Meeting Needs for Self-Actualization

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Meeting Needs for Self-Actualization
Everyone has certain needs that must be met in order to live a happy and fulfilling life. These needs are divided into three specific types which are physical, psychological, and social needs. Abraham Maslow, an expert in human behavior, along with Carl Rogers used these three general types to develop a larger hierarchy of human needs for self-actualization. Even though there is discontentment or unending needs of a person, one's needs must be satisfied in order for him or her to be happy. People whose needs were met are particularly in good mental health but if a need fails to be met then pathological effects may ensue. Self-actualization is a state that a person reaches in which he or she is experiencing life in a way that allows for optimal growth towards a better state of being. The general concept used in the present study is most akin to the two most popular concepts of self actualization presented by the humanistic psychologists Abraham Maslow (1968) and Carl Rogers (1961, 1980). Maslow viewed the self actualized person in two ways. This person will have realized latent potentials, talents and abilities as well as achieved a state of self-fulfillment. "Such people seem to be fulfilling themselves and to be doing the best that they are capable of doing. They are people who have developed or are developing to the full stature of which they are capable" (Maslow, 1970, p. 150). Rogers had a similar view to Maslow's of positive psychological functioning. The Rogerian view is based on his interactions with people in psychotherapy and their positive functioning. Carl Rogers shied away from the term "self actualization", which implies that a person has reached a fulfilled end state, and substituted for it the concept of the fully functioning person. Roger's "fully functioning person" is not one who has reached a perfect end-state, rather one who had the freedom to fully experience and access those conditions that nurture growth (Reeve, 2001). For Carl Rogers this state was the process of fully being and continuous becoming for an organism when it is inwardly free to move in any direction. For Rogers, then, the self actualized person is one who is in his or her everyday life fully open to experience in a way that allows them learn and grow. "What kind of person can become self actualized?" Most of the research done in the field of personal growth and subjective well-being focuses on the personality traits or demographic variables that define a person. These studies have found that a variety of these types of factors influence a person's ability to self actualize as defined by this study. Personal characteristics typically examined include ethnicity, age, gender, nationality, religiosity, religious group identity, socio-economic-status, and general culture. (Myers & Diener, 1995) However, fewer studies have comprehensively looked at activities and experiences leading to self actualization or even subjective well being. Studies are concerned with those experiences that a person can actively select that affect his or her ability to self-actualize. This study is less concerned with what background a person has or what type of personality he or she has, and more concerned with what experiences the person has and actively seeks (Reeve, 2001). Experiences that are typically central to elderly residents which are brought to Healthcare or Skilled Nursing Facilities noted along with experiences most commonly ill patients. Five areas of experience, whose correlations to self actualization or subjective-well being that had been questioned, were selected for inclusion. These were: spiritual experiences, some drug experiences, experiences in close relationships, experiences in nature, and the academic or career experience. Most research done in the area of spirituality and subjective well-being has found a positive correlation between the two. (Myers & Diener, 1995) The Gallup foundation (1984)...
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