Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of poor Russian immigrant parents. One of seven children, he was openly rejected by his mother in favor of his younger brothers and sisters. Maslow’s father was rarely at home and was known for drinking, fighting, and womanizing. Maslow described feelings of anger and hostility toward his father, but his relationship with his mother was far worse (Schultz and Schultz, 2012, p.320). Maslow’s mother punished him frequently, he felt unwanted, unloved, and isolated. As a teenager, Maslow faced more problems. His parents taunted him about his appearance and frequently remarked on how unattractive and awkward he was. “I was all alone in the world. I felt peculiar. This was really in my blood, a very profound feeling that somehow I was wrong. Never any feelings that I was superior. Just one bid aching inferiority complex” (quoted in Milton, 2002, p.42; Schultz and Schultz, 2012, p. 320). Maslow hoped to become an athlete to achieve acceptance and recognition. Failed in sports, he turned to books. He was reading at the library instead of socializing with peers. Maslow spent years reading and studying by himself, which allowed him to be accepted to college. While in college, he still had hard time adjusting. He attended City College of New York, Cornell University, and finally the University of Wisconsin, where he earned his B.A. and stayed on for graduate work in psychology. Maslow received his training under Thorndike and Harlow and wrote a textbook on abnormal psychology. Maslow later told one biographer that relationship with his mother affected his work in psychology as his life-philosophy, his research, and his theorizing had its roots in hatred toward his mother and everything she believed in. Maslow is one of the founding fathers of humanistic psychology and transpersonal psychology. The concepts of both Skinner and Freud, and their followers have tended to ignore or to explain away the cultural, social, and individual achievements of humanity, including creativity, love, altruism, and mysticism. These were among Maslow’s greatest interests (Frager and Fadiman, 2005, p. 342). Maslow was exploring new issues and new fields. Most of his work is not a fully developed theoretical system, but collection of thoughts, opinions, and hypothesis. Maslow’s genius was in formulating significant questions that many social scientists today consider critical. During the first half of 20th Century, Gordon Allport, Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, and others argued that behaviorism was producing a very one-sided picture of human nature. Humans, they argued, do not consist of only overt responses, nor are they completely controlled by the external environment. People also grow, think, feel, dream, create, and do many other things that makes up the human experience. The behaviorists were ignoring most aspects of life that make humans unique and give them dignity. These humanists were not at all opposed to scientific investigation, but they argued that psychology should address itself to the full range of human experience, not just the aspects that are most readily measurable and under environmental control. Maslow’s first step in the direction of humanistic psychology was the formulation of a new theory of motivation (1943). According to this theory, there are six kinds of needs: physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, love needs, self-esteem needs, and, at the highest level, self-actualization needs. These needs are arranged in a hierarchical order such that the fulfillment of lower needs propels the organism on to the next highest level. For example, a man who has a strong physiological need, such as hunger, will be motivated by little else, but when his need is fulfilled, he will move on to the next level, that of safety needs, and when these are satisfied, he will move on to third level, and so on ( Crain, 2010, p. 376). At the...
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Wilson. S. & Spencer. R. (1990) Intense Personal Experiences. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 46, 181-184.
Maslow. A. (1970) Motivation and Personality (rev.ed.) Harper and Row.
Maslow. A. (1971) The Farther Reaches of Human Nature. Viking Press.
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Frager. R. & Fadiman. J (2005) Personality and Personal Growth, Sixth Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, 342 retrieved at www.itp.edu/about/abraham_maslow.php on 08/19/2011 at 9:20 PM
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