here is to ensure a reasonable degree of certainty, order, structure, and predictability in one’s environment. Maslow suggested that the safety needs are most readily observed in infants and young children because of their relative helplessness and dependence on adults. Infants, for instance, respond fearfully if they are suddenly dropped or startled by loud noises or flashing lights. Experience and education eventually neutralize such apparent dangers, e.g., “I am not afraid of thunder and lightning because I know something about them.” The urgency of safety needs is also evident when a child experiences bodily illnesses of various kinds. A child with a broken leg will temporarily experience fears, have nightmares, and manifest a need for protection and reassurance not evident before the accident.

3-Belongingness and Love Needs:

The belongingness and love needs constitute the third hierarchical level. These needs emerge primarily when the physiological and safety needs have been met. An individual motivated on this level longs for affectionate relationships with others, for a place in his or her family and / or reference groups. Group membership becomes a dominant goal for the individual. Accordingly, a person will feel keenly the pangs of loneliness, friendlessness, and rejection, especially when induced by the absence of friends, relatives, a spouse, or children. Students who attend college far from home fall prey to the effects of belongingness needs, striving with great intensity to be recognized within a group regardless of its size.

4-Self-Esteem Needs:

When one’s needs for being loved and for loving others have been reasonably gratified, their motivating force diminishes, paving the way far self-esteem needs. Maslow divided these into two subsidiary sets: self-respect and esteem from others. The farmer includes such things as desire for competence, confidence, personal strength, adequacy, achievement, independence, and freedom. An individual needs to know that he or she is worthwhile- capable of mastering tasks and challenges in life. Esteem from others includes prestige, recognition, acceptance, attention, status, fame, reputation, and appreciation. In this case people need to be appreciated for what they can do, i.e., they must experience feelings of worth because their competence is recognized and valued by significant others.

5-Self-Actualization Needs:

Finally, if all the foregoing needs are sufficiently satisfied, the need for self-actualization comes to the fore. Maslow characterized self-actualization as the desire to become everything that one is capable of becoming. The person who has achieved this highest level presses toward the full use and exploitation of his or her talents, capacities, and potentialities. Self-actualization is a person’s desire for self-improvement, his or her drive to make actual what he or she is potentially. In short, to self-actualize is to become the kind of person one wants to become-to reach the peak of one’s potential: “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. He must be true to his own nature”.

In other words, self-actualization generates fulfillment, but it also generates fear of responsibilities and the unknown.

Why can’t all people achieve self-actualization?

According to Maslow; most, if not all, of mankind needs and seeks inner fulfillment. His own research led him to conclude that the impulse toward realizing one’s potentialities is both natural and necessary. Yet only a few-usually the gifted- ever achieve it (less than I percent of the population Maslow estimated). In part, he believed that this extremely unfortunate state of affairs exists because many people are simply blind to their potential; they neither know that it exists nor understand the rewards of self-enhancement. Rather, they tend to doubt and even fear their own abilities, thereby diminishing their chances of becoming self-actualized. In addition, the social environment often stifles self-fulfillment.

Maslow’s meta-motivational theory

He has given a meta-motivational theory which differentiates between basic needs and meta-needs. The basic needs are hunger, thirst, affection, and security, self esteem while the meta-needs include justice, goodness, beauty, and order.

The basic needs have a hierarchy but meta-needs do not have a hierarchy rather they are instinctual just like basic needs when they are not fulfilled individual becomes sick.

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