The focus of the humanistic perspective is on the self, which translates into "YOU", and "your" perception of "your" experiences. This veiw argues that you are free to choose your own behavior, rather than reacting to environmental stimuli and reinforcers. Issues dealing with self-esteem, self-fulfillment, and needs are paramount. The major focus is to facilitate personal development. Two major theorists associated with this view are Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow.
Carl Rogers feels that each person operates from a unique frame of reference in terms of buliding Self Regard or their self concept. Self Concept is one's own belief about themselves. These beliefs stem, in part, from the notion of Unconditional Postive Regard and Conditional Positive Regard. Unconditional positive regard occurs when individuals, especially parents, demonstrate unconditional love. Conditioned positive regard is when that love seems to only come when certain condtions are met. Rogers theory states that psychologically healthy people enjoy life to the fullest, hence, they are seen as fully functioning people.
Abraham Maslow feels that indivduals have certain needs that must be met in an hierarchical fashion, from the lowest to highest. These include basic needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, achievement needs, and ultimately, Self-Actualization.
According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, the needs must be achieved in order. For instance, one would be unable to fulfill their safety needs if their physiological needs have not been met.
Maslow's Hierarchy Triangle is as follows:
Return to Theories and Research