Humanistic Psychology

Topics: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology, Abraham Maslow Pages: 5 (1553 words) Published: April 17, 2013
Humanistic Psychology
Humanistic Psychology is so named due to its core belief in the basic goodness present in and respect for humanity. Its core is founded upon existential psychology, or the realization and understanding of one's existence and social responsibility. The two psychologists, Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow initiated the movement with this new perspective on understanding people's personality and improving their overall life satisfaction. When war broke out in the 1960s, the world felt compelled to better understand the nature of humanity. Humanistic theory provides an understandable mechanism for examining an individual's need for conflict in order to create peace. This simplistic theory has become a favorite and popular topic throughout self-help literature. Additionally, the struggle for mankind to gain greater understanding and meaning for life and existence is a timeless cornerstone conflict in entertainment and literature. The premise behind humanistic psychology is simple. So simple, in fact, that naysayers believe it to be excessively simple. Humanists adhere to these beliefs: 1. The present is the most signficant aspect of someone. As a results humanists emphasize the here and now instead of examining the past or attempting to predict the future. 2. To be mentally healthy, individuals must take personal responsibility for their actions, regardless if those actions are positive or negative. 3. Each person, simply by being, is inherently worthy. While any given action may be negative, these actions do not cancel out their value as a person. 4. The ultimate goal of living is to attain personal growth and understanding. Through constant self-improvement and self-understanding can an individual ever be truly happy. Abraham Maslow provided the best known and mostly widely understood precept in humanistic psychology. Abraham Maslow believed that Watson and the other behaviorists' ideas about control were lacking. He saw human life as more than simply external reinforcement, disputing the assumption that humanity was born without value or direction. When he was studying psychology, the prevalent ideas were psychoanalysis and behaviorism. These theories were covered by most courses and a great deal of energy was used for each psychologist to identify the theory aspiring psychologists would subscribe to. Maslow did not follow either of these paths. He condemned behaviorism, eventually taking the same perspective with Freud's works as well. Even though Maslow accepted the existence of an unconscious being within us, Maslow refuted Freud's idea that the bulk of our being is hidden far from our consciousness. Maslow purported that humanity is aware of motivation and drives on the whole. Without life's obstacles, all of humanity would become healthy psychologically, attaining a deep self-understanding and acceptance of society and the world around them. Maslow reinforced his energy on realizing the positive aspects of mankind, while Freud saw mostly negativity. One might summarize the distinction between humanism and psychoanalytic thought in this way - psychoanalysis is founded upon acceptance determinism, or acceptance of aspects of our lives outside of control, while humanistic thought bases itself on the concept of free will. Maslow's best known contribution to Humanistic psychology is his Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow's Needs Hierarchy is frequently used to sum up the humanistic psychology belief system. The fundamental premise of his hierarchy is that everyone is born with specific needs. If we do not meet those base needs, we are unable to survive and focus upward within the hierarchy. The first stratum consists of <b>physiological needs</b>, or survival needs. Unable to obtain oxygen, sleep, water, and food, all else is irrelevant. After we meet these needs, we can shift our focus to the next stratum, the need for security and safety. When pursuing safety needs, we attempt...
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